Cures for Over-Watered House Plants

The desire to care for houseplants can lead to overzealous watering. Too much water can lead to diseases or even the death of plants. The right amount of water is essential for plants to grow and survive. The best cures for overwatered houseplants is to stop incorrect watering and humidity control practices. According to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, signs of overwatering include leaf drop, brown spots, root rot and mold growth.

Drain Standing Water

Standing water is a problem for many houseplants. The soil absorbs the standing water and remains constantly wet, causing waterlogging. According to the Colorado State Cooperative Extension, waterlogging results in fungi and bacteria growth, causing plants to die. The cure for waterlogging is allowing plants completely to drain prior to replacing them to their original location. Tilting the pot at a 45-degree angle also encourages any excess water to drain out of the container. Approximately one hour after watering, check the base of the container and the container holder to make certain there is no standing water.

Let the Soil Dry

Most houseplants do not need daily or even weekly watering. Some types of plants, such as cacti, do not require large amounts of water for continual growth. Place your thumb into the center of the pot and feel for soil moisture. Frequently lift the container to establish its weight with and without water. According to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension, repeatedly watering houseplants with small quantities of water can lead to overwatering. To cure plants from watering too frequently, do not follow a rigid watering schedule; instead, observe your plants to learn their individual needs. Allow the soil to dry between watering. For already overwatered plants, allow the soil to dry completely and then resume regular watering.


As a last resort, consider repotting the plants into new containers to cure overwatered houseplants. Gently pressing a hand towel around the roots will absorb excessive water, prior to placing the plants in a new container. Wait a day prior to watering the plant to give the houseplant time to adjust and acclimate to the new soil and transfer.

Control Humidity

Plants need humidity to photosynthesize. Indoor gardeners make the mistake of frequently spraying water mist or adding a small amount of water to the base of the plant daily. This is ineffective for humidity and leads to accidental overwatering. For overwatered plants do not mist or add additional water to the base of the plants to increase humidity levels. According to Texas A&M Aggie Horticulture, pebble trays filled with water under or near houseplants increases humidity levels to prevent overwatering. They also suggest placing houseplants near one another to raise humidity levels.

Keywords: over watering plants, house plant cures, watering house plants

About this Author

Joyce Priddy has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in psychology, with a minor in early childhood development. She has been freelance writing for five years and primarily writes for eHow.