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How to prevent overwatering in houseplants

You love your plants, but maybe you do not have a green thumb yet. Watering houseplants properly is challenging for many people, so do not worry if you have problems keeping your plants healthy. If your plants are overwatered, you can change your heavy watering habits with some super light changes. Soon you will take care of your plants with confidence!


[[[[Edit]Water your plants properly

  1. Slide a finger into the soil to make sure it is dry before watering. You can follow a water schedule so that you do not accidentally forget it. However, this is a recipe for overwatering. Instead, wait until the soil feels dry before adding more water. The best way to control the soil is to stick your finger under the surface.[1]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 1.jpg
    • Do not just walk in the topsoil, as it dries first. Put your finger in the soil to see if it is still moist underneath.
  2. Get a moisture meter for your plant if you do not want to feel the soil. You might hate to get your hands dirty, and that’s okay. You can find moisture meters in most garden stores or online. Just push the moisture meter into the soil near the edge of your pot. Check the meter daily to see if it says “dry”.[2]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 2.jpg
    • Read the instructions that came with your moisture meter to make sure you are using it correctly.
    • You can find moisture meters for less than $ 10.
  3. Water the plant until the abundance drains out when the soil feels dry. Once you have confirmed that the soil is dry, it is time to add some water. Pour the water over the entire surface of the earth. Continue pouring until you see excess water drain out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.[3]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 3.jpg
    • If your pot does not have drainage holes, saturate the soil with water and then place the plant in a sink or tub and turn it upside down. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour so that excess water can drain out.
  4. Check the soil again in a day or two if it feels damp to the touch. Do not add more water to your plant if the soil feels wet. Instead, wait a day or two and then press your finger into the ground again. Keep checking every day or so until the soil feels dry.[4]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 4.jpg
    • Do not worry about how much time it takes between watering. It may take longer for the soil to dry under certain conditions. For example, your plant may only need water every week or two during a cool month, while it may need water several times a week during the hot months.
  5. Try a self-watering effort if you are struggling to get it right. A self-watering rod goes into your soil and waters your plant when the soil becomes dry. All you need to do is keep the insert container full. Follow the instructions that come with your wand to insert it into your plant’s soil. Then check the container 2-3 times a week and add more as needed.[5]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 5.jpg
    • You can buy self-watering inserts in garden stores or online. They start at less than $ 10 and go up from there.
  6. Read about the best cultivation methods for your plant. Waiting until the soil is dry keeps most plants healthy. But each plant has its own watering needs. It is best to learn about your plants’ unique water preferences so that you know how to best care for them. Use online resources to learn more about your facility or ask a nursery employee for advice.[6]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 6.jpg
    • When you get a new plant, it can provide information about the plant. Check if there is a label or a small plastic garden stick with this information.

[[[[Edit]Repotting your plant

  1. If it does not drain, reposition your system in a container with drainage holes. A pot that does not drain can drown your plant, even if you try to superwater it properly. Unfortunately, these pots trap the water around the roots of your plant, which can rot the roots. Check the bottom of your plant’s pot to see if it has drainage holes. If not, consider moving your plant to a new pot.[7]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 7.jpg
    • If you do not want to change pots, you can try using a vessel insert that has drainage holes. Many plants are sold in pots, which are basically thin plastic pots. Buy a pot case that is as big as your pot or slightly smaller. Then place your plant in the feed and place it in your pot. When you water your plant, lift the plant and the feed out of the pot and place it in the sink. Water the plant and put it back in the pot when the excess water runs out.
  2. Try using a terracotta or unglazed pot as they release water. You may prefer to choose a pot that suits your style, and each pot with drainage holes should work well. However, if overwatering has been a problem for you in the past, it may help to change the type of pot you use. Terracotta and unglazed clay flow better than other types of pots. Consider switching to this type of pot to prevent your soil from getting too moist.[8]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 8.jpg
    • As an example, you can switch from a plastic pot that does not breathe to a terracotta pot that releases more water.
  3. Choose a pot that is wider than your plant’s root ball. You may think that you are doing your plant a favor by putting it in a larger pot so that it has room to grow. But you can accidentally damage the plant because the larger pot holds more water around its roots. Move your plant to a new pot if its current pot is the wrong size.[9]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 9.jpg
    • When your plant starts to look like it has grown out of its pot, transfer it to the next size. Expect to repot your plant every year or 2.
  4. Switch to a soil with better drainage if your plant is still being watered. If your current soil does not drain well, water can get around the plant’s roots, preventing air from circulating in the soil. Fortunately, you can easily fix the problem by replacing the earth. Choose a potted plant that says it drains well. Then remove your plant from the pot and shake off excess dirt. Pot through the plant with your new soil.[10]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 10.jpg
    • Soil with gravel, peat and compost mixed in them all flows better than a fine dirt soil.

[[[[Edit]Recognizes overwatering

  1. Look for yellow or spongy leaves. Overwatering creates similar problems as underwater, so you may be confused about what is going wrong. Examine the plant’s foliage carefully to look for yellowing. You may also notice brown spots or stains on the leaves. This may be a sign of overwatering.[11]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 11.jpg
    • Do not forget to check the soil if it is dry or moist. If the soil feels super dry, yellow and brown leaves can be a sign of underwater.
  2. Check the blades for hanging or falling off. You may think that your plant is withering because it is not getting enough water. However, it can be overwatered, which can cause the plant to drown. Look for dead leaves that accumulate at the base of the plant, as well as hanging leaves that have lost their shape. If you see this, it is likely that you have a watering problem.[12]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 12.jpg
    • As with discolored foliage, check the soil for dry or moist soil. This will help you figure out if the problem is overwater or underwater.
  3. Look for mold on the plant or soil. Look for white or black spots on the ground, along the stem of the plant and on the leaves. If you see black or white spots peeling off, it is likely that your plant has mold. This is a sure sign that you are watering your plant too much.[13]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 13.jpg
    • Try not to worry if you see mold as it is not too late to save your plant.
    • If you find mold, you need to get rid of it. Remove the plant from the pot and wipe off any mold you see. Cut off leaves or roots that have mold that you cannot remove. Wash the pot in clean water and then place the plant in fresh soil.
  4. Sniff the plant to see if it smells rotten. Your nose can help you figure out if your plant is so overwatered that it rots. Notice if the plant smells like old garbage or spoiled eggs, which may be a sign of rot. If your plant rots, you probably water too often.[14]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 14.jpg
    • Cut out rotten foliage and roots to try to save your plant. If you act quickly, it may be possible for your plant to recover.
  5. Look out for mushroom mugs that are attracted to dilapidated plants. Mushroom mugs look like fruit flies, so they are quite easy to spot. Look for small black or gray flies that are about long. While the flies do not harm your plant, their larvae can eat your roots. If you spot these buds, change your watering practices so that your plants are not overwatered.[15]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 15.jpg
    • In general, the nettles will disappear when you stop watering your plant.
  6. Examine the roots to see if they are black and cloudy. Healthy plant roots are usually white and stiff, but you may notice some mild discoloration from the soil. Unfortunately, too much water can rot the roots, which should be noticed. Remove the plant from the pot and beat off some soil so you can check the roots. If you see rotten, your plant is probably overwatered.[16]
    Prevent overwatering in houseplants Step 16.jpg
    • You may notice some healthy roots and some rotten roots. If so, you may be able to save the plant by removing the rotten roots and replanting the plant.


  • When buying a new plant, ask a nursery employee for advice on how often to water it.
  • Expect to water your plants less often during the winter than you will during the growing season.


  • Do not follow a fixed schedule when watering your plant as it often leads to overwatering. Always follow the dryness of the soil.
  • It is actually worse to overwater your plant than to let it get too dry, as the plant can rot if it is too wet. Wait a little longer before adding water if you think you are overwatering.[17]


  1. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/care/watering-houseplants/
  2. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-not-overwater-your-plants-36631643
  3. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/care/watering-houseplants/
  4. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/care/watering-houseplants/
  5. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-not-overwater-your-plants-36631643
  6. http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/advice/pests_and_diseases/identifier.shtml?over_watering
  7. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/houseplant-care-overwatering-and-drainage
  8. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/houseplant-care-overwatering-and-drainage
  9. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/how-to-not-overwater-your-plants-36631643
  10. https://plantcareforbeginners.com/articles/how-to-avoid-over-watering-your-plants
  11. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/houseplant-care-overwatering-and-drainage
  12. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/gardens-gardening/your-garden/help-for-the-home-gardener/advice-tips-resources/pests-and-problems/environmental/overwatering.aspx
  13. http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/advice/pests_and_diseases/identifier.shtml?over_watering
  14. https://www.bhg.com/gardening/houseplants/care/watering-houseplants/
  15. https://union.ces.ncsu.edu/2019/02/fungus-gnats-a-common-problem-of-overwatered-houseplants/
  16. https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/houseplant-care-overwatering-and-drainage
  17. http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/advice/pests_and_diseases/identifier.shtml?over_watering

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