What To Do If You Have Over Watered Your Plant? Five Solutions For Over Watered Plants.

As a soil scientist interacting with the plant community, I get this question on a weekly basis. Most people think if you have overwatered a plant all hope is lost. I am here to let you know this is not the case and there are some tricks you can try at home to solve your overwatered plants

The Top Five Solutions For Fixing Over Watered Plants

  1. Using a fork to ruff up the soil surface.
  2. Removing any decorative rocks or moss.
  3. Poking a tampon or any sort of paper towel into the soil.
  4. Tipping the pot (we will talk about this more).
  5. Inserting a string in the bottom.

As with anything prevention is the key. Using things such as a good draining soil or a terracotta pot can help alleviate this issue for you in the future. However, in the immediate future it is not a good idea to repot the plant because it is already under immense stress.

If you are wondering how to identify the signs of overwatering a plant check out my article on guttation and why it maybe your number one warning signal.

Using A Fork To Rough Up The Soil Surface

Using a fork to rough up that soil surface will help increase the rate of evaporation from the soil. This is due to the extra surface area you are exposing to the air and sunshine. All you need to do is ensure that the matted surface is now fluffy. Just take care not to damage and roots that maybe near the surface.

Removing Decorative Rocks Or Moss

Many of us enjoy using rocks, moss, and other trinkets to decorate the top of our soil surface. However, if you have recently over watered these trinkets are causing more harm then good. When we have a covering of the soil, we reduce the rates of evaporation. This lack of evaporation will result in the water staying suspended in soil longer and ultimately causing root rot. Removing the decorative rock long enough for the soil surface to dry out is important.

Using a Tampon or Paper Towel with Overwatered Soil

This is pretty self-explanatory, but the absorbing nature of the cloth will take the excess water out of suspension. The problem area in over watered soil is generally the bottom portion of the pot where something called a perched water table resides. This means if you are using a cloth to reduce soil moisture you will want to insert it in the bottom portion of the container. This will work the water out of the perched water table area.

Tipping the Pot to Remove Excess Water

This sounds goofy but it seriously works wonders. When I say tipping the pot, I do not mean tipping upside down. I am referring to tipping it on its side to allow for gravity to overtake the negative pressures in the system. Check out the diagram below to get a better idea about what I mean.

How To Fix Overwater Plants
How To Fix Overwater Plants

Inserting A String into Your Pot

This ultimately will cause some root damage but if you know overwatering will be an issue for the future then this is the solution for you. Simply take a fibrous string that’s ¼” or more in thickness and hot glue it to a bamboo stake. Take the stack and thread it through the soil until it come out the other end. Simply cut the string and you are officially done. Leaving a little overhang in the bottom is ideal for extra drainage and removal of the perched water table.

Its officially you now have five methods to help ensure you no longer have to worry after over watering a plant. Let me know which method for fixing over watering you enjoy the most and which method you think would be the most effective.