An overwatered Hibiscus plant is frequently caused by excessive water application and poor drainage. Extract the plant from the soil, cut the damaged roots, and repot it to rescue an overwatered hibiscus plant.

Overwatered Hibiscus

To avoid this, hydrate the plant whenever the upper one to two inches of soil are dry. This tutorial will give you in-depth information about the warning symptoms of overwatering, how to cure it, and the proper watering strategy.

What Causes a Hibiscus To Become Overwatered?

Hibiscus plants do well in swampy soil. However, it also renders the plant a candidate for overwatering. Overwatering is more likely to happen to potted plants than to grounded plants. Knowing the proper watering frequency and the amount is crucial if you want your plant healthy for a long time.

Hibiscus are sun-loving. They need enough moisture to survive because they are exposed to the sun for six to eight hours. But take extra caution in the winter and wet months. Additionally, limit watering during regular rainstorms if the plant is outside because the rain will meet the need for water.

Although many of the younger varieties have life expectancies of up to five years only and grow a few inches a year, the older garden kinds might live up to fifty years and reach a height of 0-15 feet or more. The Hibiscus either develops slowly or goes dormant throughout the winter. Here too, you ought to cut back on watering

There are numerous additional causes for an overwatered hibiscus plant:

– Not allowing the soil to dry out before watering

As dry soil can compel the plant to stop growing and flowering, Hibiscus needs a lot of water. Even so, you shouldn’t prevent the soil from drying out. As a general rule, wait until the soil has dried out for at least the topmost couple of inches before watering again. Both rooted and potted plants are affected. The roots will drown if the soil isn’t allowed to dry out since they will be submerged in water. The plant’s roots will decay over time.

– Faulty drainage

The proportion between draining and absorption in the soil should be good. The roots will drown in water if the plant keeps holding onto the fluid. The plants may even exhibit symptoms of malnutrition and underwatering.

Because of suffocation, the roots won’t be able to transfer nutrients and water to other regions of the plant. Another factor is a container needing drainage holes. The potting mix will retain the water if there are no drainage holes. Again, the soil and roots will be overwatered because of prolonged wetness and suffocation.

Overwatered Hibiscus Causes

Additionally, similar problems will occur if the saucer is emptied slowly enough. If your hibiscus plants were grown in containers and placed on top of a saucer, periodically inspect the tray and drain it. The soil will sponge water from the tray if the pot is placed over a body of water and will stay wet for a long time. If you keep watering normally after that, it will result in serious overwatering.

– Watering off-season plants

During the months it grows, Hibiscus requires a significant amount of water to stay robust and healthy. In the winter, Hibiscus is more likely to be overwatered. The plant reduces how quickly it absorbs water. Especially if the US hardiness zone is chilly, your plants will go dormant over the winter.

Additionally, if the area is heated, it will slowly limit its growth. The plant won’t need water right now like it would in the summer or spring. They won’t use the water as efficiently as they did during the growing season since they’ll slow down or become dormant. You cannot, however, cease watering. Reducing the frequency instead is the best and most moderate approach you should take.

Numerous factors affect how much you should be watering your hibiscus plant. Your Hibiscus will become overwatered if you continue to water it casually while ignoring those considerations. Here are a few typical causes of an overwatered hibiscus plant.

Signs and Symptoms

The appearance is annoying when a plant is overwatered since the foliage wilts and loses color. The plant will exhibit the following signs to let you know if it is being overwatered or not:

  • Brown or yellow leaves: Leaves that are brown or yellow are typical and obvious symptoms. The dampness of overwatering affects the foliage. When the roots are suffocated by so much water, the nutrients and water are not transferred to other plant components. The outcome is that the leaves become brown or yellow.
  • Wilted leaves: A Hibiscus plant that has received too much water would have thick, spongy, yellow leaves and wilted foliage. Water only reaches some areas of the plant since the roots are still smothered. Dehydration will cause the plant to lose its ability to stand upright. As this can also occur while submerged, be sure the issue is real first.
  • No soil drying: Yellow leaves might be perplexing, so examine the soil to identify the issue. The leaves of an overwatered hibiscus plant will be brown and yellow, and the soil will be damp.
  • Root decay: Examine the root system to confirm the issue further. The plant has undoubtedly been overwatered for a long period if you discover that the roots are dark, mushy, and soft. If the situation is bad enough, the roots will emit a bad odor, a sign of root rot.

How Can a Hibiscus Plant be Saved From Overwatering?

A hibiscus plant can be saved from overwatering by something as simple as repotting it. If your hibiscus plant is being overwatered, it is crucial to address the issue immediately. They can recover in a relatively short time, most recover in 7–14 days (including rehydration).

Whenever you can, add a lot of organic materials to the soil. Garden compost, well-rotted manure from a reputable supplier (so you can be sure it’s free of pesticide residues), or leaf mold are all good for gradually enhancing the texture and nutritional content of your soil.

One instinct a novice gardener might have is to add sandy soil to overly wet soil, but this can be counterproductive. Sandy soils dry out more quickly than clay soils because they can easily exchange water for air. However, doing so can be harmful to your plant. There is a good probability that the issue can be resolved if it is discovered early. Regularly examining the plant and recognizing its symptoms can spot the issue at the initial stage.

Watering Correctly

A hibiscus plant should be watered by taking into account where it comes from. Hibiscus plants are tropical, moisture-loving plants native to Asia and the Pacific Islands. The plant will only be able to survive for a short time without enough water. 

It would help if you also watered the roots when you water the plant. Six inches make up the roots. That depth of water should be possible. If the plant is placed in a container, water it until the extra run off the holes for drainage. Drainage openings are essential.

Make a small well near the plant’s base if it is in the earth to test the soil’s capacity to be penetrated. Always keep the soil damp and never soggy or wet. Always inspect the soil before watering, and spray it when the top inch or two are dry. Seasons affect how frequently you should water. Water the plant every day throughout the summer. 

It may occasionally require watering twice a day – but once more, remember to check the water content. Reduce the frequency since the plant does not grow or grows slowly in the winter – the likelihood of overwatering increases during the cold. However, even though the plant is dormant, you still need water. Before watering, always verify the moisture level.

– For Plants in Containers

Hibiscus can not only survive but thrive when potted. While all hibiscus varieties will thrive in containers, certain cultivars grow more quickly than others, some are more susceptible to overwatering, and some are less tolerant of pH changes.

Save your Overwatered Hibiscus

  • Examine the drainage holes and saucer: If your plant pot rests on the saucer, empty it immediately. Examine the holes in the bottom to see if there are any obstructions.
  • Halt watering and increase soil inspections. Only spray the plant if it has dried out after two or three days. To help with quick moisture loss, move it to a brighter area.
  • To improve airflow, you can aerate the ground. It might allow the soil inside to breathe more quickly and dry out.
  • Remove the plant: It’s time to save your plant once you’ve established that it has been overwatered. To start, tap the container’s edges to release the soil. After that, flip it over to remove the plant. Due to the damp soil, you won’t need to exert any further effort by using shovels or forks to remove the plant.
  • Look at the foundation: Once the roots are visible, use a brush to clear them of debris. To find out how much damage there is, examine the roots. The roots should not be washed because they are already damp. The roots will be solid, white, and healthy if they have only recently experienced overwatering. However, if the roots are mushy and brown, the plant has likely been overwatered for a while and is decomposing.
  • It will help if you cut the injured roots off as soon as you spot them. Remove the damaged plant components. If they remain, the root rot infection will proliferate and harm every root. You can remove the yellow leaves as well. The appearance of the plant will be enhanced.
  • Repot the plant: If the plant is in a pot, use fresh soil and a clean container. The fungus that causes root rot will infect the older ones. You can utilize the old soil, though, if the roots are mostly white and solid and have not yet begun to decay. Dry out the dirt. Wait until the earth is dry before watering the plant.

– To Repot a Plant With Root Rot

Follow the following stops to repot an overwatered hibiscus:

  • Please get a new container and put the right soil mixture in it. Check to see if the soil retains and drains water efficiently. The soil should fill up half of the container. Create a hole in the middle, then insert the plant.
  • With the leftover soil mixture, encircle the plant base and the roots.
  • To moisten the plant, water it lightly. In the initial days, watering should be done with extreme caution. Reduce your watering and inspect the soil. But be careful to keep the soil dry. That will result in more problems.
  • Resuming regular watering after the plant has recovered. Wait to water till the upper one to two inches of soil is completely dry.
  • The plant will eventually appear healthy and even start to bloom.
  • Check the soil and turn off the water if the ground is damp for grounded plants outdoors.
  • For better airflow, aerate the soil. It will facilitate rapid moisture loss.
  • Give the plant some dazzling, partial sunlight.
  • To determine the degree of damage, dig around the plant’s bottom and uncover the roots.
  • Do not worry too much if the roots are white. The plant has only recently suffered from overwatering, and it will quickly recover if it receives enough light.
  • When the upper one to three inches of the soil has dried, begin routine watering.
  • Scrape the plant out to get rid of the damaged roots; however, if the roots are deep brown.
  • The Hibiscus should be planted in another dry area. Ensure it receives several hours of bright, mottled, or partial sunshine.
  • Avoid exposing the stressed plant to direct sunlight. As the plant heals, wait.
  • Before planting, amend the soil with some draining elements like sand, perlite, or gypsum to increase drainage.
  • Make sure there is no stress placed on the plant. Wait to fertilize. Hold off till the plant has healed.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Should You Remove the Hibiscus’ Dead Leaves?

Yes, you should remove the Hibiscus’ dead leaves. Your Hibiscus will remain healthy if you remove any leaves or limbs that are dead, sick, or damaged. In addition to being good for their health, pruning your Hibiscus helps it keep its attractiveness when it is in bloom.

2. How Can Overwatering Be Avoided by Using Correct Soil?

Overwatering can be avoided by investing in the correct, well-drained soil. Two parts peat, two portions soil, and one part perlite or vermiculite is a decent suggestion. Compost can also be used to improve nutrition and retention. Water the plant until one to two inches of soil are completely dry. 

If the plant rests in the shade primarily, move it to a sunny area to dry off after being watered. To enhance the water circulation and airflow, occasionally aerate the soil from around the plant bottom (not directly at the plant’s base).

When it’s raining, avoid watering your outdoor plants. Verify the size and location of the drainage holes in potted plants. If there is a tray underneath the pot, you should occasionally empty it. The pot must never be placed over a body of water. As soon as you see any overwatering symptoms, stop watering. It will stop the plant’s roots from rotting.

3. What Distinguishes Underwatering From Overwatering?

The differences between underwatering and overwatering include the soil being dry and leaves being shrivelled when underwatered. In overwatering, the soil is soggy and the leaves are thick and spongy. The signs of both are generally to be found in the leaves. 

The signs of underwatering include tainted leaves, shriveled leaves turning yellow and upward, hard and dry soil, and broken leaves. The signs of overwatering include brown or yellow leaves, soggy ground, spongy, thick leaves, an unpleasant odor coming from the soil, and brown pimples that are oedematous brought on by water retention.

Overwatered Hibiscus Final Thoughts


Considering Hibiscus enjoys a lot of water, it is relatively easy to overwater this plant at times. When they bloom or are outdoors in the summer, they require more water than in the spring.

  • In particular, during the rainy and cold months, you should exercise caution while managing your watering practices.
  • You should only water it if the plant is inside and it frequently rains. Reduce the frequency during the winter.
  • Before watering, constantly monitor the moisture level. It saves you a lot of money and avoids root rot and overwatering. If you’ve already overwatered your hibiscus plant, give it tender care to revive it.

Because hibiscus plants are so easy to maintain, many gardeners can sometimes go overboard with watering, causing harm to their plants. However, the good news is that you can take care of your plant without worrying about overwatering it with a little effort and some vigilance.

5/5 - (5 votes)