Drying Wet Soil – How To Fix Waterlogged Plant Soil

By: , Author and founder of Ohio Tropics houseplant care blog
Potted Plant Being Watered Indoors
Image by Andrey Nikitin

Did you know that overwatering is one of the leading causes of houseplants dying? You shouldn’t despair though. If you have waterlogged plant soil, there are a few things that you can do to save your houseplant. Let’s take a look at how to dry houseplant soil so you can save your plant.

Drying Out Overwatered Soil

Why is wet soil such an issue? If your indoor soil is too wet, this can be very problematic because it can cause root rot. Plants use their roots to take up moisture and also oxygen. If your soil is constantly wet, there won’t be enough air pockets for your plants and the roots will not be able to breathe properly. This can cause your roots to rot and, therefore, your plant will suffer.

Some symptoms of overwatered plants include dropping leaves, both new and old, at the same time. The plant’s leaves may turn yellow and also wilt. The soil may have a sour or rotten smell, indicating root rot. You can also lift the plant out of the pot. If the roots are brown or black and soft, they most likely have rotted. Healthy roots should be white in most cases.

What are some ways of drying wet soil?

  • Increase the light that your plant is growing in. Of course, make sure that the light is appropriate for whatever plant you are growing in the first place. Placing a plant in an area with more light will help speed up the time it will use water.
  • Be sure to discard of any excess water that the plant may be sitting in, whether it is in the saucer below the plant, or in the decorative pot without drainage holes that the plant is slipped into.
  • You can gently take the plant out of its original pot and place the root ball on top of a layer of newspaper. The newspaper will help to absorb excess water. You may need to change the newspapers a few times until it has removed as much of the water as possible.
  • Do NOT fertilize a plant that has been overwatered and is suffering. This will make the situation worse.  

Repotting Your Plant to Help with Drying Wet Soil

You may need to repot your plant in order to solve your waterlogged plant soil issue. 

First, remove as much of the waterlogged soil as possible from the roots of your plant. Then remove or cut off any roots that are brown or mushy. Be sure to use sterilized pruners or scissors in order to avoid the spread of disease. 

Choose a pot that has a drainage hole. Use a fresh soil mixture to repot your plant in, but add additional coarse material such as perlite. This will create air pockets in the soil and help to provide additional oxygen to your plant’s roots. 

Lastly, a good rule of thumb is to allow the surface of your houseplant to dry before thinking about watering again.  

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