An overwatered prayer plant is identified by yellow leaves, drooping, brown leaves, wilting, and stunted growth. Most of the aforementioned overwatering effects are results of root rot.
The more rotten the roots are, the less they are able to absorb adequate oxygen, water, and nutrients, which ultimately affects the well-being of the prayer plant.
Having detected overwatering signs from either the plant or the soil, make use of this overwatered prayer plant care guide to reverse the situation.
JUMP TO TOPIC
- What are the Causes of Prayer Plant Overwatering?
- How Can I Bring My Prayer Plants Back To Life?
What are the Causes of Prayer Plant Overwatering?
The causes of player plant overwatering are poor pot drainage, and environmental condition switches. Prayer plants are native to the South American tropics that are characterized by heavy rain. However, the prayer plants are not left sitting in soggy situations due to the fact that their native habitat has quick drainage.
– Excessive Irrigation
During spring and summer, we recommend watering prayer plants once in one or two weeks. Anything above this watering frequency leads to the extended sogginess of the soil.
Remember that you may have imitated the conditions of the tropical rainforest in your place, but this works quite differently with indoor-grown potted plants. Indoors, drainage is limited by the walls of the container so more time should be given to the soil for it to lose excess moisture.
A potting soil that is constantly saturated with water does not give way to oxygen circulation. As a result, the roots drown and begin to rot. Also, constant deep irrigation reduces nutrient concentrations in the soil. As the water runs through the soil, it takes with it some nutrients.
The roots will be left sitting in malnourished soil, a situation that exposes the prayer plant to serious issues of nutrient deficiency. Before irrigating, first, make sure that the potting soil dries out halfway down the pot. This opens up the airways that allow oxygenated air to reach the root area. Also, enough air circulation discourages in the potting soil, thereby curbing root rot.
– Heavy Soils
Heavy soils are slow-draining so they hold onto water for long periods. Prayer plants enjoy growing in moist soil, but this condition is not easy to attain when grown on heavy soil. Soils that have high clay composition are easily compact once you apply water to them.
If the soil gets compacted, there will be limited water drainage, and this leaves the sensitive prayer plant roots stranded.If you grow prayer plants in easily compacting soils, their development and appearance will be compromised.
When water is held within the soil for a long time, it closes all air spaces that lead to the roots. This starves the roots of air, even more, leading to the plant’s early collapse. An oxygen-starved prayer plant’s foliage will start turning yellow and eventually fall off.
Please, keep in mind that the main factors that you should consider when adjusting the irrigation schedule for your plants are watering intensity, soil type, and container drainage facilities. If one of them is not working well, unnecessary water saturation takes place.
Even if you water the soil when it is halfway dry, heavy soils take longer than necessary to lose excess moisture, especially when grown indoors. In this case, you will be over-exposing your prayer plants to rot-supporting situations.
– Poor Pot Drainage
When you apply water to the growing medium, it should go through the soil and out of the container. However, if the container does not support quick drainage, water cannot escape through the pot. You will, therefore, find the prayer plant’s roots staying in water-logged conditions much longer.
The roots will start absorbing as much water as they can until the entire foliage is saturated. This builds pressure within the plant cells, and they eventually burst and die forming blister-like structures on the prayer plant leaves. These blisters will also erupt and form white, brown, or tan wart-like growths on the leaf surfaces.
You should conduct inspections on the pots regularly to check if they are still draining well. Soon after potting your plants, drainage is usually excellent, but it changes as time passes.
The potting soil tends to become more compacted after some time, and this adversely affects the pot’s drainage efficiency. If the drainage holes are closed with compacted soil, you should poke them open using a chopstick or something similar.
– Environmental Condition Switches
Temperatures, sunlight, and humidity intensity have a significant effect on the prayer plant’s water requirements. If you procrastinate in adjusting the irrigation schedule as the seasons change, the risk of overwatering becomes increasingly imminent. In hot seasons like spring and summer, evaporation and transpiration are at their peak.
This encourages the plants and soil mix to lose water much more quickly, a situation that ultimately calls for frequent irrigation.
Considering that during spring and summer, prayer plants develop actively, more water is needed to support them. However, this is not the case when winter approaches as this plant goes dormant.
In cold temperatures, prayer plants stunt their development, thereby consequently reducing the need for much watering. If you do not consider the changes in the weather before irrigating, you end up overwatering the plants.
Humidity changes should equally be monitored as they also affect water loss. For example, if you were growing prayer-plants in low-humidity places and you move them to high moisture-saturated spots, we recommend that you cut back on watering.
The presence of high moisture in the immediate environment limits transpiration and evaporation from plants and the potting soil, respectively. If the potting soil and pot are draining well yet you still notice the prayer plant’s leaves turning yellow, consider adjusting the watering frequency to match the current environmental conditions
How Can I Bring My Prayer Plants Back To Life?
You can bring your prayer plant back to life by having proper soil, irrigation, and drainage. Considering the fact that there are different levels of damage that your plant can show in response to overwatering, proper measures should be taken to avoid worsening the situation.
If your prayer plant’s roots are not yet damaged, its chances of bouncing back are very high. However, if rot has already set in, you will have to be more patient as it will take much longer to see signs of change.
Therefore, once you notice your prayer plant dying, quickly take action before the situation goes out of control. Please take note, carrying out the prayer plant revival steps during its active growing period is more likely to give you more satisfactory results.
– Overwatering Evaluation
You cannot deal with a problem without establishing the degree of damage, as well as its possible causes. Closely check both the soil and plant and assess if the symptoms are still mild.
If the plant has not yet reached the extent of wilting, then the roots are still fine. If wilting is part of the symptoms, then some serious work needs to be done.Check the soil and container to see if they are still well-draining. Also, take this chance to inspect the foliage for pests and fungal infections.
Bear in mind that continuously damp potting media encourages fungal and pest infestations that haunt your prayer plants.You should be on the lookout for pests like spider mites, scales, and mealybugs that may finish off the ailing prayer plant.
Additionally, overwatered plants become vulnerable to the mosaic virus that can live in the potting soil for more than a year. Please, make sure that you move the overwatered plant into isolation, immediately after you notice signs of pest or disease inversion within the soil or foliage.
– Lower the Watering Frequency
Lightly affected prayer plants can heal independently just by reducing the irrigation frequency. You should cease irrigating the overwatered prayer plant for a few more days, allowing it to use up or lose the excess water that is already in its system.
As the potting soil dries up, its particles separate, and this consequently improves airflow. The increased access to oxygenated air by the roots will ultimately improve their efficiency.
Place the overwatered plant in a shady place to protect the remaining healthy foliage from burns. Also, new growth will not do well when exposed to direct sunlight as it can be easily scorched. Do not water the plants until they start to show signs of thirst. This way, you will be sure that the prayer plant indeed needs water.
Be sure to use the aid of a moisture meter to determine whether to water the soil or not. You can get a moisture meter from nearby garden stores. Insert the moisture meter into the soil, making sure it reaches the root area and it will show you the available moisture level.
Using the finger test is also effective in moisture testing although it is not as accurate as moisture meters.
– Remove the Overwatered Prayer Plant From its Container
If the overwatered prayer plant does not positively respond to reduced water replenishment alone, consider inspecting the roots. Also, if the plant is wilting regardless of adequate moisture availability, it could be a sign that the roots might be damaged.
If only a few roots are still healthy, water, nutrient, and oxygen absorption decline, thereby causing the foliage to wilt, discolor, and eventually die.If the plant is tightly attached to the soil and pot, start by loosening the soil with the aid of any available suitable utensil.
Forcing the plant out of the pot can damage the already weakened roots. Once you have removed the overwatered plant from its pot, you should use distilled water to wash off all the dirt from the roots.
Give the plant ample time to lose excess moisture before taking further action.
– Remove the Rotten Roots
Once the roots are clean, check for any mushy and brown ones. Such roots are the overwatering-affected ones and should be removed immediately. Make sure that you disinfect the tools that you intend to use for trimming.
Neatly cut off the brown and mushy roots from your prayer plant and safely dispose of them. You should also downsize the foliage of the overwatered plant so that it does not burden the few remaining roots.
Remember, your main motive here is to give the overwatered plant a new start so remove all discolored, damaged, and fungi-infested prayer plant leaves before replanting.
Also, apply some fungicides to the remaining healthy roots to eliminate all pathogens before planting the prayer plant in new potting soil.
– Repot the Prayer Plant
Prayer plants are not too selective on the type of potting soil. However, the soil should be able to stay moist for longer periods. You should also note that high sand-composed potting soil dries out quickly, leaving the roots sitting in dry conditions most of the time.
You would not want to see your prayer plants struggling in waterlogged situations again so the potting soil should not be too dense. If the soil retains too much water, rotting may result.
So, you need to prepare a potting mix that neither dries out quickly nor stays wet for a long time. To make this potting mix, you should combine two parts peat moss or coconut coir, one part potting soil, and one part sand or perlite.
Also, get a container that has enough holes to let excess water out. Fill the container with the potting mix, create a hole in the middle, and place the plant, making sure that it stands firmly upright.
Now, cover the root area with soil, ensuring that all the leaves stay above the soil level. Irrigate the soil until you see it dripping out from the pot’s drainage holes.
– Place the Recovering Plant in its Ideal Conditions for Growth
Start by giving your plant a bit of bright, indirect sunlight. If you rush to expose it to high levels of light, it gets bleached, and this will consequently slow down its revival.
Transition the plant to a window where it receives bright, indirect light all day long only when it starts to produce new leaves. The appearance of new growth is a sign that root development is also taking place.
Ensure that humidity levels around your plants are around 50 percent or even higher. Generally, prayer plants are humidity lovers so you can supplement the moisture by placing the container on a pebble tray. Make sure you maintain temperatures between 65 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Please, avoid sudden temperature changes around the recovering plant to avoid shocking it.After a few weeks of proper overwatered prayer plant care, you should see the leaves turning back to their original vibrant color.
Once you see the prayer plant dying, overwatering is one of the most common suspects.
Take note of the main highlights of this article as stated below.
- An overwatered prayer plant is characterized by yellow, drooping, or brown leaves, as well as wilting and stunted growth.
- The main culprits that lead to overwatering are heavy soils, excessive irrigation, poor pot drainage, and switches in environmental conditions.
- Before doing anything to save your ailing plant, start by evaluating the situation so that you will not administer the wrong interventions, which might worsen the situation.
- If the plant is already in the wilting stages, remove the prayer plant from its pot and cut off all brown or mushy roots.
Overwatering is one of the worrisome prayer plant problems. However, now that you are equipped with relevant information through this guide, you cannot watch your beloved prayer plant die.
- Kristin Getter. (September 02, 2020). You Might be Surprised which Houseplants Survived 10 weeks without Watering. Michigan State University.
Retrieved from https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/you-might-be-surprised-which-houseplants-survived-10-weeks-without-watering
- Ashish. (19 Feb 2017). Why Does Over-Watering Kill Plants?. ScienceABC.
Retrieved from https://www.scienceabc.com/nature/why-does-over-watering-kill-plants.html
- Esther McGinnis. (July 20, 2021). Dakota Gardener: The Art and Science of Watering Your Plants. NDSU.
Retrieved from https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/news/columns/dakota-gardener/dakota-gardener-the-art-and-science-of-watering-your-plants