We all know that plants can die when not watered properly, but you should remember that you can kill them by over-watering. When this happens, we literally suffocate the plant as essential oxygen is forced out of the soil which is always wet and saturated with water. It is not really easy to see when your plants are being over watered because the symptoms shown by the plants are similar to that of under-watered plants. So it is critical to water your plants properly in order to keep them healthy.
You might ask, but how does over-watering affect the health of my plants?
For your plants to grow well, they need a healthy root system. Do you notice that transplanted plant always seem to be dormant for days before it starts germinating? Well, that plant is not simply staying there, it is developing its root system. The plant will only start to develop its other parts (such as flowers, stem) after it is done setting up a solid root system.
Roots are critical to the survival of a plant since they are an essential source of nourishment and water and are additionally vital for access to oxygen. A plant needs air for respiration as the root gets water. Over-watering, in basic terms, suffocates your plant. When the soil is always wet, there won’t be much air pockets in it and the roots won’t have access to air. Once this happens, the roots get stressed and become more likely to get infected. This also means the plants get stressed and will get infected. Over-watered plants will probably become rotten. And you won’t realize your plant has rotten root until you see that it is shriveled, even if the soil remains wet. Read on to learn of the 8 signs shown by over-watered plants. Here are some tips by the professional florist.
8 Signs that you are overwatering
- You are watering your plant many times a day and it is wilting
As stated in the intro, there is space between the soil particles in your garden or nursery. Oxygen accumulates this space. Adding water excessively to the soil will disrupt that space because the soil will get clumpy and won’t have enough air pockets. Plants won’t get an adequate amount of oxygen with their root. So, they will shrivel. Note this also happen to plants that are thirsty.
To confirm whether your plant is thirsty or over-watered, feel the soil with your fingers to check how damp it is. Then use a small hand shovel or fork to dig about 8 inches into the soil. Use your hand to scoop up some soil and squeeze it. If it feels exceptionally cool to the touch, it is likely that your plants are dying because you over-watered them.
- Leaves bending inwards
Though this droopy-leaf symptom is also present in under-watered plants, yet the contrast between the leaves plants and that of overwatered plants is the leaves droop then bend inward. These leaves will bend internally from the stem to the tip yet still feel firm. Note that if only the leaf tip is bending inward, it might be indicating lack of nitrogen.
- The tips of the leaves become brown
This is one of the first signs of overwatering and it is usually noticed early at the tip of the leaf. Reduce how often you water your plants if you notice their leaves turning brown unless that is the normal color of the leaves.
- Spots appear on the leaves
Unfortunately, if the leaves of your plants become spotty. It is a sign that your plant is infected. You can confirm if this is due to overwatering by doing the feel test for the soil.
When blisters appear on the leaves, this is known as Edema. It is as a result of the roots taking up more water than they can utilize. This causes the water pressure to build up in the plant cells present in the leaves, which ultimately burst and develop blisters. Dark-colored or white wart-like growths might also begin to form on the blisters. You may observe holes forming on the top side of the leaves. Edema can likewise draw in insects that suck sap from plants such as aphids that further stress the plant.
- Yellowing Leaves
Overwatered plants have many deficiencies that make the plant grow slowly and the leaves turn yellow. Oxygen let plants break down nutrients absorbed by the root, but these plants have an oxygen issue. The roots are trapped in stale water and clumpy soil with a few or no air pockets. This denies the plant of the oxygen it requires to metabolize nutrients. Another thing that causes stunted growth of the plant is that the excess water flushed out any nutrients present in the soil.
- Leaves keep falling
Leaf fall happens in the two circumstances of excessive water and too little water. If the buds are not opening and all the young & old leaves fall prematurely from the plant, this is a sure indication of excess water.
- Rotten Plant
Over-watered plants are increasingly helpless to parasitic diseases, bacterial diseases, and pests. Stem, root, and crown decays happen when over-watered plants get attacked by pathogenic fungi, for example, Fusarium, Phytophthora, and Pythium. Once the over-watered plant decays, nutrient deficiency show first in the leaves which gets dull and become yellowish. Then the root gets mushy and brownish. In extreme cases, the plant will inevitably die within 2 weeks as the roots rot.
The best thing to do is to loosen the soil around the plant and check whether the plant can be saved or not.
To conclude, to prevent overwatering your plants, numerous stores sell meters to measure the moisture present in the soil. You just insert them into the soil close to your plant and you will get a reading of how damp the soil is – a straightforward tool that will take a great part of the mystery out of watering your plants. Deciding if a plant needs water is a decision you will have to make often. Your garden will stay well-watered as you get better at observing what your plants need.