Overwatering your plant may not seem like a big deal, but it can cost a host of issues ranging from mold growth to insect infestation and even death. Thankfully, you can avoid overwatering by studying up on the effects and learning the causes. The following guide will teach you about the various issues that can occur due to overwatering and how you can prevent it.
Every plant has different moisture needs. Overwatering occurs when a plant gets too much moisture due to the soil becoming oversaturated with water.
When soil is overwatered, it cannot absorb the water well enough, which in turn increases the risk for various issues and problems.
Problems Caused by Overwatering
The following are the most common problems that can occur due to overwatering plants; look for these signs in your plants to see if you may be giving them too much water.
Wilted Leaves With Wet Soil
Numerous factors can cause wilted leaves, but if your plant has wilted leaves and wet soil at the same time, then the wilting has likely been caused by overwatering.
Roots Developing Root Rot
Root rot is actually a fungal disease that causes the roots to develop grey, brown, and even slimy growths. Eventually, the plant itself will wilt as the roots are unable to deliver nutrients to the plant. Root rot occurs when roots are overwhelmed with water so that they "drown," which causes rot.
Leaves That Turn Brown
Brown leaves, whether they are wilted or not, are one of the more surprising signs of overwatering. Most people associated brown leaves with dried out plants, but leaves can also turn brown when they have been given too much water. As with the previous issue, check the soil: if it's wet, then the brown leaves are likely caused by overwatering rather than being dried out.
Plant edema occurs when a plant is given so much water that it absorbs far more than it actually needs. This causes the cells within the plan to expand too much, which adds stress to the cells; eventually, these overfull cells will rupture and then burst open. Signs of edema include plant blisters, lesions, and indentations. The lesions may be dark or even appear white, which is a sign of plant scar tissue.
Best Tips to Avoid Overwatering
Thankfully, it is not too difficult to avoid overwatering once you know what to look for in regards to plants that have received too much water. The following are the best tips you should follow when you want to avoid overwatering your plants.
Research Your Plant's Water Needs
Different plants have different water needs, so make sure you read up on how much your plant needs to be watered. Some plants may need constantly moist soil, while others do best with soil that dries out a bit in between watering sessions.
Check The Surface Of The Soil
Just because the soil appears to be dry on the top doesn't necessarily mean that the soil is dried out and needs more water. To test the soil, stick a toothpick inside the soil; if the soil sticks to the toothpick, then the soil is still moist. If it doesn't, and you can also see a gap between the soil and edge of the planter or pot, this is a sign that the plant has dried out completely. If you don't have a toothpick, you can also use your finger to test out the soil.
Get Pots With Drainage Holes
One of the simplest ways to avoid overwatering is to get a planter with a drainage hole.
Drainage holes will help excess water to filter out of the planter or pot, rather than stagnant at the bottom. Water that remains at the bottom of a plant container will cause the roots to absorb too much water, increasing the risk of root rot. If you’re really set on using a specific pot or planter, but it doesn’t have drainage holes, you can make your own by drilling holes in the bottom.
Reduce Your Plant's Water Intake In The Winter
During the winter season, your plant won't need as much water since most plants will go into a dormant stage. Make sure that you reduce the amount of water you give to your plant, as it can easily become overwatered during this season.
Water Your Plant In The Morning
The best time to water is in the morning: your plant will have all day to absorb the water and dry out the moisture during the warmer temperatures of the daytime. If you water at night, then your plant won't have time to absorb the water fully, and this will increase the risk of disease.
Consider A Self-Watering Pot
If you find yourself unable to control overwatering, you may want to consider buying a self-watering pot. Self-watering systems will allow your plant to absorb water as needed, which will drastically increase the risk of overwatering.
While you will still need to monitor your plant for various diseases, a self-watering pot system can help reduce the risk of overwatering problems by a notable amount.
Overwatering can cause a lot of problems to your plant, so you need to make sure that you are careful in regards to giving your plant too much water. When in doubt, it’s best to give your plant a smaller amount of water and then observe the soil to see if you need to add more water during the day.