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Preventing Overwatering & Solutions

Overwatering of house plants is one of the most common mistakes people make when caring for their houseplants.  The signs of overwatering will progress as the overwatering continues.  The first sign is that you have a pud

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dle of water in the saucer under your plant.  If this is the case and it just happened, pour off the water and let the plant dry out for a few days to a week or more depending on the size of the plant and container.    As overwatering continues the symptoms will progress to yellowing leaves, black tips and the eventual loss of these leaves.  If you keep watering, thinking more water will help, you will rot the roots, the growing apex of the plant and eventually the plant will die.

If you have overwatered to the point that the plant is not dead but needs to dry out you can remove the plant with its root ball from the pot and put it on a stack of newspapers.  The newspapers will help to wick the water out of the root ball of the plant.  This method only works with a well established root ball otherwise you will just pull the plant out of the soil.  If the soil is very wet and the plant is small, you could remove the plant from the soil, size down the pot and start with new soil.  Sometimes overwatering happens because the pot is too big for the plant and the roots of the plant can’t absorb the water from the soil fast enough.

A good rule of thumb that will work for 80% of houseplants is to let the soil dry about 1/3 way into the pot. 

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