When you enter the world of plant care, one of the best rules to remember if you could only remember one rule is this: most house plants die from over-watering. It’s the easiest mistake to make and the one with the most impactful consequences. There’s no shame in facilitating your plant’s H2O-overdose; even the best plant care connoisseurs among us have misjudged the watering needs of our plants.
If you’re currently suffering from over-watering guilt, you’re probably also wondering if your plant can recover from that accidental over-watering. Here’s everything you need to know about bringing your leafy-baby back from a watery grave.
Let’s first understand why over-watering is such a no-no for plant care. It’s a pretty straightforward risk to remember — just like too much water drowns an animal, too much water drowns plants as well. Their roots are meant to intake both water and oxygen; if there’s too much water in the soil, the roots aren’t able to properly intake oxygen, effectively drowning. Over-watering also opens the door for other plant causes of death, like root-rot, which is a fungus, and other diseases.
To rescue your plant from over-watering, first determine how much rescuing it will really need. Is your plant wilting while or yellowing? If your plant is already in the wilting stage of being over-watered, they require some emergency care.
For yellowing plants, you’ve caught your problem early. All you have to do is stop drowning your plant — easy! Get your watering routine in check by making sure the soil is well-draining. You shouldn’t water before the topsoil has dried. Trim off those yellow leaves and start fresh with you and your plant’s watering relationship. If you have lots of plants, consider getting a pruner to make things easier for yourself.
For wilting plants, it’s time to pull out the big guns. Pull your plant out of the pot and examine the roots for any signs of rotting (mushiness, smelliness); if the roots are looking rough, trim off the unsightly bits. Depending on how damp the soil you pulled them out of was, decide whether they need a new, un-waterlogged home. Just don’t fertilize the new soil now or until the plant grows again.
As a last effort at recovering your over-watered plant, give it a trim and take off some foliage from the top (leaves, buds, flowers) as it will help your plant focus on staying alive instead of being pretty. If your plant was in bright light previously, move it to an indirectly lit spot. This is another tactic to help your plant work on getting back to its roots and surviving.