How Long Should Soil Stay Wet After Watering?

One of the most frequent issues plant owners have is overwatering. After watering, the soil around the plant should remain moist for a while to allow the plant to receive the nutrients and water it needs.

2 to 4 hours after watering, the soil should still be moist. The soil should then feel damp, which is also a sign of its darker hue, which often persists for more than 24 hours. However, the kind of soil and the soil additives that aid in water drainage affects how much moisture is in the soil.

The amount of time a soil should be wet is determined by a variety of variables that can impact the plant’s general health and growth. In this post, we will discuss the reasons why soil remains wet even after more irrigation as well as possible fixes and ways to avoid it.

Signs that Soil is Wet for too Long

Signs that Soil is Wet for too Long

Unfortunately, the symptoms of damp soil are not limited to the qualities of the soil; if they are left unattended for a long time, they can also affect the plant.

Water is absorbed by plant roots to support a variety of biological processes across the entire plant. Osmotic pressure is the process by which water is absorbed into the smaller portions of the root hairs due to the different water concentrations in the soil and the roots.

A plant will only absorb water if it has certain conditions. When nutrients and minerals are needed, water in plants is used to move them from the soil to the appropriate portions of the plant. Translocation is the name of this procedure.

Additionally, water is consumed during transpiration, a process that often results from photosynthesis and involves water evaporating from the surface of the leaves.

The look and growth processes of the plant will start to be affected by prolonged soil saturation or overwatering.

You can use this soil moisture meter from amazon to eliminate the guesswork involved in knowing how moist the soil is each time.

  • Root Rot: Either an abnormally long period of exposure to moisture or a fungus in the soil can lead to root rot in plants. Brown to black, soft-to-the-touch roots are a sign of root rot. The plant will consequently display further symptoms such as wilting and yellowing of the leaves, which if left untreated will result in the plant’s death.
  • Strange Smell Coming from the Soil: Oftentimes, a root rot is accompanied by a stench that suggests the roots are rotting. Bacteria that are growing in the soil and roots under anaerobic circumstances are the cause of the odor.
  • Mold or fungus developing on stems and the soil: despite the fact that soil-based plants may not thrive in certain water conditions. It can produce the ideal conditions for germs and fungus to flourish. By taking advantage of the damp conditions created by the wet soil, fungus or mold will begin to grow on the soil’s surface and on the stems of the plant. Plants are harmed by fungus because it feeds on their cells and stresses them out.
  • Fading of the leaves: The plant’s inability to absorb nutrients through its roots is what causes the yellowing of the leaves. These circumstances are a result of the soil being overwatered, which encourages bacterial development that feeds on the plant’s roots and renders them unusable.
  • Leaf swelling: When plants absorb more water than they lose through transpiration, this happens. This sort of water poisoning occurs when plants drink too much water, which causes abnormalities in the leaves. Yellowing patches and lumps on the underside of leaves are telltale symptoms of edema. The entire leaf structure could appear blotchy. But not all plants could display the same symptoms.

Conditions that Affect How Fast Soil Takes to Dry

Conditions that Affect How Fast Soil Takes to Dry
  • Humidity: According to a National Center for Biotechnology Information experiment, when the environment is humid, the plant’s leaves, which are transferred to the soil, are primarily responsible for absorbing water. As a result, the moisture level of the soil where the plants were planted is directly increased. The following table displays this.
Type of SoilEquivalent Moisture% moisture 24 hours later% moisture 48 hours later
Little Soil12.518.520.2
Middle Soil22.725.027.0
Strong Soil36.839.547.2

The soil will remain moist for a longer period of time with higher humidity.

Amazon’s Geniani portable humidifier offers the perfect level of ambient humidity for strong plant development. Clicking here will take you there.

  • Date, time, and place of plant: The soil moisture might change based on the time of day and where the plant is located, whether within the home or outside in the garden. The impacts of sunshine on the soil itself are mostly to blame for this. More water will evaporate from the soil as more sunlight touches its surface. So, if you think your plant may have been overwatered, you may simply transfer it to a location where it will receive more sunlight, allowing the water to evaporate. When doing this, care must be taken to prevent excessive soil water loss, which could cause the plant to become dehydrated. Regular monitoring is essential to prevent dehydration. The plant and soil will dry more quickly the more sunlight they receive.
  • Windy circumstances: The amount of moisture that soil loses also depends on wind. On a windier day, the wind can aid in the transpiration of leaves and the evaporation of moisture from the soil’s surface. The difference in moisture content between the soil’s surface and bottom caused by evaporation from the soil’s surface encourages more moisture to flow toward the surface, where it will be carried away by the wind. The plant loses moisture through its leaves during transpiration; as a result, it draws more moisture from the soil, reducing the overall moisture content of the soil.

The soil will dry up more quickly the more wind the plant is exposed to.

  • Weather conditions and the season: Seasonality has an impact on soil moisture for obvious reasons. Let’s contrast the harsh summer and winter temperatures. The greater temperatures that plants experience in the summer compared to the other seasons have an impact on the moisture of the soil. The evaporation rate will be higher due to the increased temperatures, which will result in less moisture in the soil.
  • Plant-potter type: The soil’s moisture content may vary depending on the kind of pot the plant is housed in. Due to its ability to let moisture and air move through its structure, only terra cotta pots can significantly differ from other plant potters in this situation. Because clay is heated throughout the manufacturing process, it changes its internal structure and develops tiny pores, which contributes to the porous nature of clay pots. By allowing excess moisture to evaporate, these pores can enable air and moisture pass through, reducing the long-term impacts of damp soil.Because of this, terracotta pots may slow the rate at which overwatered soil dries.

Can Plants Recover from Overwatering?

Plants can withstand excessive watering. As long as the overwatering issue is identified quickly enough to prevent damage from impairing the plant’s general functionality.

There are a few techniques to prevent a plant from rapidly overwatering.

  1. Plants should be located where there is enough sunlight to dry the soil. As was already said, this technique can be utilized to speed up the soil’s drying process. If the plant’s health is being jeopardized, you should look for alternative techniques that can handle the damp soil more quickly.
  2. The plant may need to be repotted. This is one of the more extreme techniques when the plant and soil are taken out of the potter. After gently shaking away the soil, the roots are gently washed and cleansed to get rid of any evidence of root rot. Before repotting into a soil with superior aeration and drainage qualities, which we shall describe next, an antifungal spray should be sprayed to the roots.
  3. Implement soil amendments: If you choose to remove the moist, squishy soil, you might want to add a soil amendment to the subsequent potting mix to make sure the soil has adequate drainage qualities so you won’t experience the same problem again.Soil amendments, nevertheless, what are they? These are chemicals that improve the soil’s drainage and aeration capabilities. Perlite and vermiculite are frequently used as these additions. The ideal potting soil, which you may use to repot the plant, can be made by adding the right amount of perlite and vermiculite to the intended soil. You can read an article that goes into greater detail about perlite and vermiculite to learn more about their characteristics and how they aid to improve soil structure.
  4. Remove the plant and use absorbent rags to dry the soil.If you don’t have any additional soil or soil amendments on hand, removing the plant and soil from the pot and letting them lay on an absorbent pad or piece of newspaper for a while is another, more extreme approach of drying the soil quickly.As a result, the water in the soil moves into the absorbent pad from the earth. The amount of moisture in the soil is soon reduced as a result. When using this technique, care must be exercised since if the son is left on the absorbent pad for too long, the soil may become dried out and the plant may suffer.
  5. Schedule the waterings. You can have some control over how much water the plant receives by setting up a watering schedule, which also eliminates the overwatering issue. The majority of plants do not require daily watering, and occasionally you may not need to water a plant for a few days or even a week depending on the soil composition and the plant’s ability to withstand dry circumstances. Due to their natural resilience and the well-drained sandy soil they are potted in, cacti thrive with little watering.
PlantsWatering Routine
Asian Evergreen7 – 9 Days
British Ivy7 – 10 Days
Orchids5 – 10 Days
Calm Lily5 – 10 Days
Viper Plant14 – 21 Days
Insect Plant5 – 10 Days
Plant ZZ7 – 14 Days
Pothos7 – 14 Days
Echeveria14 – 21 Days

Reasons Why Soil may Stay Wet After Watering

  • Overwatering: Overwatering can be created when you don’t know how frequently to water your particular plant. If you have one of those plants, you can use the above table to design a watering regimen for it. Checking to see if the saucer is full of water is a good indicator that a plant doesn’t need to be watered any more. If so, the plant won’t require watering. Using a stick driven into the ground is another excellent and reasonably priced option to assess the moisture level of the soil. If it’s gone and the stake is wet, the plant has enough moisture and doesn’t require more watering.
  • There are too many workers tending to the same plant: Overwatering may be highly common if there are too many persons caring for the same plant.Watering may be done by one person in the morning and by another in the evening. Obviously, this will result in the soil being overwatered and wet for an extended period of time. To assist prevent such events, a straightforward option is to assign the task of watering to just one person on a regular basis.
  • Poor Soil Mix: The soil will retain more water if the potted plant is in a soil mixture that doesn’t allow for good drainage.Without soil additives like vermiculite or perlite, the soil may be more prone to holding onto water than is healthy. How well water drains from the soil is also influenced by the kind of soil. Since the soil’s relatively small particles and spaces make it difficult for water to drain through, clay and loamy soil retain a lot of water. On the other hand, sandy soil will make it easier for water to drain through, making the soil more dry. Over time, this will lead the plant to become dehydrated. Soil supplements can help develop an excellent soil mix that is well balanced for both drainage and water retention in potting soil. This maintains the soil’s moisture for just long enough for the plant to use it without suffering the worst consequences of an overwatered soil.
  • The plant pot is not big enough.The roots of a growing plant will fill the planter in this scenario when the potter is too tiny, leaving little room for water to drain. When watering, this causes a problem since more water is held in the soil, which causes overwatering.The plant needs to be repotted as soon as possible if roots are seen poking out of the drainage holes or the top of the soil.
  • A plant is submerged in water. The soil will get too wet or damp if the plant has a saucer with water in it because the water will be absorbed into the soil. The type of soil the plant is planted in also affects this. To prevent the extra water from being absorbed back into the soil, it is a simple repair to drain the saucer.


How do I know if my soil is watered enough?

Squeeze the soil to determine its moisture content. The soil is moist if you squeeze it and it sticks together. However, if the soil breaks apart or stays in a loose pile after being squeezed, the ground requires additional water.

How wet should soil be after watering?

After watering, the soil around the plant should remain moist for a while to allow the plant to receive the nutrients and water it needs. 2 to 4 hours after watering, the soil should still be moist. The soil should then feel damp, which is also a sign of its darker hue, which often persists for more than 24 hours.

How long should soil be watered?

One of the most frequent issues plant owners have is overwatering. After watering, the soil around the plant should remain moist for a while to allow the plant to receive the nutrients and water it needs. 2 to 4 hours after watering, the soil should still be moist.

How do you tell if your soil is too dry?

Examine the soil’s topside. You can determine if the dirt on the surface of your pot is dry at a look. Since dry soil is nearly always lighter in color than moist soil, lighter brown soil implies surface dryness.

How do you properly water your soil?

Dry soil surfaces can cause water to pool or flow off instead of being absorbed. The solution is to begin slowly and increase the amount of time you soak over time. The water will be absorbed more readily after the first couple of inches are soaked. Direct water directly to the root zone using a watering can, drip irrigation, or soaker hoses.