Telltale signs of overwatered plants

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Indoor Plants have many benefits, to name one, they purifying the air and breath new life into our homes, plants also tap into our innate desire to nurture. As living, breathing organisms, indoor plants of all sizes require our attention, care, and water to survive. TLC from their Plant parents as we call it.

But as any snake plant or succulent parent can attest, not all plants require constant attention. In fact, many prefer to be ignored altogether. Believe it or not, plants can die from too much love.

“Plants can and will die from overwatering,” says Bloomscape’s plant mom Joyce Mast. “If the roots are in waterlogged soil, they won’t be able to breathe and will drown.” 

Did you find you have much more time at home and looking for something to do, and soon enough you spend your time on your precious plants. This issue is especially prevalent during summertime and quarantine, as plants are in their growing season and their owners (you) are spending more time at home looking for something to do. To save your greenery from death by H20, put down the watering can and read up on the signs of overwatered plants below.

How to Prevent Overwatering 

Luckily, you can educate yourself on preventing overwatering from happening in the first place. First and foremost, read each plants’ care instructions and make sure you adjust your watering routine accordingly — For example, a succulent will not need the same amount of water or be watered as frequently as a Rabbit foot fern. Each Imbali plant comes with a care card, which you should hold onto and reference as needed. 

Secondly, you should always purchase a pot with drainage holes or place the plastic pot which the plant comes with in another pot. One of the main reasons a plant becomes overwatered is because the pot does not have the proper drainage holes. These allow excess water to seep out of the bottom of the pot. People tend to think their plants need to be watered every day, especially in the summer months, and a pot with no drainage holes exacerbates this problem.

Overwatered Plants: How to Look For the Signs

Keep an eye out for these five signs of overwatered plants to keep your greenery in good health:  

overwatered plants

1.  If your plant is dropping old and new leaves alike, you’ve likely overwatered. Remember that the shedding leaves can be green, brown, or yellow. 

overwatered plants

2. If a plant is overwatered, it will likely develop yellow or brown, limp leaves as opposed to dry, crispy leaves (which are actually a sign of too little water). Wilting leaves usually mean that root rot has set in and the roots can no longer absorb water. 

overwatered plants

3. If the base of the plant stem begins to feel mushy or unstable, you’ve overwatered. The soil can even begin to give off a rotten odor. 

overwatered plants

4. If the leaves develop brown spots encircled by a yellow halo, that’s a bacteria infection due to overwatering. 

overwatered plants

5. Similar to sign number three, fungus or mold can grow directly on top of the soil if you’ve overwatered time and time again. 

How to Nurture Overwatered Plants Back to Health

Nurse your identified your overwatered plants back to health. In mild cases, you can simply stop watering for the next few weeks and wait for it to recover. Do not water until the soil is completely dry at the root level, which is at the bottom of the pot. If the drainage hole is large enough, you can lift up the plant and feel the soil from the bottom to get an accurate moisture reading. If it’s still wet, do not water — even if the top soil is dry.

Does your plant have all five signs of overwatering, then you will need to be more aggressive. We recommends repotting the plant and trimming away all the affected roots to keep it alive. Healthy root systems are white, while waterlogged roots are black or brown. Carefully remove the plant from its pot and trim away any black or mushy roots with sharp gardening trimmers. Be sure to use an alcohol wipe in between each cut to avoid the spread of root disease. If you choose to re-pot in the same vessel, be sure to wash it thoroughly with disinfectant soap and refill it with fresh, clean potting soil. Once this is done, water until you see it flow through the drainage holes.

How to Water Your Plants in the Future

Once you’ve rescued your plants from water logging, it’s time to make amends. In the future, let the soil tell you when it needs water. Always push your finger about 2cm deep below the surface of the soil, and if it feels moist, wait a few more days and check again. If the soil is dry, water until it flows freely from the bottom of the pot and remove any standing water.

Check out our Indoor Plant Expert, Cecilia demonstrating how to properly water your plants in the video below!