Overwatering is a big issue for many plants. As their growers, we want them to be healthy and happy – and surely watering them is a big part of this? If you have been overindulging your favorite plant you might want to know how long does it take for a plant to recover from overwatering. Read on!
What You'll Learn Today
How Long Does It Take A Plant To Recover From Overwatering
Giving your plant too much water is almost as damaging to it as not watering it enough, although this may surprise you!
Excessive watering can cause leaves to droop and curl; it can encourage pest infestations, and it can even kill the plant.
Especially if its roots are allowed to sit for too long in soggy soil, a plant can suffer irreparable damage which can even kill it.
Provided you get to your plant quickly enough and start to mitigate the damage from overwatering, you can bring your plant back from the brink!
Generally, a plant can recover from overwatering in around 1-2 weeks. It may take a little longer if there was root damage, be warned!
This article tells you all about the problems caused by overwatering, and what you can do about it.
Can Plants Recover From Being Overwatered?
Thankfully, plants can recover from overwatering – as long as you catch them in time, before the roots start to rot.
Rescuing your plant from the perils of too much water is relatively simple:
- Stop watering straight away (ok, this one’s a little obvious!)
- Remove the plant from its pot, and gently shake off the saturated soil.
- Replant it into a clean pot, with some dry soil.
- Add some extra drainage to the soil, such as coarse sand or gravel.
- Leave the plant well alone for a few days, to allow the excess water to dry out.
- Water it very sparingly, but don’t deprive it entirely – it will still need to drink!
An overwatered plant is not necessarily a death sentence. As long as you catch it in time and take steps to save it, it can bounce back.
This video takes you through the steps on how to save an overwatered plant:
What Does An Overwatered Plant Look Like?
Overwatering can cause a lot of issues for a plant – and some of these issues are common problems that we find ourselves googling!
- Drooping leaves is a sign of overwatering; the plant will take the energy away from the leaves to save the main body.
- Leaf drop is another symptom of overwatering – the plant will try to save itself by removing energy from the parts that are more expendable than its main body.
- Yellow or brown leaves are a sign of overwatering, and shows that the plant is too stressed to maintain its foliage.
- An unstable or mushy plant base is a sign that you need to put the watering can away. If the plant is no longer able to maintain its stability you need to give it some time off from drinking!
- Brown spots can also show that the plant is getting stressed by too much watering.
- Fungus or mold on the top of the soil is another sign of overwatering; too much moisture can encourage bacteria and other issues.
- Fungus gnats are a big fan of moist conditions; too much wet will bring these little beasties to show you that you need to water less often.
Is Overwatering Worse Than Underwatering?
Because plants need water to survive, you have to keep them well hydrated. However, too much water is a big no no!
Plants that are overwatered can suffer from myriad problems, which can even lead to the death of the plant.
An overwatered plant is basically drowning; without the ability to get oxygen into its roots it cannot “breathe” and will die.
An underwatered plant is equally at risk, because it cannot keep the nutrients going round its root system, and nor can it keep its cells healthy.
Overwatering and underwatering are both things to avoid, with any plant! The best thing you can do is to check what each individual plant likes.
Some plants like their soil to be kept moist, others simply won’t tolerate more than the smallest amount of water.
It is slightly easier to bring a plant back from the brink if it has been underwatered, as opposed to overwatered.
An underwatered plant simply needs to be given a big drink, and it will soon spring back to life as long as its other needs are met.
An overwatered plant generally needs a full soil change and to be dried out for a while, and even then it may still suffer lasting damage.
If the roots have already started rotting, you will have to really fight to bring your plant back – much harder than simply giving it a good drink!
What Are Signs Of Root Rot?
Although you cannot always see the roots of your plant to check on their health, the rest of the plant will let you know if the roots are not happy.
- The plant declines without any obvious reason.
- The leaves are small and pale.
- The leaves start to wilt, turn yellow or turn brown.
- The branches and stems will start to die back.
- The canopy becomes thin.
- Fungus or cankers are visible on the stem or leaves.
If you notice any of these signs on your plant, there is a good chance that the roots are not at their healthiest.
The best thing you can do in this case is to remove the plant from its pot entirely, so that you can see the root ball.
If you see any roots that are mushy looking, remove them immediately to try to save the rest of the plant.
Keep an eye out for fungus or pests among the roots; this can be a reason for the root rot and will need to be treated to save the plant.
If overwatering is the culprit then replant the plant in fresh, dry soil and hold off on the watering until you see it start to recover.
Basically, you are being a responsible plant owner if you are watering your plant and making sure it has enough to drink.
However, too much water can be just as damaging as not enough water! Try to find the happy medium (check this guide on watering from the bottom) – and definitely work out each particular plant’s watering requirements!