Rescuing Waterlogged Plants
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When plants roots sit in excess water too long, they start to rot. As the roots deteriorate, they cannot take up water, so the plant wilts. What seems like the thing to do (providing more water) can actually make things worse!
If the container feels heavy yet the plant droops, you probably have a water-logging crisis. To save the plant, several thicknesses of newspaper in a pan or basin, lay the pot on its side, and slide out the root ball. Allow the root ball to dry on the newspapers overnight. Use clean sharp scissors to trim off any dark-colored or slimy roots before repotting the plant in a clean container with fresh potting soil. Adding small stones or pieces of a broken clay flowerpot – or even broken china – to the bottom of containers helps prevent this problem.
Indeed, overwatering is the leading cause of houseplant death. When you’re getting to know a new plant, it is better to err on the dry side than to drown its roots with too much water. In addition, be careful in the autumn. The reason? New growth slows as days become shorter, so plants need less water. And when plants are moved indoors after spending the summer outside, the absence of wind, combined with radically reduced light levels, further limits their need for water. Indoor humidity levels are often moderate in the fall, too. When indoor humidity levels drop as the winter heating season begins, you can carefully increase watering until plants appear content.
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