Cures for over watered house plants

Updated February 21, 2017

Over watering is a common cause of death in plants. Fortunately, not only is over watering preventable, in most cases your over-watered plant can actually be rescued. Read on to find out how.

Signs and Symptoms of Over Watering

To determine how to save your plant, you must first determine its condition--how will you know if it's over watered? An over-watered plant will have rotten roots due to suffocation from too much moisture. Over watering can also cause plants to have mould and fungal diseases. Your plant can only be saved if the roots are not completely rotten, so catching the problem early on is best. Signs of over watering include: yellowish leaves, wilted leaves, mould in the soil and mushy stems.

How to Save an Over Watered Plant

The first thing that should be done is to transfer the plant to another pot. It is very likely that the soil is too wet, so you will have to let the roots breathe a little bit. Check the roots to see if they are still healthy. If they are, wrap the roots in some paper towels and leave the towels on the roots. When the paper towels have absorbed the moisture, replace them with new sheets. After the new layer of paper towel is dampened, you can take off the towels and return the plant to its pot. Do not water again until the topmost layer of soil is completely dry. If the roots appear to be mushy or brownish, the plant will need some surgery. Begin by rinsing off all the soil from the roots. Pat them dry and examine them. Roots are healthy if they are firm and white. If they are mushy or brown, use a knife or a pair of shears to cut them off. If a large portion of the roots have been cut, prune back the plant about an inch to create new ones. Examine the foliage and remove anything mouldy, mushy, or with an unpleasant odour. After its surgery, put the plant back in its pot to recover. Again, do not water until the topmost layer of the soil is dry.

Avoid Over Watering

It is always best to know the individual needs of your plant. Purchase plants that have tags in them so you are properly informed of how to care for them. You can also buy houseplant guides to provide you with in-depth information about houseplants and plant care.

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About the Author

Alexis Writing has many years of freelance writing experience. She has written for a variety of online destinations, including She holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Rochester.