We all know that plants need water to survive. However, the amount of water required to keep certain plants healthy varies. It can be tricky to find the ideal spot between overwatering and underwatering your plants. Fortunately, plants have a few ways to let you know that you’re overwatering them and need to take steps to repair any damage. Plant roots require a balance of water and oxygen, and too much water essentially means that your plants are drowning. The following five signs are the most common signals of overwatering.
The Soil is Wet to the Touch
Feel the soil of your plant an inch or so beneath the surface. If the soil is still moist from your last watering session it may be oversaturated with water, and you should consider delaying the next watering event. If your plants are in pots and planters, invest in planters with drainage holes to prevent excess moisture from pooling in the plant soil.
Leaves Are Yellowing
Yellow leaves are one of the primary signs that you are overwatering your plants. However, leaves can also yellow if they are not receiving enough water. Touch the soil to check the moisture levels and determine whether your plant needs more or less water.
Soft and Squishy Stems
Another sign of overwatering is soft and squishy plant stems. These can appear when the plant is taking in too much moisture then puffs up and loses firmness.
Brown Edges or Spots on the Leaves
If leaves absorb too much water their cells become oversaturated and burst, creating brown spots on those leaves. Like yellow leaves, brown or dark spots may also indicate underwatering. However, a general rule of thumb is that browning along the leaf’s edges may point to underwatering, while splotches appearing in the middle of the leaves indicate overwatering.
The Soil Attracts Pests
Gnats and other pests love to live in damp soil. If you notice pests hovering around your plants, it may be time to investigate. You can remove plants from planters and check out their root system. If you have been overwatering your plants, the roots will look dark and feel mushy. The plant’s soil may also have a sour smell due to water-loving bacteria forming around the roots.
What to Do About Overwatered Plants
If you feel sure that your plant is suffering from overwatering, you do not need to worry too much yet. In many cases, your plants can be revived.
One step you can take is to remove soggy, damaged roots and repot your plant in new soil. Then, make sure to place it in an area that provides lots of good airflow and sunlight. Hold off on watering again until the soil feels thoroughly dry to the touch. Your plant should show improvement within a week or so, but individual plant needs may vary.
How to Avoid Overwatering Your Plants in the Future
You can avoid overwatering in the future by becoming familiar with your individual plant needs. Do your research and discover which of your plants needs more breaks between watering events and which do not. Some plants may also require more water than others, so it is crucial to know what you need to provide your plants before you start caring for them.
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Scientific Plant Service, located in Baltimore, is a privately owned corporation, chartered in Maryland in 1957 by Frank J. Burke. We started as a full-service Arborists specializing in the care of shade trees and ornamental shrubs, but today we are a Lawn Care company that is a huge part of the community. From aquatic environments and snow management to deer and mole control, SPS has services tailored specifically for your lawn and landscape.
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