A plant’s roots do not just absorb water; they also absorb oxygen and nutrients. When you overwater a plant, you are actually drowning the roots by soaking them in so much water that they cannot absorb nutrients or oxygen. During this time your plant will suffocate due to lack of these nutrients. Too much moisture also promotes a fungus called root rot. Root rot can kill a plant in as little as 10 days.
You may notice yellow, drooping, or prematurely falling leaves as signs that your plants are being overwatered. If the issue persists and root rot develops, you will also see dark spots on the stem; these spots can be small or big. Aside from mold and algae, overwatered plants may also develop algae on their surface. Not all plants can be saved, but the earlier you discover the problem, the better chance you have of saving the plant.
You should not water a plant just because its top layer is dry. Instead, poke a finger into the soil and see if the deeper layer is moist. If it is, do not water the plant for one to two days.
How to rescue a plant from overwatering
In most cases, overwatering causes house plants to die. A lot of people think of watering plants as giving them love because it helps them grow. It is important to recognize that not all plants need to be watered frequently.
When you forget to water cacti, succulents, sansevierias, and other plants for longer periods of time, they actually thrive. In fact, when you overwater them they will die. Is your plant really doomed when you overwater it? If a plant has been overwatered too often, can it be saved from death? Yes, fortunately this is often possible and there are various solutions that you can use based on your plant’s condition.
Here are some solutions you can consider when it comes to rescuing a plant from death when it has been overwatered too often. These include:
- Wet soil should be allowed to dry completely.
- You may need to repot your plant.
- Your plant needs to be potted in Leca
- Your plant needs to be propagated
Let’s get into the content quickly since you may be here because your plant is dying as a result of overwatering.
Let the soil dry out completely
If you have overwatered your plant once or twice and you notice that it is showing some symptoms, there are a number of things you can do to help it. The simplest solution, in this case, is to stop watering the plant and let the soil dry out completely.
If your plant has not yet died, but it has begun to show signs of damage, changing your watering schedule may be enough to bring it back to health. By letting the soil dry out, you are giving the plant time and space to recover. The soil becomes dehydrated when your plants are overwatered which prevents oxygen from reaching the roots. If you let the soil dry out, oxygen will be able to once again reach the roots, which will allow your plant to recover and you can water it again.
Repot your plant in new soil
If you let the soil dry out too long, your plant may show severe water retention symptoms. If you wait until the soil dries out, it could take days and your plant may succumb to the conditions. In this case, you can repot your plant in dry soil.
Whenever you repot your plant in dry soil, you should remove the wet soil surrounding the roots and investigate the roots for any signs of root decay. When pruning back young plants, be sure to remove any dead roots so that you only have healthy roots left. These healthy roots will provide nutrients to your plant while the dead ones can cause root rot and attract insects.
Repotting your plant into a new pot should be done in a couple of days’ time. After that, let the soil dry for a day or two, then water it some more. You should use a pot with a drainage hole to get rid of excess water. As soon as you’re done with this, keep an eye on the plant to make sure it’s doing well. If it’s not improving after a week, you may need to check the roots for root rot and remove the dead roots.
Repot your plant in Leca
The Leca growing medium helps you water your plants correctly. If you’re struggling to properly water your plants in soil, the Leca growing medium might be perfect for you. Soil is an organic medium, which means that it provides nutrients, but can also harbor fungi. A Leca pot does not have a lot of organic content, in fact, it does not provide any nutrients to your plants either. It’s sole purpose is to regulate the amount of water in the pot and ensure your plants receive the amount of water that they need.
Because the sole function of Leca is to serve as a watering device, it might be a great solution for someone who’s a bit heavy-handed when watering their plants. The Leca would help you avoid overwatering your plants.
Propagate your plant
You can save your plant from dying only after overwatering it to such an extent that not only the roots are seriously damaged, but also a few leaves have died: propagation. You may not be able to save your plant, but you can grow new plants from your dying plant, so you’re giving yourself a chance to care for it. Plants can be propagated with succulents because their leaves can be planted in soil. However, almost every type of plant can be propagated, even if it is severely damaged from overwatering.
It is possible to transplant most sansevieria plants by cutting their leaves, letting them dry for two days, and transplanting the leaves. This will result in new plants in a few months.
In the event you overwater your plant, you can take steps to salvage it. Overwatering doesn’t necessarily mean that your plant will die. You can let the soil dry, repot your plant in soil or the soil you brought it in, or propagate your plant.