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Can a Plant Survive Without Leaves? (Read This First!)

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Just like the human body needs oxygen to survive such that the plant needs its leaves to survive. However, there have been some special cases where plants have survived without leaves and adapted to the condition without the help of the leaves.

But a question still remains whether a plant can really survive without leaves. We will find out the answer to this question in this article.

Can a plant survive without leaves?

Plants can survive without leaves only for a few days because they will need leaves for producing food and for storing food. However, some plants can survive without leaves in harsh conditions but they do produce and store food with the help of their stem.

Leaves are an integral part of the plants as they have an important role to play which is food production and food storage.

Plants produce and store food through a special process which is “photosynthesis”. With the help of sunlight and the process of photosynthesis, they produce food by interacting with the external environment.

Seedling without leaves:

Well, the seedling can survive without leaves but not for so long.

Because in order to produce the food they will convert the stem into leaves and use the energy that the cotyledon produces. But in this way, they won’t survive for many days.

Sometimes the plants grow without leaves but they will convert stem into leaves in order to produce food. For example cactus, in the first stage of their life, will grow without leaves, and eventually, they will convert the stems into leaves.

But not all plants have this kind of capability and not all plants can produce food through their stem. This is where the leaves enter into the game because the leaves will produce nutrients for the plant which they need for their proper growth.

Sometimes the plants start to shed leaves and it is just a part of their growing process. They will grow back fresh green leaves again.

Therefore, the leaves play a vital role in the growing process of plants and thus they cannot survive without leaves.

How long can a plant survive without leaves?

Well, the plants will survive without leaves for 4 to 5 days or more but they won’t survive long enough without leaves. Leaves play a vital role in food production for plants.

They produce food as well as store food for the plants so they can use it to sustain energy for later. Therefore, with no leaves, the plant won’t be able to produce nutrients for the plants and therefore, the plant will not survive eventually.

The leaves produce food for the plants through the process of photosynthesis. Once they receive the sunlight they start to make sugar or starch from the carbon-di-oxide. They also use chlorophyll in the process of photosynthesis.

Chlorophyll is an important chemical in the process of photosynthesis. Without it, the photosynthesis mechanism will stop, and thus the food production for the plant will be stopped.

How do plants survive without leaves?

You might have noticed that the cactus have large stems full of thorns. They have converted those large stems into leaves in order to produce food for them.

These converted leaves perform the food-producing process which is photosynthesis with the help of sunlight. Thus in this way, the plants which don’t have leaves continue to complete their life cycle.

In the winter:

Well in the wintertime the plant doesn’t require food. They enter a phase called hibernation and in this period the plants stop growing and consume less amount of energy.

Thus the plant sheds all its leaves and waits for the fresh new leaves to regenerate. As the fresh leaves evolve the plant again starts to produce food and nutrients for the plants.

Can these plants survive without leaves:

There are multiple types of plants around the world. Let’s talk about a couple to know about them.

Tomato Plant:

Yes, a tomato can survive without leaves but only for a short period of time. But this depends on a condition which is if the plant has enough energy stored in it in order to regenerate new leaves.

Pepper Plant:

Well, in the case of a pepper plant the surviving rate depends on the characteristics of the plant.

If the plant has the capability to store energy to regrow new leaves and has the ability to use that energy in order to survive in this phase then it can easily survive.

Pumpkin Plant:

The pumpkin will not survive without leaves even for the short period of time that leaves need to regrow. The leaves play an integral part in the life of a pumpkin plant.

Young Kale Plant:

Well there is confusion in the case of a young kale plant whether they will survive without leaves or not. But most of the time they don’t.


When it comes to the topic of surviving without leaves the Orchid plants are famous for accomplishing the task. They can easily survive without leaves for a handsome number of days.

Rose Plant:

No, the rose plant will not be able to survive for a single day without leaves. Also, they lose the capability of growing new leaves which is why most Rose plants eventually do not survive if they start to lose leaves.

Basil Plant:

Just like the Kale plant, the Basil plant has no guarantee that it will survive without leaves. But you can wait for a few days to see if the leaves grow back or not.

Balsam Plant:

Balsam plants can survive without leaves for a few days but not for long enough. The leaves will definitely regrow again when it comes to the case of Balsam plants.

Cucumber Plant:

The Cucumber plant will not survive without leaves as their seasonal plants therefore they live only for 65 days. So in this period of 65 days if they somehow lose leaves then their surviving rate will be zero.


Succulent plants have very large stems therefore, they can survive without leaves. They will use these stems in order to generate food.

Desert Rose:

Yes, the Desert Rose can survive for a number of days. They have a tendency to shed leaves if they are shifted to a new place.  Surviving without leaves is completely normal for them.


Well the Bonsai will not be able to survive without leaves. They are small indoor plants and they will need leaves in order to produce food for themselves.


In the case of Monstera the plants can survive without leaves. However, their growth and other mechanisms will be slowed down as they start to use stored energy.


Begonia won’t survive for long without leaves. They will just use their stored energy in between the time when the leaves will regrow.

Money plant:

No, the money plant cannot survive without leaves and in fact, they cannot lose the leaves even for a short period of time.

Can a plant regrow leaves?

Yes, every plant has the capability to regenerate leaves. They can regrow the fresh green leaves with the help of their stored energy. But it all depends on the health condition of the leaves. If the leaves are stable and healthy then they will regrow the leaves quickly.

Otherwise, the regenerating process will be slow, and eventually, the plant won’t survive.

Can you revive a plant with no leaves? How to?

Definitely yes, you can revive a plant with no leaves. But the first thing you have to notice is whether the plant’s roots have the color white or not. If yes, you are good to go. We have some tips for you if you want to revive a plant with no leaves:

Overwatering or underwatering:

Make sure to check whether your plant is losing leaves from underwatering or overwatering. If yes, do not keep them under sunlight for too long and keep them in a dry place.

Lack of light:

It is possible that your plant might lose leaves due to a lack of proper sunlight. Therefore, keep your plants in a place where the sunlight falls directly to your plants.

Pest control:

Invasion of pests can be another reason that your plants are losing leaves. The bugs love to eat the leaves of the plants and therefore, you will need to be careful about the bugs and find a proper solution in order to control the pests.

Lack of proper nutrition:

It is possible that your plant might lose leaves due to lack of proper nutrition. Therefore you have to make sure that you add fertilizer and water to the soil routinely.

Final thoughts

The plants cannot survive without leaves for a long period of time. They can survive for a short period of time and in this period they will be utilizing the stored energy to survive. If this short period if the leaves don’t grow back then the plant won’t survive.

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