The Danger of Over-Watering Plants

August 13, 2020 | Justin Hill

Overwater HydrangeaHave you ever noticed your indoor or outdoor plants looking a touch on the pale yellow or pale green side, wilting, or even dropping their leaves?  These may be signs of over-watering.  And believe it or not, over-watering is considered the most common cause of death in plants.

There are several principle signs to look for when determining whether your plant is being over or under-watered.  Most often these symptoms are similar and tough to differentiate. But, when a plant is under-watered, the soil is dry and the leaves may turn brown, brittle, and most times fall off. An over-watered plant, on the other hand, has very moist soil, and the leaves are generally a pale yellow or green color, soft, drooping, and often still attached to the stem of the plant.

The dangers of over-watering start with the roots.  Roots play an important part in the life of a plant, and are responsible for absorbing food, nutrients, water, and oxygen so that the plant stays healthy.  Over-watering causes the plant to drown, and the roots cannot absorb the oxygen that is necessary for the plant to breathe.  Mildew, mold, fungus, and root rot can also be associated with too much water.  Not all plants will survive if they have been in saturated soil for a significant time period, but several things can be done to help in the recovery of an over-watered plant:


-Refrain from watering until the soil begins to dry or is only slightly moist to the touch
-If it is a potted plant, remove the excess water by tilting the pot or removing the collection tray if there is standing water in the pot
-If the plant is low in the ground or pot, raise the plant to allow the roots to dry out
-Add new potting soil around the roots, and remove the old soil as it may contain fungus or mold
-Prune any rotting or damaged roots, and remove any leaves that look brown or that are past the pale yellow or green stage
-If possible, move the potted plant to an area with indirect sunlight until it begins to perk up

After these steps are completed, water lightly, and keep an eye on the plant.  When the plant begins to look healthier, add a very light dose of liquid plant fertilizer.  Continue this process until the plant is back to its intended look!Watering