How To know If I am Overwatering My Houseplants

Signs of Overwatering Indoor Plants

How To Know If I am Overwatering My Houseplant-container-plants
Container Plants

All plants need water to survive based on their watering needs, in an outdoor garden setting plants require water more often because of direct exposure to the sun and there may be the challenge of the wrong soil type (sandy soils) where high-maintenance plants may be involved. Because a plant’s natural habitat is outdoors bringing them indoors to a more controlled environment requires some know-how of how to care for them so it can grow just as healthy and thrive as if it was in an outdoor garden setting.

There are many key components that a houseplant needs in order to grow its best one of those key components or requirements being the right amount of water. It’s a known fact that houseplants deteriorate and die from overwatering than the other requirements that a  houseplant needs to thrive.  Because of the winter, months many garden plants are brought indoors (overwintered) until the warmer months return.

It’s during the colder months however that many indoor plants fall prey to excess moisture, we will be discussing how to know if you’re overwatering your houseplant and what to do to revive your plant/plants so they can return to their glory days.

7 Signs you’re Overwatering your Houseplants

1. Leaves Turn Brown: In some cases, if a plant is being overwatered the leaves may turn brown, and then again there are situations where the plant is underwater and the leaves turn brown as well. Here is how to know the difference, when a houseplant is overwatered the leaves will not only turn brown but will be mushy and soft. Sometimes there is a foul odor. When a plant is not getting enough water the leaves will turn brown along with being crispy.

2. Mold on the Soil:  A Soil that has excess moisture because of water saturation may develop mold, this mold forms on the soil’s surface if this happens discontinue watering. The soil may also need to be treated with a fungicide, when applying fungicides read and follow the manufacturer’s directions for the best results.

3. Stunted Growth or No Growth at All: Because of soils that are water saturated or waterlogged the plant will stop growing because of a number of disease pathogens that cause root rot. Replacing the soil with fresh dry soil is one option, however before replacing diseased soil with new healthy soil sterilize the container with bleach and water. Once done rinse the container with fresh water and replant your houseplant. The second option is to use a fungicide to eliminate disease, Read and follow the manufacturer’s direction however for the best results.

4. Yellow or Wilted Leaves: Leaves that wilt or turns yellow may be another indication of overwatering, a lack of water can also cause the same symptoms so check the soil thoroughly before making the determination.

5. New and Old Leaves Falling off at the Seem Time: While it’s normal for old leaves to fall from a plant because of age, if the new leaves are falling also can be a sign that the soil is too moist. The presence of insects and poor lighting can also be another problem that causes these issues.

6. The Leaves have Brown Edges or Spots: If brown spots appear on the leaves or the leaves have brown edges may be an indication of a plant that is receiving too much water. However, a lack of water can cause the same symptoms. Remember before making any determination check the soil first.

7. The Presence of insects: There are many species of insects that love damp soil if insects are present is a sign of an insect issue, allow the soil to dry out before applying more water and monitor the moisture level.

How to Revive a Plant that has been Overwatered

If you have overwatered your houseplant and the damage is not that server then there is still a chance to revive your plant here is what to do.

  • Remove the plant from the container
  • Shake the water-saturated soil from the root ball
  • Roots that have rotten should be removed or trimmed with a hand pruner.
  • Sterilize the container with bleach and water followed by rinsing the container with fresh water
  • Add fresh new healthy soil and replant or repot your houseplant
  • In some cases, the plant’s roots may need to be drenched with a fungicide
  • Trim dead leaves and stems
  • Give houseplants very little water
  • Monitor your plant for new growth
  • Once new growth emerges is a sure sign that your plant is well on its way
  • Moving forward ensure not to overwater but give your houseplant the required water.

Additional Information

  • Ensure that the containers that are being used have drain holes for drainage
  • Before applying water check the first few inches of the topsoil for the moisture level, you can use your finger, a soil moisture meter, or a soil probe. These tools can be purchased from your garden center
  • Ensure there is a saucer under the container to catch the water that drains, once the water has drained from the container empty the saucer

The final word on how to know if You’re overwatering your houseplant

Keeping your indoor potted plants healthy is that simple all it takes is some knowledge in order for your house plants to survive and grow their best, just follow this guide. As a former interior plantscape designer and technician, I have had the opportunity of serving many indoor plants and know what’s needed to keep indoor plants growing healthy. This guide is your road map to success when taking care of houseplants.


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About the author

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Norman loves being in the garden, both at home and for his job....
he is 'Natures Little helper' being outdoors, growing his vegetables and flowers from an early age.
Now having spent over 22 years in the profession he want to give some of his knowledge to others...
his vast array of hints and tips you will find scattered over this site will help you no end growing plants in your garden.