Learn how to care for overwatered plants so you can save your plants before it’s too late.
Sometimes we rescue plants from garden centers and other times they’re gifted or already ours. Whatever the case, overwatering is a real concern for the health of the plants and its roots.
Sometimes it is possible to rescue overwatered plants. If your plants get too much rain or face another overwatering issue, try to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
Let’s get started before it’s definitely too late!
What Are Some Signs of Overwatered Plants?
Overwatering plants is a common issue in the garden and indoors. It also occurs with young seedlings from time to time.
Some signs of overwatered plants may include:
- Dark, moist, cakey soil
- Fungus growth, such as mushrooms
- Green algae on the perlite or soil surface
- Yellowing leaves or brown leaves
- Dropping leaves of any color
- Flimsy or mushy plant stems
- Wilting leaves (potential root rot)
How to Rescue Overwatered Plants | Your Best Chance
With overwatered plants, you won’t find any guarantees on saving them. All you can do is attempt your best efforts at saving them.
Here are a few tips on how to rescue overwatered plants.
Look to see if the drainage in the pot is sufficient or blocked in some way. Correct the situation if needed.
Some planters and flowerpots do not come with holes in the bottoms. If this is the case, you may need to drill or carve holes for better drainage.
You should also try to use a light and airy potting soil to allow the water to drain and the roots to get through the soil easily.
Allow Waterlogged Plants to Dry Out a Bit
Before watering next, allow the waterlogged plant to dry out a bit. You don’t want to shock the plant by turning a full 180, but certainly avoid contributing to the problem.
When you do water overwatered plants, do it in the morning or daytime. Watering at night often leaves the soil soggy longer than necessary.
Truly check the soil before watering to make sure it really needs it. Oftentimes the roots will begin to rot when the soil is too wet for too long.
Check for Fungus
Look for fungi problems with your plant and treat if necessary. Overwatered soil may give hints like mushrooms and other fungi popping up.
You may start to see fungus gnats swarming when indoor plants are too moist. (They look like fruit flies.)
Repot if Necessary
Container plants may drain relatively quickly, but for sensitive plants, you may wish to repot in new potting soil to help remove some of the saturation.
After a heavy rainfall, some plants may truly get too much water. If your plants are sensitive to this and they need a rescue from overwatering, moving them into a new pot with new soil may do the trick.
Also be sure to check the drainage of your pot if you haven’t already!
Trim Water Damaged Roots
If roots become waterlogged, they may turn brown or black and mushy. Healthy roots are generally white. You can trim away the dying roots to give the plant a second change.
This may or may not work, depending on the severity. Still, leaving the plant with the waterlogged roots gives even less chance of survival.
Protect from the Rain
The last thing overwatered plants need is more water. Rain doesn’t always give you much choice.
If more rain is in the forecast, move potted plants or consider installing a tarp or other setup to shield your plant from even more water.
If you remember to remove it right away, you may have luck placing a five-gallon bucket over top of your waterlogged plants.
Final Thoughts: How to Rescue Overwatered Plants
Rescuing overwatered plants or underwatered plants isn’t a sure thing, so it helps to go into it with a little grace.
You may save the plants, you may not. The important thing is, you tried!
I am not so sure I would purposely buy plants from a nursery that looked overwatered unless they seemed very healthy aside from the soil content.
To me it seems to be a gamble most of the time as far as how the waterlogged plants will fare.
That being said, I love a good gardening challenge (except for garden pests!) and I will happily attempt to save what I’ve got!
Do you have any tried-and-true tips on how to rescue overwatered plants?
Feel free to share your best tips and any questions you have in the comments below!