How To Fix Overwatered Plants

How Do You Fix Overwatered Plants?

Photo by Huy Phan:

It is possible to overwater your plants while taking care of them. This often happens to potted plants. Overwatering can kill a plant by drowning it. Fortunately, you may be able to save your plant. But first, it is essential to know the signs of overwatering; that way, you can tell if this is your plant's actual problem.

Signs of Overwatered Plants

Overwatered plants can sometimes exhibit the same symptoms as underwatered plants; therefore, distinguishing their symptoms is critical. Here are signs of an overwatered plant:

  • Visible standing water or the container feels heavier than usual.

  • The plants have droopy, yellowing or damaged leaves.

  • When plants are overwatered, nutrition flow shuts down, resulting in wilting.

  • Soggy or wet soil.

  • The roots are brown and soft instead of white and firm.

  • Foliage becomes dry and crispy.

  • The dropping of both old and new leaves.

  • Brown spots on leaves and leave tips.

  • The presence of leaf oedema; the appearance of blisters caused by excess water in plant cells.

  • The presence of moisture-loving pests like soil gnats or powdery mildew.

  • Mold or fungus growing on leaves, soil and stem.

If the above symptoms are experienced, you most likely have a waterlogged plant in your hands.

Causes Of Overwatering

Overwatering can happen due to several subtle reasons. Therefore, it is crucial to understand why this occurs to prevent it in the future. Below are some of the most common causes of an overwatered plant.

1. Watering Too Often

The first and most apparent cause of overwatering is watering too much. Overwatering is worse than underwatering. You should always check the soil before re-watering.

2. Poorly Draining Soil

Poor drainage causes water to pool around the roots of indoor plants. When the soil cannot drain the excess water received, it stays excessively wet, which results in overwatering, which is why drainage holes are very important.

3. Not Considering Plant Type

Plants have different water needs. When you water every plant the same way, you risk overwatering some. Therefore, it is best to pay attention to the individual needs of the plant.

4. Container Size

Larger plant pots take less time to dry out and take in more water. Therefore, it is essential to only use the correct quantity of water for your plant, even if the container changes.

5. Pot Material

Plastic or glass containers usually seal moisture inside them and slow down evaporation. A terracotta pot is quite ideal as this material allows moisture to escape and the soil to breathe. Your plant pot should have at least one drainage hole.

6. Humidity

Humidity slows down soil evaporation due to the air's moisture, which doesn't do well for indoor gardening. High humidity and consistent watering can be dangerous to your plant, resulting in overwatering.

How to Fix Overwatered Plants

You should act immediately if you notice that your house plant has too much water. Here are five steps to take.

Step One: Prepare a Drying Area

With an absorbent material or newspaper, prepare a drying area. This can be done by placing several layers of the newspaper down on a shallow tray or sheet pan. Cloth dish towels or paper towels can serve this purpose as well.

Step Two: Expose The Roots

First, lay the plant on its side, then gently pull it out of the pot with the soil and roots. The plant should come out easily if it is waterlogged. Once out of the pot, with your fingers, remove as much excess soil from around the roots as possible.

Be gentle while doing this. Try not to damage the root by being forceful. You don't have to remove all the soil, just as much as you can with your fingers.

Step There: Allow to Dry Overnight

In the drying area, place the entire plant and allow it to dry overnight. The roots must be placed on absorbent material. As long as the room isn't too humid, the plant should dry well without assistance.

Step Four: Remove Any Damaged Roots

The next day, with a clean, sharp pair of scissors, trim away any dark-coloured roots. Healthy roots are firm and white. Therefore, any slimy or mushy plant root is already bad and should be removed.

Step Five: Re-pot the Plant

Once all this is done, in a clean pot, add some layers of small stones, pebbles, or rocks to the bottom of the pot. Next, add fresh potting soil and re-pot your plant. This prevents water from accumulating in the future.

Overwatered Plant Recovery Time

Overwatered plants recover in 7 to 14 days with the steps listed above. If the damage is extensive, it may take longer to recover. However, if the root isn't far gone, it should heal in about two weeks.

After re-potting, water the plant lightly and allow the soil to dry before watering again.

How to Avoid Overwatering Plants

Now that you know how to fix an overwatered plant, you must take note of how to water your plant in order to prevent overwatering. Here are some tips.

  • It is always better to water your plant a little than to overwater it. Most house plants can cope better with underwatering than overwatering. So, if you are unsure of the quantity your plant needs, it is best to water it a little.

  • Plants need less water during autumn because plant growth is slow during this period. Also, during fall, the indoor humidity level is usually moderate, therefore, less water is needed by most houseplants.

  • During winter, indoor humidity levels drop drastically. Therefore, watering should be increased during this period.

  • You should only add water when the soil is dry. Touching the soil lets you know when it is dry or wet. Insert your finger into the soil, and if it feels dry up to your first knuckle, you should have it watered.

Always check and follow the specific guidelines for your plant as this can help you to take proper care of it.

Final Thoughts

Growing plants inside the house requires very little care, especially when using either closed or open terrariums. To keep your plants healthy, you should learn to water lightly.

Most plants don't share the same water needs. Just as some house plants require direct sunlight, while others require low light and sometimes indirect light. This tells you that not all plants are the same, so ensure that your plants are watered with the right quantity of water.