Overwatered Orchid – Signs and Step-by-Step Solution

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In this article, the readers will be acknowledged for how to know about the Overwatered Orchid, its Signs, and Step-by-Step solutions. Orchids, beautiful diversified flowering plants belong to the family Orchidaceae. The orchids are elegant-looking plants and if they are growing in your homes then you know how big attention seekers these plants are.

Quick takeways:

  • The plants grow well in the east to south facing window but this does not help as well if the water supply is much actually needed.
  • The plants need humid conditions and light sunlight but if the soil is soggy then the plant gets overwatered which leads to root rot and ultimately to the death of the plants.
  • All you need to maintain the growth of the plant by not overwater orchids.
  • Orchid plants are tall and gently curved stems are highly attractive with the blooms.
  • The plant can be overwatered easily and excess water highly spoils the health of the plant.

Let’s look at the signs and solutions of overwatered orchids.

Overwatered Orchid - Signs and Step-by-Step Solution

How to save overwatered orchid plants?

The orchid plants, if overwatered, can be saved if the roots are moderately damaged. The severely damaged roots cannot help anymore.

The roots of the orchid plants that appear squishy and too soft need to be removed. Repot the plant into a new clean pot and change the moldy soil, water the plant mildly and mindfully making sure that the soil is not standing in water.

Orchids overwatered or underwatered

It’s quite confusing while looking at the overwatered or underwatered orchids. Let’s make the difference clear: you need to look at the color of the roots. Safely take out the plant and wash the roots properly, if the roots appear brown colored, soft, and mushy then they are overwatered.

  • The underwatered orchid plant’s roots appear grayish in color and shriveled.
  • The overwatered orchid plant releases an unpleasant rusty smell or rotting smell.

What do overwatered orchid plants look like?

  • The orchid plants that are overwatered appear to be unhealthy.
  • The roots look affected.
  • The plant seems dull and dropping.
  • The soil around the plant appears wet and soggy.
  • The orchid plants are straight and upright plants with hard roots, which seems to be the opposite of the overwatered orchid plants. 

What do the leaves of an overwatered orchid look like?

  • The overwatered orchid plants will have leaves that are wrinkled and yellow leaves in color and look limp and leathery in some cases.
  • The leaves drop after turning yellow.
  • Pleated leaves are another indication that the plant is overwatered. 

What do the roots of an overwatered orchid look like? 

The orchid roots’ appearance becomes softer than the hard that they usually are. The plants when overwatered show roots that are pale colored and color seems to fade away, sometimes looking silverish in color.

The roots need to be examined properly as the aerial roots might be dry if the humidity is low. The submerged roots might be affected more due to water clogging.

Not just these roots appear mushy and brown is also a symptom of overwatered orchid plants. 

What do the stems of an overwatered orchid look like?

  • The stem of an orchid that is overwatered will turn yellow or brown in color, start to look softer, and not be able to grow well.
  • The stem shows discoloration which means the plant is dying. 

Signs of overwatered orchid plants 

  1. Root rot, drooping leaves, and the poor appearance of the orchid plants are the major signs that the overwatered orchid plants will show.
  2. The root will rot due to the wet soil staying wet for a long time.
  3. The roots turning to a black color and becoming too foamy is a sign that plants are highly damaged due to too much water around them.
  4. The roots surrounded by the water at the time make the roots suffocate and the roots fail to absorb the nutrients and water further making the leaves droop and spots on the leaves’ surface. 

How to save overwatered orchid plants? 

1. Check the roots 

The very first move is to uproot the plant from the pot or ground carefully without damaging the stems and the roots. The roots need to be checked if there is any root rot or spots on the roots. The roots need to be brushed properly or you can wash the roots in hydrogen peroxide to remove the potting soil.

Properly take a keen look at the roots. If the roots are wet but not showing signs of rot they dry the roots by putting them in the sun.

2. Cut off the rotted roots 

The roots that are rotted need to be removed with the pruning shears to make sure the tools are clean and sterilized. The roots need to be cut down they are looking mushy and brown in color. 

3. Remove the moldy soil and clean the pot

The old moldy soil should be removed as they are home to many infections. Soil that is well-draining and fertile should be used.

Clean the soil with the soap solution thoroughly. You can also choose a new pot that has good drainage holes and is well-sanitized. 

4. Use good potting mix 

As the orchid plants have removed roots and lost their energy in fighting the overwatering stress, the plant needs a quality potting mix with good drainage holes or ability and better aeration.

The bark in the potting mix is proven to be beneficial for the orchid plants. The potting soil should be moist but not wet. 

5. Repot the plant 

The orchid plant needs to be repotted, pouring the pot with the bark mix into the pot, adding moisture, and replanting the orchid in the pot.

Insert the roots into the soil after digging the large hole. Make sure the roots are well covered with the soil. Water the plant lightly and let the soil get dry before watering. 

When to water the orchid plants?

The orchid plants need water as the soil gets dry or the top two inches of water get dry. This depends on the season if the summer heat is harsh with the orchid plants, then water the plant two times a week.

Otherwise, on normal days it is recommended that the orchid should be watered one time every week. During winter the orchid plants need good humidity but less water.

Make sure that they get the humid condition if not you can use the humidifier to increase the humidity. 

Wrapping up the context

We hope you find this article useful in understanding when the orchid plants are overwatered or underwatered. The signs need to be examined well to eradicate that issue. The orchid plants are beautiful plants and nobody would like to get dropped and look lifeless. Follow the above solutions and do let us know what worked for you.

Happy planting! 


1. Can an orchid survive overwatering? 

The overwatering deteriorates the quality of the soil and suffocates the roots which don’t get any access to the air being surrounded by the water. This situation is dangerous for the orchid plants. The roots start to become squishy and soft, more prone to bacterial infections, and becoming weak.

Becky Decker

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