Signs of Over Watering House Plants

Overwatering houseplants is the top problem most people face when dealing with underperforming or troubled indoor plants. While we think we are compensating for the lack of outdoor moisture and fear under-watering and killing our plants, over-watering is more common and actually tends to do more damage.

Standing Water

The most obvious sign of overwatering is if you consistently have water in the drainage or catch tray under the plant a day after watering. Or worse, if there are no drainage holes in the growing container you are using. Either condition forces the roots to sit in water, which can quickly lead to rot. A foul odor may also emanate from the bottom of the pot signaling root decay.

Leaf Drop

Leaves dropping from the plant or coming loose when barely brushed is a common sign of over watering. You will see both small new leaves as well as fully developed mature leaves dropping at the same time.


Mold can form on the flowers, stem, stalks and even the soil surface. A light white fur will be visibly on the flower buds, stems and soil while a slimy brown decay will be seen on the flower petals.

Leaf Spot & Stunted Growth

Leaves of overwatered house plants will develop soft brown spots that are rotted and will not grow to mature size and will be flaccid.

Keywords: houseplants, indoor plant care, over watering yellowing leaves mold

About this Author

An omni-curious communications professional, Dena Kane has more than 17 years of experience writing and editing content for online publications, corporate communications, business clients, industry journals, as well as film and broadcast media. Kane studied political science at the University of California, San Diego.