Growing cannabis in mediums like soil and coco coir requires frequent watering that, by the end of the flowering cycle, can happen multiple times a day.
Cannabis growers just starting out on their growing journey often struggle with watering schedules for their plants as the needs change during each of the plant’s cycles as it grows.
Experienced growers have this struggle occasionally, either when they are dealing with a new strain or phenotype, or if they’ve changed some part of their growing system and have to dial it in.
Inevitably, unless you’re a closeted prodigy or using a hydroponic system, you will overwater your plants at some point in your career.
Luckily, yes you can review your cannabis plant after overwatering and it really involves just leaving your plant alone. This issue primarily happens using soil as it has high moisture retention. Stop watering your cannabis plant until it bounces back and can use all of the water.
The best medicine for overwatering a cannabis plant is not to overwater it at all.
Once you’ve seen signs of overwatering your plant has already lost its maximum potential. Keep an eye out for symptoms of overwatering your cannabis so that you can take care of it early.
What Are The Signs Of Overwatering?
Sometimes cannabis issues can be tricky to diagnose and it just so happens that overwatering is one of the easier issues to spot. You’ll generally notice that your plant is droopy throughout the plant, on the leaves and stems. It’ll almost look like the leaves are too heavy and are curling at the tips in a downward fashion.
The reason this is happening is that the roots cannot get any oxygen from the over-saturated medium. Effectively overwatering your plants suffocates the roots and that’s why the leaves and stalks can’t hold themselves up.
If the overwatering stays consistent you’ll notice that your fan leaves will turn yellow and fall off. This is called chlorosis and should not be confused with a nitrogen deficiency.
The easy way to tell the differences is that your plant won’t droop with nitrogen deficiencies and nitrogen toxicity has droopy darker leaves instead of yellow.
Steps To Revive An Overwatered Cannabis Plant
The best medicine for fixing an over-watered cannabis plant is to let the soil dry out. In more serious cases you can do a transplant into dryer soil and see if that helps bring it back. Keep in mind that this could stress your plant more so it is your decision whether or not to proceed.
In the majority of cases, it is safer to just let your soil dry out on its own.
You’re going to need to assess what caused the overwatering problem in the first place. One of the common causes is that you’re just watering your plants too much. It happens more so in the early days of your cannabis plant’s life as later in the flower cycle your plant will require more water than before.
Another cause is that you have poor drainage in your pot which is impeding the draining capabilities of the soil and keeping the water surrounding the roots. Check to make sure that your drainage holes aren’t filled with debris.
If you have a rootbound plant, where the roots are growing in on themselves due to a lack of space, then water cannot drain through and gets stuck.
A symptom of a rootbound plant is when you water your cannabis and the water pools on the top and then slowly drains down. You’ll also want to check that you can poke your finger down in the soil. If you encounter substantial resistance then you might have a rootbound pot. Transfer to a larger-sized pot to fix this issue (learn more about pot sizes for cannabis plant).
How Long Does It Take For My Plant To Recover?
Your plant’s recovery time is dependent on the health of your plant before the overwatering and how dialed in your grow room environment is.
The health of your plant is important because it is going to have to deal with some nutrient lockouts, lack of oxygen, and reduced chlorophyll production. Healthy plants can bounce back from overwatering usually within a week. If there were issues with your plant before or you just have poor plant genetics, it might take longer.
As difficult as it would be to overwater your cannabis plant in the flower cycle, it can happen in some rootbound pots. If you were to overwater at this crucial stage of your plant’s life cycle, you could do some irreparable damage to your final harvest.
If you want to dry your soil out faster you can always drop the humidity in your grow room and raise the temperature a couple of degrees higher. The lack of humidity and the extra heat will cause more transpiration and your plant will uptake the water quicker.
Be mindful of how far you try to push the climate as your plant is already under enough stress trying to recover.
Preventing Your Cannabis From Being Overwatered
A preventative approach is always the best when it comes to cannabis growing. Ensuring that you are observant enough to be mindful of how much water is enough is a good skill to develop.
Cannabis requires a different amount of water during the different stages it will go through. The younger your plant is the less water it will need as it requires a more humid environment.
During the vegetative stage, you’ll need to find a balance between optimal watering to root growth. This is the stage where the roots are incredibly thirsty so they can build a large canopy of fan leaves. As you get to the late stages of flower your plant needs to have copious amounts of water to keep production on the buds high.
The best practice is to always check the dampness of the soil with your finger. If it’s like thin mud then you have too much water but if you can still see individual granules of dirt then it is more than likely watered just enough.