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How to Dry Overwatered Soil? 7 Easy ways to quickly dry soil

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When watering plants, it is crucial to ensure that your plants only receive an adequate amount of water. Watering too much will create overwatered soil and problems for your plants. 

Drying overwatered soil can be done by placing the plant in areas where the environmental conditions are suitable for water evaporation. High wind, low humidity, and hotter temperatures will evaporate the excess water from overwatered soil leaving the soil dry within 1 -3 days.

If you have mistakenly overwatered your plant more than required, no need to panic!

In this article, we have listed the most effective ways of drying overwatered soil. Have a read, the information here will guide you to saving your plant’s life by quickly drying the soil.

How Long Does It Take To Dry Overwatered Soil?

wet potting soil

It usually takes 1-3 days to dry overwatered soil depending on the method of drying used. These methods will include the use of sunlight and wind and are proved to be most effective when drying overwatered soil.

You can also see our detailed article on how long should soil stay wet after watering which will give some beneficial information on how to prevent overwatering your plant.

Bottom watering is also an effective method when it comes to overwatering prevention and you can check out our full bottom watering guide.

For keeping my soil at the perfect moisture levels I use this soil moisture meter. It is both cost-effective and durable. Best of all, it also measures pH and light.

digital soil moisture meter

How To Dry Overwatered Soil?

Drying over-watered soil is not a hard nut to crack. It just needs a little attention and effort.

We have listed below some of the proven methods which we have used to dry overwatered soil.

1. Stop Watering and Allow Time To Pass:

Letting the soil completely dry between watering is an effective method to prevent overwatered soil and plants. 

You just have to simply not provide more water to soil temporarily. 

This will allow the soil to evaporate the water and plant to transpire the water which is already present in it. 

2. Place Plants in the Windy Area: 

Wind helps the plants to accelerate the rate of evaporation. If you were very kind to your plant and have watered it more than it’s needed. 

No need to panic! take the plant to a windy area. Wind plays an important role in stimulating transpiration. The higher the wind blows, the plants will lose more water.

3. Place Plants in an Area With Low Humidity: 

According to Theodore W. Tibbitts from the University of Wisconsin Madison, humidity is directly involved with transpiration by controlling the rate of stomatal opening and water loss of plants. 

When you place your plant in an area with low humidity, stomata open to transpire more water than usual. 

Because humidity is directly concerned with stomatal gates, placing your plant in a low humidity area with a warm temperature is a wise decision to treat water saturation.

4. Ensure There Are Drainage Holes At The Bottom of Your Plant: 

Overwatering can also be avoided with multiple drainage holes present at the bottom of a plant pot.

This will help in escaping excess water when the plant is being watered. 

With drainage holes, water will not assemble at the base of plant pots. 

5. Remove Any Mulch From The Top of The Soil: 

Mulch is spread on the top of plants to get rid of pests and also reduces the rate of evaporation. 

Mulch helps in keeping soil moisture. Make sure to remove mulch from the top of the soil to dry the overwatered soil quickly. 

By removing it, you will boost the evaporation rate and unnecessary water will evaporate more rapidly.

6. Placing Holes at the Side of the Pot:

You can create multiple holes at the side of the container to improve the drainage if it doesn?t already have one.

Ensure that the holes are not being blocked by stones or any substrates that are placed inside the plant pot.

These drainage holes will not only cause water to drain out of the soil but will also improve the aeration and root growth.  

Although not as common as holes at the bottom, it can also help dry the soil just as fast.

7. Use a Hairdryer to Dry the Soil

Using a hairdryer directly on the soil is an easy way of removing that excess moisture easily.

However, there are some things to take into consideration when doing so.

When directed at the soil the dryer will only remove the moisture from the surface having the rest of the soil wet.

In order to get all the moisture out the soil has to be removed from the pot and spread out. This would allow for the hot air to remove most of the moisture from the soil.

In this case, while you are at it, you can consider adding dry soil or repotting the plant in new soil.

Another thing to consider is that the hot air from the dryer can potentially kill a great deal of the microorganisms within the soil if it gets too hot. This can lead to the soil becoming less effective in providing nutrients for the plant.

I use this Miracle-Gro Potting Mix from Amazon, which ensures my plants stay healthy long after repotting. Take a look and compare it to other potting mixes.

Miracle Grow Potting Mix

What Do Overwatered Plants and Soil Look Like?

wilting leaves

One of the main reasons for the death of plants is overwatering. The following are the symptoms to know if you are overwatering your plants.

Soft and Swallow (Puffy) Leaves: 

When roots receive unnecessary water, the rate of water intake in plants increases. Hence, the rate of water coming in is not equal to the rate of coming out. 

Leaves will not be able to transpire excess water. This excess water will cause puffiness in leaves and leaves may burst due to excess pressure. 

The dead cells will come out in the form of blisters.

Root rot: 

When roots are continuously being dipped in water, due to low oxygenation the roots start decaying, and in this way overwatering becomes the reason for root rotting.


Generally, the sign of wilting is associated with underwatering. However, overwatering the plant also causes wilting of plants. 

When enough oxygen will not be provided to plants, they will feel suffocated which will result in wilting and death of your plant.

Leaves turning color: 

Excess water in plants? bodies are also responsible for changing the color of leaves. The leaves may turn yellow when more than enough water is provided to them. 

Furthermore, it may also turn the foliage brown. The foliage becomes soft and limp in appearance.

Dropping of leaves: 

When leaves are loaded with excess water, it’s hard for them to stand. As a result, the leaves ultimately fall off from plants. This includes both the new and old leaves.

Stunted growth: 

Overwatering can be a cause of the slow and stunted growth of plants as well. Excess water can be a cause of loss of vigor in plants. 

With overwatering, the plant may grow but the size will not increase.

Anaerobic Environment: 

Overwatering provides excess water to plants which creates an anaerobic environment for them. 

When plenty of water is provided to them, plants are unable to exchange gases like O2 (oxygen) and eventually die.


Overwatering also invites some houseplant pests to attack plants. 

When you overwater a plant, you may see some moisture-loving pests including powdery mildews and fungus gnats. 

Adult fungus gnats are highly attractive to the moist growing medium, especially egg-laying females. 

Females lay their eggs (which later hatched into larvae) in the top 2 to 3 inches (5 cm to 7 cm) of the growing medium, depending on the dampness of the soil. 

Overwatered Soil: 

Overwatered soil is usually wet in appearance and one can simply tell by just a glance. The plants growing in wet soil usually have squishy and soft stems. 

The leaves of plants usually appear brown at the edges. 

Drying Overwatered Garden Soil:

Overwatered garden soil can be dried by replacing or adding more soil to it. 

Or you can use an effective chemical known as lime which is made from fine ground limestone to solve this problem.  

Furthermore, lime provides plants with different beneficial nutrients.

Use of Lime To Dry Garden Soil: 

It’s a great idea to dry up garden soil using lime. Most importantly, out of four types of lime, quicklime and hydrated lime are the most effective in drying up the soil quickly.

Quick Lime: 

Quick lime is chemically known as calcium oxide (Cao) or hot lime.

Hydrated lime: 

It is chemically known as calcium hydroxide Ca(OH)2 or slaked lime.

Both of the above help in drying soil quickly. However hydrated lime is also useful to dry silt soil and wet clay.

How is Lime Used To Dry Soil?

It requires thorough mixing of lime with soil and a long time (nearly 24 to 48 hours) for the setting of the mixture.

Once the mixture is ready, sprinkle it on the overwatered garden soil. After some time, heat will start generating as a result of lime reacting with moisture present in the soil.  

This reaction will help in driving water vapors which will then evaporate the form of water vapors from the garden surface. All this happens within 1-3 hours. 

How Do You Add Lime To The Soil? 

You need to prepare soft soil to add lime. Directly adding lime to the soil will create some problems. So it is better to go with precautions. 

Prepare the bed of soil by digging the soil using a gardening tool to a depth of 20-30 cm, which will be approximately 8-12 inches.

After preparing the bed, spread the lime evenly and then mix it with soil to a depth of 5 cm (2 inches) until no lime particles are visible.                                                         

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