Overwatering is a common problem that can be deadly for your houseplants. It leads to root rot that damages the roots, making the plant weak and vulnerable to other problems. Overwatering your peperomia for an extended period can ultimately kill the plant if you fail to identify the signs and don’t do anything about it.
Saving the peperomia from overwatering can be challenging. So, in this article, we shall learn how to save an overwatered peperomia.
To save an overwatered peperomia, you must first stop watering the plant and give it time to recover. Prune the damaged roots and repot the plant in a new pot with adequate drainage using a light soil mix. Keep your peperomia in a bright spot and avoid watering if the soil is still wet.
Some signs of an overwatered peperomia are droopy and discolored leaves, soggy and moldy soil, and mushy brown roots.
Overwatering becomes a problem when you don’t realize that you are overwatering the plant. Identifying the signs during an early stage can help you save your peperomia from overwatering and root rot.
Let’s understand the effects of overwatering on your peperomia and the ways with which you can fix the plant.
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How to differentiate between an overwatered and underwatered peperomia?
Overwatering is a more common problem. People often end up overwatering their plants out of too much care. But that doesn’t mean plants don’t get underwatered.
If you take a long vacation or get busy with something and forget to water your peperomia even when it needs a drink, it will get underwatered and dehydrated.
People often get confused and wonder if their peperomia is underwatered or overwatered, as some signs are common for both these problems.
These common signs include wilting of leaves, droopy foliage, and falling of leaves.
However, some significant differences will help you identify the differences between overwatering and underwatering.
Check out this table that will help you understand the differences between an overwatered and underwatered peperomia.
|Overwatered peperomia||Underwatered peperomia|
|Soggy soil||Dry and cracked soil|
|Leaves will fall from all parts||Lower leaves will fall|
|Brown spots with a yellow tinge||Dry brown spots|
|Moist and soft leaves||Dry and crisp leaves|
Also read: Overwatering Vs Underwatering Plants: Signs, Fix & More
Overwatering a peperomia
Although peperomia is a tropical plant, it might not require as much water as other tropical plants.
If you don’t do your research well and water your peperomia like your other tropical houseplants, you might end up overwatering it.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand the watering requirements of the peperomia plant before you start watering it.
You can water your peperomia once every one to two weeks depending on the light, temperature, and humidity, and most importantly, after checking the soil.
Peperomia prefers slightly moist soil, but if you keep watering it without checking the moistness of the soil, you will have an overwatered peperomia that will scream for help.
But how would you know if you have overwatered your peperomia? Let’s check that out.
Also read: How Often To Water Peperomia? (Peperomia Water Requirements)
Signs of an overwatered peperomia
If you have overwatered your peperomia, your plant will show you many signs to let you know there is a problem and that you must do something about it.
Let’s take a look at all the signs that will help you identify an overwatered peperomia.
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Yellow leaves can indicate a whole lot of problems, including overwatering.
When you overwater your peperomia, the soil remains wet most of the time and doesn’t get a chance to dry out properly. This suffocates the roots as the soil blocks the oxygen flow into the roots.
The roots will start to rot in the absence of oxygen, and the plant will become unhealthy.
All these will lead to the leaves getting discolored and turning yellow.
Also Read: Why Is My Peperomia Turning Yellow? (Causes+How To Fix)
Overwatering makes the soil soggy. Peperomia doesn’t prefer soggy soil, but if kept in such conditions for long, the leaves will start curling.
The curling of leaves is also a sign of root rot. So, you must check the roots whenever you notice that the leaves have started curling.
Leaves curl mainly due to the stress caused because of overwatering.
Also Read: Why Is My Peperomia Leaves Curling? (Causes+How To Fix)
Droopy leaves are another common sign of overwatering; however, it doesn’t mean that your peperomia has root rot. This gives you time to save the plant from overwatering.
You might not need to take any severe action and just stop watering the plant and allow the soil to get dry.
After this, you can maintain a watering routine where you water the peperomia only after making sure that the soil is not wet.
Also Read: Why Is My Peperomia Drooping? (Causes+How To Fix)
Brown spots on leaves
Brown spots on leaves are signs of overwatering. It indicates that your peperomia has a disease.
Overwatered plants often develop a disease called edema, where the roots absorb more water than required. The water gets stored in the leaves and eventually burst and creates brown spots on the leaves.
Another disease called ringspot disease can cause brown spots on leaves. This disease is found in peperomia when they are overwatered.
You must prune leaves that have brown spots as these will not get back to health.
Also Read: Why Is My Peperomia Turning Brown? (Possible Problems+Solution)
If the stems appear soft and mushy, you must understand that you have an overwatered peperomia.
A healthy plant always has a solid and firm stem.
Mushy stems are a sign of fungal infections. This indicates root rot. We will read how to treat root rot later in this article to help you save your peperomia.
But it is best to get rid of mushy stems if possible.
Mold is a fungal disease that flourishes in moist soil. When you overwater your peperomia, the soil remains soggy, and mold starts growing in that soil. You will notice white dots appearing on the soil.
You can get rid of the mold by scraping the top layer of the soil. You can also use a light fungicide and spray it on the soil.
However, if the mold has gone deep into the soil, it would be best to repot the plant in a fresh soil mix.
Other than the soil remaining wet most of the time, you will start getting a foul smell from it.
The foul smell is caused due to bacteria and fungus. When the roots start to rot beneath the soil, the soil starts developing this foul odor, and if you come close to the peperomia, you’ll get to smell it.
This is an easy way of identifying an overwatered peperomia that needs to be saved from overwatering and root rot.
How to fix an overwatered peperomia?
You can find overwatering in different stages in your peperomia. It is easier to treat your peperomia during the initial stages of overwatering.
But when the plant reaches the later stages, you will need to repot it to save it.
Let’s find out how you can fix your overwatered peperomia.
In case of mild overwatering, follow these steps to fix it.
- Get the standing water out of the pot by tilting it.
- Avoid watering and allow the soil to get dry. Place the pot in a bright area that gets bright indirect light.
- The light must not be too intense or bright as that can cause more stress to your peperomia.
- Empty the cache tray placed at the bottom of the pot.
- Do not fertilize until the plant recovers and becomes healthy again.
- Don’t forget to keep your peperomia in a spot that has good air circulation.
- Increase the temperature around the plant by placing it a few feet away from the furnace or fireplace. This will allow the excess moisture to evaporate.
- Try to maintain low humidity as excess humidity will not allow the water to dry out fast.
If you notice hints of overwatering in your peperomia, such as yellow leaves or brown tips, you need to give some extra effort to fix your peperomia.
- You must trim the foliage that is turning yellow or brown. Pruning can also reduce the stress of your peperomia plant.
- Avoid fertilizing your peperomia till you notice new growth. We don’t want to stress out an already stressed plant, so we will avoid everything that can cause stress.
- You can take the plant out of its pot and spread the soil and roots on paper to let it dry.
- Or, poke the soil with a stick to make some holes that let air pass between the soil to help it get dry. You must be careful while doing this if you do not want to damage the roots.
- Do not squeeze the roots as it will damage the roots.
- You can reduce the humidity by using a dehumidifier.
- Use a fan to increase the airflow even more than average to let the water dry fast.
Root rot is the advanced stage of overwatering where the roots get damaged due to excess absorption of water that blocks oxygen flow.
Root rot is bound to happen if you fail to treat the peperomia early. You couldn’t identify the signs of overwatering and kept overwatering the plant.
If you overwater your peperomia over a long period, the plant will sit in the water that will suffocate the roots. The roots will fail to function well and become unhealthy due to staying in the water for a prolonged period.
If the roots of your peperomia stop functioning, the plant will not get a sufficient flow of water and nutrients. As a result, the plant will become weak and vulnerable to pest infestation and fungal diseases.
In such conditions, the roots will change their color and texture and become brown and mushy. This is what we call root rot.
Signs of root rot
Root rot has some typical signs of overwatering. Let’s check them out.
- Mushy stems
- Yellow leaves
- Brown spots or brown leaves
- Foul odor coming from the soil
- Wrinkled leaves
- Mold on the soil
- Mushy and smelly roots
- Roots turn brown, grey, or black.
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How to save peperomia from root rot?
To save your philodendron from severe root rot, you need to:
Your peperomia is already overwatered with suffocated roots and root rot. It doesn’t require more water, so you must stop watering it immediately.
You must keep your peperomia in a spot that has medium to bright light that will allow the soil to get dry.
Prune the damaged parts
You will notice discolored leaves or soft stems on your peperomia, and you must get rid of these parts by pruning them.
Not pruning the affected parts will encourage the spread of the disease.
You must also eliminate the roots that have started rotting. Take your peperomia out of its pot and wash the roots well to get rid of the soil. Prune all the roots that look brown and mushy.
Get a new pot and fresh soil mix
You must get a new pot for repotting your peperomia. The pot should have proper drainage holes, or you can make some on the pot yourself.
Prepare a fresh soil mix. The soil should be rich and well-draining. Do not use the old soil as it can infect the plant again and not let it recover. You can add perlite or pumice to the potting mix to make it well-draining.
Repot the peperomia
Now take the new pot and fill one-third of it with the fresh potting soil.
Hold the peperomia plant upright and place it inside the pot. Fill the rest of the pot by adding soil around the plant. Make sure to fill all the gaps so that there are no air pockets.
Water the peperomia to help it settle in properly. You can use neem oil to prevent pest infestation or fungal attacks.
Place your peperomia in a bright spot, where it gets medium to bright indirect sunlight.
Do not expose the plant to direct sunlight, as it will cause sunburn. Do not fertilize the peperomia until it recovers totally.
Propagation might be the only way of giving your peperomia a chance if the root rot has taken over the plant and there is no way to revive it.
You can propagate your peperomia from leaf, stem, or even tip cuttings. And you can propagate it in both soil and water.
You must choose a healthy cutting for propagation and put it in the medium you want to grow it in.
You can use a tiny pot and a proper soil mix or a jar of water. Keep it in bright and indirect light and change the water if it gets dirty.
It can take 3-4 weeks for the roots to develop. Be patient, and once the roots have grown long enough, you can plant them in a bigger pot.
How to avoid overwatering the philodendron?
To avoid overwatering your peperomia, you must follow these.
- Water your peperomia when the top two inches of the soil is dry.
- Make sure that the drainage holes of the pot are not blocked and are working well.
- Use a well-draining and rich soil mix for your peperomia that allows proper drainage.
- Reduce the watering during the fall and winter months.
- Water your peperomia based on the temperature, humidity, and lighting conditions of your area.
Also read: How Long Can House Plants Go Without Water? (With 25 Examples)
Ref: University of Florida, Sage Journal, University of Vermont, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station
Rutgers, The University of Arkansas, Britannica, Wikipedia, Peperomia Diseases, NC State University.
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