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How to Treat Over-Watered Cannabis Plants (Easy Guide)

Last updated: January 18, 2022

Treat Over-Watered Cannabis

You visit your beautiful plants and carefully tend them each day. You water them, provide nutrients, inspect them for pests and undesirables, and give them all the attention they deserve. But suddenly, it seems like their growth has halted and they’ve been the same size for too many days. Or maybe your plants have suddenly started to curl up, their leaves drooping down and pulling in.

Cannabis plants will display symptoms when something is bothering them, but it’s up to you to diagnose those symptoms and get to the root cause. One of the more common problems that could be ailing your cannabis plants is getting too much water. In this article, we’re going to discuss how to determine if your pot plants are over-watered and what drawbacks that may cause. Then, we’re going to go over a few ways to treat those over-watered plants and get them back to full health quickly.

Why is Over-Watering Your Cannabis a Problem?

Although cannabis plants aren’t too difficult to grow in general, it requires skill and know-how to grow them very well. There are so many factors to consider, and everything from the PH of your water to the nutrients you feed them will have a major effect on the final harvest.

Cannabis plants absorb oxygen through their roots. They also take in nutrients and water from their roots. This is why it’s so important to provide your plants with the proper amount of water. Too much water and they won’t be able to breathe in any oxygen. Too little water and they’ll dry up and start to wilt. Unfortunately, the symptoms for over-watering and under-watering are pretty similar and you may have a hard time determining which issue your plants are experiencing.

When the roots are constantly swamped in water and can’t get any oxygen, the plant won’t be able to continue growing. Growth will slow to a halt with overwatered cannabis. But worse, if the conditions persist, then the plant may actually die without enough oxygen. We all need oxygen to breathe and your precious pot plants are no exception.

4 Signs That You Have Overwatered Cannabis

Now that we’ve established how detrimental over-watering can be to your cannabis garden, let’s talk about the symptoms. Many of the signs of over-watering are the same as the symptoms your plants might display when they’re not getting enough water. This can make things a bit confusing, but there are ways to figure out which issue is of concern.

1. Drooping/Curling Leaves that Look Wilted

When the roots of your cannabis plants are inundated with water, they will absorb more of it than they can comfortably hold. This results in the leaves becoming heavy with water. When this happens, they’ll begin to droop and curl up. Not just one or two leaves mind you, but the entire plant. When you see the entire plant beginning to curl in on itself, you can bet that it’s been taking in too much water.

2. Growth rate slows down

When conditions are right and your plants are happy, they seem to exhibit noticeable growth each day. But if you’ve noticed that for several consecutive days your plants seem to have stagnated with no new growth, then you have a problem and over-watering may be the culprit. When the roots aren’t able to uptake enough oxygen, then the plants are living in an anaerobic state, devoid of the life-giving oxygen they need to complete photosynthesis. This means they can’t create new growth and the entire grow may stagnate.

3. Leaves turning yellow

When the leaves of your cannabis plants turn yellow it can be a sign of nutrient deficiency. If this is the only symptom that your plants are exhibiting, then it could be a result of improper nutrient supplementation. But if you’re also experiencing any of the other symptoms of over-watering, then it’s quite likely that this is another sign of your plants having too much water. Too much water in the root system will prevent the plants from intaking the nutrients they need from the soil. When this happens, they will get deficiencies and the leaves will turn yellow as a result.

4. The soil is still wet after two days

Cannabis plants don’t require daily watering. In fact, for most situations, they should only be getting watered every two to three days. If the soil is still wet two days after watering your plants, then you don’t need to add any more water. The top inch of soil should be dry before you water your plants again. Stick your finger in the soil to test it for moisture. It should be dry until your first knuckle. If it’s dry, then it’s time to add more water. If it’s still wet, then you should wait another day before testing once again.

3 Ways to Treat Over-Watered Cannabis Plants

Now you know how to identify when over-watering is having adverse effects on your plants. But, what should you do if your plants are already over-watered and exhibiting these symptoms? Fear not. Your garden isn’t going to die because your plants have gotten too much water for a few days. But we do want to help the plants dry out that excess water as quickly as possible.

1. Ensure Each Plant Has Adequate Drainage

If the water isn’t draining from your growing medium, then your plants are going to sit in that water until it evaporates, which can take quite a long time. Your plants should have adequate drainage so that the water passes through the soil, allowing the plants to absorb water and nutrients, but not drowning their roots. Weep holes in the bottom of your container can be sufficient for water drainage, but you need to ensure that there are enough holes present and that they’re large enough for the water to drain.


Credit: Wild0ne, Needpix

2. Increase Temperature and Airflow to Help Excess Water Evaporate

If your plants are already drowning in water, one way to help save them is to get the excess water to evaporate faster. Start by raising the temperature in the room. Be careful though, because plants can be temperamental to temperature, so you should only heat the room by a few degrees. Next, increase the airflow that your plants are receiving. A good fan blowing right on the base of your plants will help to dry out that water much quicker. It will also help to counteract the extra heat in the room at the same time.

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3. Poke Small Air Holes into the Growing Medium

Water needs to be able to drain from your plant’s growing space, but it also needs to be able to make its way through the growing medium. Likewise, oxygen needs a clear path to get down to the roots through the wet medium. Try using a pencil to poke a few small holes into the growing medium so that the water can more easily flow and more oxygen can reach the roots of your plants. The improved aeration and water flow can help your plants dry out and return to full health much quicker.

3 Tips to Prevent Over-Watering Your Plants

Now you know how to fix it if your plants have been over-watered. But how can we prevent this from happening altogether so that our plants never go through this stress? Here are a few tips to help avoid over-watering your cannabis plants.

1. Water Your Plants Every Two to Three Days

Over-watering is often due to simply giving your plants too much water. It may seem overly simple, but Occam’s Razor suggests that the simplest explanation is often the correct one. In this case, that holds true. If you’re watering your plants daily, then you’re basically slowly water-boarding them until they drown. Your plants only need to be watered every two to three days to keep them healthy and growing.

2. Water When the Top Inch of Medium is Dry

So how do you tell when your plants are ready for more water? There is a simple test you can perform by sticking one finger into the growing medium up to the first knuckle. Since the top inch of growing medium should be dry before adding more water, when you stick your finger in, the medium should be dry up to your first knuckle. If it’s still wet at that depth, then you can wait another day to water your plants more. If the top inch of the medium is dry, then it’s time to give them some more water.

3. Ensure Proper Drainage and Ventilation

Proper drainage and plenty of ventilation for your plants are essential components of a healthy grow. If your growing medium seems to be staying moist longer than two to three days, then ventilation and drainage may be the issue. Make sure that there is ample drainage for water to escape from your plants’ growing environment. Likewise, ensure that plenty of fresh air is being circulated around your plants and that it can reach the growing medium as well. That extra airflow can help the plants get plenty of oxygen, but it can also ensure the medium doesn’t stay wet longer than it should, by helping the excess water to evaporate.


After investing so much time and energy into your cannabis grow, the last thing you want to experience is some unforeseen complication that prevents you from harvesting those sticky, sweet flowers. Unfortunately, the life-giving water that we shower our plants with can also be the arbiter of death if not properly moderated. Everything in moderation, as they say. If your plants are currently over-watered, several symptoms should alert you, such as stunted growth, all the leaves drooping and curling in, or even the leaves turning yellow.

Once your plant is over-watered, you need to ensure there is plenty of drainage, increase the heat and ventilation to help the water evaporate, and poke holes in the growing medium to allow oxygen to reach the roots. But your best course of action is to prevent this issue altogether by only watering your plants every two to three days, ensuring the top inch of growing medium is dry before adding more water, and always checking that your plants have plenty of drainage and ventilation. Following these steps will ensure you have a healthy grow that reaches maturity and provides you with plenty of vibrant buds for happy times.

Featured Image Credit: 7raysmarketing, Pixabay