How to Fix an Overwatered Plant

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Things You'll Need

  • Garden clippers

  • Paper towels

  • Chlorine bleach

  • Potting mix

Overwatered plants simply stop growing.

Overwatering is a common and often accidental method of killing houseplants. Although water is vital to plants since it transfers nutrients from soil to plant cells, excess moisture causes carbon dioxide to accumulate in the soil and ultimately impede oxygen flow to the plants' root hairs. Drooping foliage, soft stems, yellow foliage and black leaf tips are indications of overwatered plants. Fortunately, an overwatered plant is restorable as long as its stems are not rotting. Except for perennials, plants with rotted stems are too damaged to recover.


Step 1

Remove the entire plant, including its root ball, from the existing container. Cut any rotted roots off the plant's root ball using garden clippers.

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Step 2

Wrap the plant's roots in paper towels to absorb moisture. Drain all excess moisture from the plant's roots.

Step 3

Dump all water out of the plant's container. Soak the container in a solution of 10 percent household chlorine bleach and 90 percent water for an hour to kill disease-causing bacteria.

Step 4

Rinse the container thoroughly in clean water. Dry the container with fresh paper towels.


Step 5

Fill a third of the container with fresh potting mix. Unwrap the plant's roots, and place the entire plant in the container.

Step 6

Add additional potting mix around the plant until no empty space remains in the container. Press down on the soil around the plant to compact it into the container.

Step 7

Sit the container in a sunny location. Let plant's root ball dry thoroughly before watering the plant again.


Water the plant according to its specific watering requirements to avoid overwatering and damaging it.


Improperly watering the freshly potted plant will damage it again.


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