Can you overwater herbs?

watering can watering plants

QUESTION: Can you overwater herbs? I know they’re supposed to get a lot of water, right? – Kristin H

ANSWER: Sounds like you might need to put down the watering can. It’s possible for any plant, herbs included, to get too much water. Check into the individual preferences of the specific plants you’re growing, as some like more water than others. Plants should be grouped together with others that share their water and sun preferences.

You should only water plants when they truly need it. You can check whether a plant needs to be watered by sticking your finger an inch or two into the soil where plants are growing. If soil clings to your skin, it’s still wet and watering is not needed, but if it’s dry, it’s time to water your plants.

Symptoms of overwatering include wilted leaves when the soil is wet and foliage becoming discolored to yellow or black. Leaves may also fall off the plant or display blisters and lesions, and mildew can develop on the plant or on the ground. Growth may be stunted, and in severe cases, plant stems and roots can grow soft and become easy to break. If overwatering persists, your herb plants may even die.

If you’re growing herbs indoors, it is very easy to overwater them, because the temperatures inside are generally cooler and there’s less direct sunlight, so the water doesn’t evaporate very quickly from the container. You’ll want to definitely check the soil dampness with your finger and let the soil dry out before you water again so that the herbs don’t get “wet feet” and end up dying.

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