Overwatering is one of the most typical problems that can kill any plant. Overwatering leads to root rot, and the money tree is extremely vulnerable to root rot. If you keep overwatering the money tree, its roots will stop functioning and make the plant weak.
It can be challenging to revive the plant if you don’t take action on time. So, in this article, we shall learn what to do if you have overwatered your money tree.
If you have an overwatered money tree, you should stop watering the plant and allow it to recover. Prune the damaged roots and use a new pot with adequate drainage and fresh well-draining soil mix to repot the money tree. Move the plant to a bright spot and only water when the soil gets dry.
It is not easy to understand that your plant is suffering from root rot during the initial stages. But if you can notice the signs early on, you will be able to take action that can save your money tree before it’s too late.
Let’s understand how overwatering affects the money tree and what you can do to fix that.
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Overwatering a money tree
Many houseplant owners think that watering their plants frequently will result in better growth. However, that is not the case. Watering the plants frequently often leads to overwatering that in turn causes root rot.
Since the money trees are tropical plants, it is possible to think that they require a lot of water. But if you try to understand the water requirements of your money tree, you will soon figure out that these plants enjoy infrequent and thorough watering.
There can be other reasons that contribute to overwatering. For example, if you are using a pot that is too large or doesn’t have a sound drainage system, it can be a reason behind an overwatered money tree. Also, if the soil is heavy and not well-draining, it can lead to an overwatered money tree.
If you think that you have been watering the money tree appropriately and still the plant is showing signs of overwatering, you need to check the pot, the drainage holes, and the soil to understand if any of these if the problem.
What does an overwatered money tree look like?
If you are lucky, you can notice the early signs of overwatering in your money tree. For example, you will see yellow or dropping leaves on the plant that will eventually fall off.
Since it might be challenging to identify the issue with overwatering in the initial stage, you might notice signs such as stunted growth, soft brown spots on the leaves and stem. These signs occur when your money tree already has root rot.
You might get a foul smell from the soil, and you may also spot fungal or bacterial growth on the soil’s surface.
Since overwatering and root rot make your money tree completely weak, the plant becomes vulnerable to pests and fungal diseases. All these causes can ultimately kill your money tree.
How to differentiate between an underwatered and overwatered money tree?
It can be difficult for many indoor plant lovers to understand whether their plant is overwatered or underwatered. So let’s find out how you can identify the differences.
If you check the plant’s stem near the soil and notice that it has become brown and mushy, you need to understand that your plant is overwatered. However, you will see that the base of the plant is dry if you have underwatered it.
In the case of an overwatered money tree, you will notice that the leaves start wilting. In contrast, an underwatered money tree has curled or wrinkled leaves.
If your money tree is losing the lower leaves, it indicates that you have an underwatered plant that requires water. Ine overwatering, the plant will lose leaves from all parts.
Overwatering and underwatering both have a common sign which is brown spots. Dry brown spots indicate underwatering, and spots that have a yellow tinge to them indicate overwatering.
The simplest difference that you will spot is that the leaves will turn moist in an overwatered plant, or the yellow and brown spots will be soft. But the underwatered plant will have dry and crisp leaves.
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Signs of overwatering money tree
Let’s check out the signs that will tell if you have overwatered your money tree.
Overwatering might not be a problem initially, but as you keep doing it over and over, the roots start getting suffocated and lose the ability to function correctly.
Since the roots cannot absorb nutrients and moisture from the soil, it results in discoloration or yellowing of the leaves.
In an overwatered money tree, the lower leaves will turn yellow, and then it will spread all over the plant.
Drooping leaves are typical for both overwatering and underwatering. In the case of underwatering, watering the plant thoroughly is what will help the plant to recover.
If droopy leaves are caused by overwatering, it means your money tree has remained in the water for too long. Therefore, the roots have stopped functioning, and the plant has not received its usual dose of moisture and nutrition.
Droopy leaves are also accompanied by yellowing or browning of leaves.
Brown spots on the leaves
Brown spots on the money tree leaves are a common sign of overwatering. Initially, you will notice small spots that will eventually grow and can cover the whole leaf.
There may be yellow outlines around the brown spots. These are not only signs of overwatering but also root rot. Even some fungal diseases can cause these brown spots.
Therefore, whenever you notice brown spots or brown leaves on your money tree, you should prune them with a pair of sterilized scissors.
Brown tips and edges on the leaves
The money tree appreciates thorough watering, but the plant will sit on the water for a long time if you continue doing it frequently.
Due to exposure to excess water, the plant will develop brown tips and edges on the leaves.
Leaves falling off the plant
You may notice the yellowing or browning of leaves in an overwatered money tree. All these leaves will eventually fall off.
Whenever you overwater a money tree, the leaves fall from all parts of the plant, affecting both old and new leaves.
Mold is a white substance that you notice on the soil. It is not something that you should worry about if it is found in the soil mix.
However, in an overwatered money tree, you will see more mold growth as the soil remains moist for too long. A damp and wet environment is ideal for the development of mold.
A moist environment will also bring other fungal diseases and pests, which can be very dangerous for your plant.
Soft and mushy leaves
An overwatered money tree will start shriveling because of too much water. In such conditions, the plant can have severe tissue damage that will affect the leaves.
Therefore, you will notice that the leaves and sometimes the stem will feel mushy to touch. You will also find that the plant has become weak.
Root rot is when the leaves are damaged due to staying in the water for too long. As a result, they absorb too much water and become suffocating.
Since root rot is the primary cause of wilting of money trees whenever you overwater them. So, we will discuss root rot in detail.
If you overwater your money tree for a long period, the plant will sit in the water for a long, and the money tree does not enjoy that at all. Due to this, the roots will not function well as they will become unhealthy due to exposure to excess water.
When the roots stop functioning, it will be difficult for them to absorb water or nutrients and send them to all the plant parts. As a result, the plant becomes weak. In addition, the roots change the texture and become brown and mushy, and this condition is called root rot.
Signs of root rot
Root rot can have some visible as well as invisible signs. Let’s find out what they are.
- Soft stems
- Discolored leaves
- Yellow or brown leaves
- Wrinkled leaves
- Mold on the soil
- Foul smell coming from the soil
- Mushy and stinky roots
- The color of the roots turns brown, grey, or black.
How to save the money tree from root rot?
Let’s look at the steps that will help you save your money tree from root rot.
First, you need to stop watering your plant. Since you have already over water the plant, giving it more water will only worsen the condition. Therefore, you should stop watering till the plant and the soil dries out. Don’t forget to place the plant in a bright area to fasten and the process.
Next, you will notice discolored and damaged leaves on the money tree since it has been suffering from root rot and overwatering. Since the damaged leaves will not become healthy again, it would be best to get rid of them by pruning them with a pair of sterilized pruners.
You need to take the money tree out of its pot to eliminate the damaged roots. If the plant doesn’t come out of the pot easily, you can use a knife and run it along the edges inside the pot to loosen the grip. Once the plant is out of the pot, you can trim the damaged roots.
Other than the damaged roots and leaves, it is best to eliminate the soft stems. However, you cannot do this if the main trunk has become soft or if all the trunks are soft. In that case, you will need to propagate the plant using the healthy part that is remaining.
If there is severe root rot in your money tree, you might need to get rid of most of its leaves. And you will need to repot the money tree.
To repot the money tree, you will need a new pot or wash the old pot with bleach to ensure that it does not contain any bacteria or fungus. Ensure that the new pot has proper drainage holes and if you are using the old container, ensure that the drainage holes are not blocked.
It is best to get fresh soil mix for your money tree as the old soil might be infected with the fungus caused due to root rot. You need to get well-draining soil for your money tree that supports ground drainage.
Take the pot and add some small stones to the bottom of it. It will prevent the blockage of the drainage holes. After that, put the soil in the pot. Place your money tree in the middle and add more soil to help it settle down.
Once you have successfully reported the money tree, consider placing it in a bright area and avoid fertilizing for few months till your plant recovers fully.
Sometimes the overwatering can be extremely severe, and there might be no way of reviving your money tree. In that case, you should propagate the money tree.
If your money tree has healthy stems, take a cutting that is around 6 inches long and has many leaf nodes. Place one-third of the cutting inside the soil in a container.
Water the cutting and cover it with a plastic bag. Once you notice routes coming out, allow the roots to grow a bit more and then transplant it in a large pot with fresh soil.
How to avoid overwatering the money tree?
If you want to avoid overwatering your money tree, keep the following points in mind.
- Avoid watering until the top layers of the soil have dried out.
- Check if the drainage holes are working correctly and lifting the excess water drain out from the pot.
- Use a well draining soil mix.
- Use a moisture meter to determine the moisture level of the soil.
- Give the money tree more water during the growing season and cut back on the watering during the fall and winter seasons.
- Consider other external factors. For example, if your money tree is placed in a bright environment, give it more water. In a low-light area, the money tree will require less water.