Overwatering of plants is a typical cause of their death. Roots sucking up oxygen are happy roots.
Overwatering can lead to rot and death in your plant’s roots because the roots become so soft and damp from the excess water.
Overwatering typically occurs in houseplants that have been resting in their containers without drainage for a lengthy period of time.
Overwatering is sometimes misunderstood, with people supposing the plants merely suffer from too much water.
But there’s more to the problem than simply an abundance of water. Regular maintenance includes things like rearranging the containers and replacing the dirt.
The good news is that you can easily fix waterlogged plants by adjusting how you water them or transfer plants to paper pots.
How to Save an Overwatered Plant
If you know the warning signs early on, you can save the plant by simply reducing its water intake. If you notice that you’ve overwatered a plant, take the appropriate action immediately.
- Put the plant in a dry area, and stop watering it when the soil is drying out between your fingers. You can help your plant survive by cutting back on its fruits, flowers, and top growth.
- Relocate the plant to a position that receives at least some shade. This isn’t meant to be funny; your plant is extremely hydrated, and any further water loss due to evaporation will put it under much more stress.
- To ensure the plant’s life, cut off all top growth, including the fruits and blooms. Your plant’s inability to produce new fruits, blooms, and leaves directly results from the rot that has spread throughout its root system.
- By tapping the container’s sides, the roots should be loosen. Holding the plant by the base of the stem, carefully raise it.
- To dry and aerate the roots, leave the plant in the sun for about 5 to 6 hours. Placing it on a cooling rack will help speed up the drying process.
- Gently remove any moldy dirt that has clung to the plants’ roots. Simply exposing the roots to running water will do the trick. Be careful not to harm the plants’ healthy roots while you clean them.
- Use a clean, sharp pruning tool to remove the rotting sections of the root. The rotting sections will get slimy and black and have a foul odor. A healthy root, on the other hand, will be white and firm.
- Repeat the sterilization process once you’re done trimming the roots.
How does an overwatered plant look?
- Signs of overwatering
It is common for the symptoms of overwatering to be quite similar to those of underwatering. However, examining the soil and drainage may quickly determine whether or not you overwatered.
If the affected plant’s leaves are mushier, more watery, and softer than normal, this is a sign that the plant is receiving an excessive amount of water.
Aphids, mites, and gnats, among other pests, prefer damp soil to dry soil. Springtails enjoy wallowing in mud puddles. Overwatering is usually to blame when a plant begins to attract unwanted bugs.
- Leaves falling or wilting:
The leaves of your plant might get dry and brittle if they don’t get enough water, but they can also grow soft and wilt if they get too much.
If new leaves are dropping off in addition to the old ones, it’s likely because the plant is getting too much water.
- Warts, fungus, and mold:
Powdery mildew, fungi, and mold are signs of overwatering the plant. Humidity encourages the growth of fungi and mold, which is a common indicator of root rot.
If you see mold or fungus growing near the plant’s stem and roots, it’s time to repot it in clean soil.
- Slowed growth:
Many factors, like a lack of sunlight, insufficient fertilizer, or excess watering, can lead to stunted or nonexistent plant growth. Slower than normal growth, in addition to other symptoms, will help you solve the mystery.
- Soil that is always wet:
Probably the most significant indicator. If you detect this one early on, you can stop the problem from getting worse or get it fixed.
Soil that remains damp even after watering indicates that the soil lacks the air spaces necessary for the plant to absorb water. In a nutshell, it means the plant is getting too much water.
- Leaves turning brown or yellow:
Brown dots on your plant’s leaves, encircled by a yellow ring, may indicate a bacterial infection. Overwatering is one cause of yellowing leaves, but underwatering is another, so it’s important to test the soil to be sure.
How do you fix overwatered plants?
- Getting a drying area ready
Cover a shallow tray or sheet pan with several sheets of newspaper. Use whatever absorbent material you have on hand if you do not have any newspapers. You can use a paper towel or a dish towel made of fabric.
- Expose roots
Place the plant on its side and carefully remove it from the pot, not damaging the roots or dirt. Removing the plant, even if it is soggy, should not be difficult. Using your fingers, scrape away as much soil as possible from around the plant’s roots.
Only the soil that comes off easily when brushed with your fingers needs cleaning. Take care not to cause any additional harm to the roots.
- Overnight drying
Spread the newspaper out and set the plant on it to dry overnight. Verify that all of the roots are in the newspaper. It is okay if some leaves fall onto the pan or tray. The roots must be in contact with the porous medium.
A fan can be directed at the plant to speed up the drying process; however, this is optional. If the humidity in the room is not too high, leaving it out overnight should be enough to dry it.
- Trim damaged roots
The following day, get a pair of sterile, sharp scissors and cut out any soft or black roots. Roots like these, which are white and firm, indicate a healthy houseplant.
All mushy or sticky roots indicate that the plant may be beyond saving. But if it has any living roots, you have a fighting chance.
- Re-pot your plant
Put the plant back in a new pot or grow bag with fresh dirt. Before putting soil in the container, line the bottom with broken pieces of clay flowerpots, pebbles or small stones.
Future buildups of stagnant water can be avoided in this way including sieving the soil to ensure aeration. Indoor plants require potting soil that drains efficiently.
How long does it take for an overwatered plant to heal?
If you’ve overwatered your plant but followed the right steps, it should heal in one to two weeks. It could take more time if there was a lot of damage. However, if sufficient healthy roots exist, growth should accelerate after only 14 days.
After repotting, give the soil a little soaking, but let it dry out completely before giving it more water. Refrain from overwatering the plant like you did before; it’s too late for that.
You can help the process along by doing the following:
- Make sure your container has enough holes for water to escape.
- To prevent the fungus from spreading, use a good disinfectant.
- Use scissors to remove infected or diseased roots
- If your plant is clearly wilting from excess water, it’s time to repot it.
Save an overwatered garden
There are a few options for saving your plant if you accidentally overwater it. Not every plant will perish if you overwater it.
If you don’t want your plant to die, let the soil dry up, repot it in leca or soil, or even start a new plant from scratch. It’s much easier to keep from overwatering your plant in the first place than it is to save it if you do.
Overwatering a plant is a serious problem that has to be addressed immediately. Factors such as plant light, location, type, drainage, etc. affect how quickly plants recover.
Overwatered plants often need one to two weeks to recover. It varies with many conditions, so if your plant is recovering more slowly than usual, you shouldn’t panic.