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How to Save Your Overwatered Orchid in 8 Steps?

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Orchids are beautiful houseplants and can brighten up any room. However, when they are overwatered they can quickly become sick and die. This article will take you through 8 steps in which to resolve a sickly orchid that has been overwatered, and how to identify it.

If you overwatered your Orchids, The leaves turn yellow and wilt. It is caused by rotting roots. Repot orchids in free-draining potting soil. Clay pots wick water better than plastic pots. Reduce watering to every 7 to 10 days.

If you are overwatering your orchid plants, then you could possibly be doing other things wrong when caring for your orchids. This article will take you through all the steps you need in which to prevent and cure an overwatered orchid. Read on for more.

Observing and Determining the State of your Overwatered Orchid

You may notice over time that your orchid isn’t quite looking its usual perky self. If you have been overwatering it you may see physical signs of this such as:

  • The gradual yellowing of the leaves
  • Wilting due to nutrient and water uptake
  • Leaves falling from the plant
  • Brown spots or legions appear of the center and edges of the leaves

If any of these signs are noticed you need to take action right away in order to save your beloved orchid. All is not lost just yet but the plant is telling you something is wrong. Chances are you are not aware at this stage that you were overwatering.

How To Establish If You Have Overwatered Your Orchid.

We now know our Orchids have an issue we need to follow the steps below to figure out what it can be, and if overwatering is the cause.

8 Steps to Save your Overwatered Orchid

Step 1. Remove Orchid From Its Pot

We cannot tell what is happening with your Orchid until we get the whole picture. It is important to see what is going on. Remove the orchid from the pot by cupping your hand arund the plant at the surface of the pot and turn it upside down.

If it is a plastic pot squeeze it to release the plant. If it is ceramic or clay simply bump the edge of the pot against the heel of your hand.

Step 2. Remove All Soil From The Rootball

We need to inspect the rootball of the orchid to establish if the roots have started to rot. Take a thin pencil or chopstick and gently work the soil from between the roots. Once most of the soil is removed dip the root system into a tepid bowl of water to rinse off any remaining soil.

This will give us the opportunity to check the roots, They should be creamy white in colour. Brown, scabby or spongy roots are a sign of rot and this will be the cause of the plants sickness. The very fact that you see rot will tell us the plant has been overwatered.

Step 3. Prune off the Rotten Roots of the Orchid

Prune off the portion of the root that is decaying using a sharp knife or secutures. Ensure these have been steralized with Isopropanol Alcohol to ensure that disease and bacteria are not introduced to the root system we are trying to save.

Ensure to remove all discoloured or soft material to ensure the rot does not continue to develop after repotting. Apply a liquid hormone for rooting afterward to facilitate new root growth development.

If you don’t know what pruning shears to use, we have an article about 9 best pruning shears on the market.

Step 4. Steralize Or Change The Pot

Orchid pots are usually a clear plastic design and come with a drip tray. As they prefer to be on the drier side shallow pots can be used. It is much better to use a clay pot for orchids as clay is porus and can help to pull moisture away from the root system.

If you are reusing the old pot, it is important to steralize this before you use it. Molds and bacteria could have formed in the pot due to the soil being constantly wet.

The Orchid is Mother Nature’s Masterpiece.


Step 5. Prepare a New Substrate for your Orchid

This is one of the main things that can prevent you overwatering your Orchids. They prefer very free-draining soil. When I say soil a special mix is required for orchids to allow for good drainage and air circulation.

You can buy premade orchid compost or make your own, If you choose the latter then here is a recipe that I use all the itme for my orchids.

  • 3 Parts Coco Coir
  • 2 Parts Perlite
  • 2 Parts Orchid Bark Chips Course
  • 1 Part Orchid Bark Chips Fine
  • 1 Part Fir bark
  • 1 Part Chacoal

Mix the ingredients, this will seem very course but the coir will hold enough water and everything else will allow it to drain. Its extremely good for nursing back orchids to health.

Step 6. Repotting the Orchid Plant

Add a small amount of the mix to the bottom of your pot and place the orchids root system into the pot. Gently backfill the pot to the top gently tapping the pot on the table to settle the soil around the root system. You may need to use the chopstick to gently work the soil around the root system to avoid airpockets.

Step 7. Irrigate the Orchid Appropriately

Place the Potted orchid into the sink or a bowl and water it thouroughly. I know, I know it was to wet before, but we need to ensure that the soil does not wick the moisture from the root system as it can cause more problems.

Leave the potted orchid on the drainer of the sink to drain any excess water. Once this has stopped you can place it back onto its saucer and back into its normal location. Ensure you do not place in direct light until the orchid has reocvered.

Step 8. Control Watering of Your Orchid

Watering your orchid from this point should be carefully monitored. Usually between 7 and 10 days is ideal but if there is moisture in the pot from previous waterings then wait until it has dried out.

If in doubt allow some extra time between waterings. In summer it will require more water than in winter but this will depending on how warm the house is and so forth. Remember this golden rule ensure the soil has dried out before watering again.

Watch your plant, the leaves will tell you if it requires watering. And when it does, place in a bowl of water to soak for a few minutes then leave to drain as normal.

A systematic watering approach will enable the orchid to develop new roots and replace the pruned ones.

Symptoms Of An Overwatered Orchid

Limp Leaves and Mushy Roots

An overwatered orchid will tend to have spots on its leaves together with darkening and yellowing blotches. Moreover, if gardeners spot very mushy and dark-looking roots on their orchids, it is highly likey that it has been overwatered.

Root rot is caused by this overwatering and it prevents the orchids from absorbing water and nutrients required to remain healthy.

Decaying Leaves of the Orchid

If leaves have yellowed and start to die, You should remove them by pulling them off. A simple tug should detach them without harming the plant. However, if this does not come off in your hand easiy then wait until the plant is not flowering before removing them unless they are rotting

General Health Decline of your Orchid

Overwatering orchids is one of the main issues that people suffer with this houseplant. Avoid it by only watering when it is dry, Usually 7-10 days and ensure it is in a free-draining potting soil

FAQ’s About Orchids


So as you see, if your orchids are suffering and you spot the signs, you can follow the 8 easy steps laid out in this article in order to save your plants. Adjust how you water and alll should be good.

I hope this article has answered that question for you. If you found value in this article then consider subscribing below or entering a subject in the search bar above for another article.