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How to Fix Cannabis Overwatering

Cannabis overwatering can happen to any one of us and has probably happened to most of us at some point – a simple human error that results in massive panic and a sinking feeling that you’ve just rendered your entire crop worthless. Accidents can happen. Mistakes can be made. Thankfully, they can also be fixed – provided you take swift, decisive, and correct action.

What Is Overwatering?

The name provides a hint – water is an essential component in the growth of plants, and if you overdo it – or underdo it – you’re going to have problems. In cannabis plants, the root system is essential for oxygen uptake, so if your plants are overwatered, oxygen uptake will be restricted by the excess water, causing your plants to effectively drown.

Why Plants Need Water

In addition to light and oxygen, water is one of the most essential components needed for healthy plant growth. This is because water dissolves the nutrients carried from the soil via the roots to help feed the plant. But there are many more reasons plants need water, including:

  • To stimulate germination
  • To facilitate photosynthesis
  • To transfer nutrients
  • To complete transpiration

All plants are different, and some plants require more water than others to successfully grow and thrive, depending on their type and environment.

How Overwatering Occurs

Overwatering can be a common error among novice growers and usually stems from a lack of knowledge about how much water cannabis plants need (volume) or how often they need to be watered (frequency). Too much or too often, and you’ve overwatered your plants. Not only that, but if your set up has insufficient drainage, or the drainage becomes blocked, your plants will hold on to the water too long, and this will cause problems.

Signs of Overwatering in Cannabis Plants

Cannabis plants are good at telling you when they’re unhealthy, and knowing the symptoms can be an excellent way to diagnose the problem. Typically, overwatered cannabis plants have some tell-tale signs, which indicate this is the issue. Look out for any of these:

1. Leaves begin to droop. When overwatered, whole plant leaves (not just the leaf tips) will start to curl in on themselves from the stem and feel firm to the touch. This is more like an excessive sagging of the leaves, rather than the sickly, wilted appearance leaves taken on when underwatered.

2. Yellowing of the leaves. Cannabis leaves are great at telling you when something’s wrong with them. Although yellowing leaves (Chlorosis) can indicate several problems with your plants, such as lighting problems, Ph issues, and nutrient deficiencies, they can also manifest as a symptom of overwatering.

3. Slowing of growth. Overwatered plants can’t access oxygen at the root level as efficiently, and as such, you may see your plant growth severely stunted, or even halted as a result.

Failure to catch and address overwatering in time can lead to numerous problems, including the dreaded root rot, which you’ll definitely want to avoid as it usually spells the end for your plants.

How to Fix Overwatering of Cannabis Plants

Careful monitoring of your plants is key. Knowing what to look out for and acting fast will help mitigate damage, and if caught early, you’ll have a chance to revive your plants.

Check the water content in your soil

Check your medium is moist but not waterlogged. If your soil is sodden, check your drainage first to ensure your plants have adequate means of releasing excess water from pots or containers they may be housed in.

If this is an issue, drain any excess water away. If your pots don’t have sufficient holes for drainage, it’s quick and easy enough to drill an extra few holes into the pot to allow adequate drainage.

How much should you water?

Monitor your medium daily, and if the topmost layer is dry, poke down about inch. If it’s dry or a little moist, water your plants. If it’s wet, hold off on applying more water. The question of how often you should water your plants doesn’t have a concrete answer, as environmental factors like humidity and temperature will play a part in determining how regularly your plants will need to be watered. But constant monitoring should help you understand your plants’ needs.

If you have overwatered your plants, give the medium a couple of days to dry out before considering a further course of watering.

Start a grow diary

A grow diary is an excellent tool to help you keep track of what you’ve done and how your plants are responding. Log each time you water your plants and you will quickly see a pattern in how frequently they need water. Catch symptoms early, deal accordingly and log appropriately to develop and track your understanding of how often your plants need water.

Increase the pot size

It may be helpful to pot an overwatered plant up in a bigger pot with dry soil to absorb some of the soil from the overwatered root mass. This will speed up the drying time, but be aware it could result in a larger plant, depending on the growth stage.

With a keen eye and careful consideration, you can learn how your plants respond to your watering practice with a keen eye and careful considerations. Change them accordingly should you notice any issues, and like any aspect of cultivation, resist the temptation to overdo it.

Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

This post is also available in: French

Duncan Mathers