Am I Overwatering My Plants?

It can be very tempting to try and keep your plants healthy and happy by watering them very regularly. However, showing too much love by overwatering them can be harmful to your leafy friends, so it’s good to know how to avoid this common plant-care problem.

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How To Know When Your Plant Has Had Enough Water
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It can be very tempting to try and keep your plants healthy and happy by watering them very regularly. However, showing too much love by overwatering them can be harmful to your leafy friends, so it’s good to know how to avoid this common plant-care problem.

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What is overwatering?

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Overwatering simply refers to soil that has been too wet for too long, caused by your plant not having enough sunlight for the soil to dry out properly between watering or just giving your plant too much water.

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If these conditions continue for long, root rot can develop and your plant will be deprived of its essential nutrients.

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Signs of overwatering

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First things first, check the soil for overwatering by putting your finger a couple of inches deep in the soil and feel if it’s dry or wet. The signs of underwatering can be similar to overwatering, so if the soil is wet, check for these other signs of overwatering:

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<li>Pale green or yellow patches developing on lower leaves - this is an initial sign of overwatering.

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<li>No new growth or struggling foliage - this is a sign that your plant isn’t receiving the nutrients it needs, which can result from overwatering.

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<li>Fungus gnats (AKA Sciarid Flies) are small flying insects that thrive in damp soil and compost that can damage your plant.

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<li>Mould or mushiness at the base of your plant - where there’s too much water, mould can start to grow. This is a bad sign: try and catch it before it gets to this point.

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<li>Unpleasant or musty odour - when roots start to rot and decay that have a foul smell, so you can give your plant a sniff to see if this is the case.

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Bringing an overwatered plant back to life 

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Spotting the signs of overwatered plants early-on means you can save it before it gets worse by letting the soil and plant dry out with the following steps:

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<li>Stop watering your plant!

<li>Bring your plant our of direct sunlight to protect the upper leaves as it recovers.

<li>Aerate the roots and soil by tapping on the sides of the pot, or using your hands/small shovel to gently loosen the soil and create air pockets.

<li>Prune dead leaves and stems from the plant - this will help the plant save energy whilst it recovers.

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Checking for root rot
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If you suspect your plant has been overwatered, it's a good idea to check if any of the roots are rotting:

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<li>Gently slide the plant out of its planter to inspect the roots and also speed up the drying process.
<li> Prune away rotting roots - these look soft and dark-coloured, unlike firm white healthy roots. </ul>
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Repotting
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Moving your plant into a different pot can be a good way to deal with overwatering:

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<li>Choose a planter or pot with good drainage to remove excess moisture
<li>Use fresh soil to repot your plant carefully.
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Check out our guide to repotting plants  <a href=" https://www.leafenvy.co.uk/blogs/planthacks/how-to-repot-a-plant">here</a>.
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Avoiding overwatering in the future

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Making sure you’re watering your plant when it needs it is a good way to avoid overwatering. Allowing soil to dry out between waterings when the top few inches of the soil are dry, using a planter with drainage holes, and making sure your plant is getting enough sunlight are good rules of thumb.

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Ultimately, plant-parenting involves reading the signs that your plants give and responding to them, so it’s good to be flexible in your approach.

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Check out more of our top watering tips for your indoor plants 
<a href="https://www.leafenvy.co.uk/blogs/planthacks/5-watering-tips-for-happy-healthy-plants">here</a>.

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