The Aesthetic Snail: Too much of a good thing

I’m looking after a friend’s plants for a few weeks and when checking in on them yesterday morning I found one looking pretty drowned. How did I, a self-appointed plant guru, let that happen? It’s easy. Too much of a good thing.

I’ve said it again and again; don’t overwater your plants. Especially in the cooler months when your plants are getting ready to nap and spend less energy than they do when they’re growing. Not only do you risk drowning your plants by overwatering them but if a plant has too much water in its leaves and stems when cold weather comes, it will freeze and kill it.

I’d love to be able to pass the blame on to my friend and not have to admit I was neglectful, killing his plant. But there’s no way around it. It was me.

Funny, all I was trying to do was give it what it needed. Plants love water. Plants need water. Plants usually thrive on water. I made the mistake of looking at its leaves only and not feeling the soil to determine if it needed water then.

The problem was that giving it too much water meant the soil became super saturated before it had time to absorb all the water I poured into the pot. I lifted the plant out of its cover pot and found that the pot was half-filled with water since the last time I watered it. Meaning the plant was sitting in still water for a few days and wasn’t able to dry out as it needed to. I felt really dumb because despite preaching how bad overwatering is, it’s still so easy to assume you’re doing the right thing when you’re only causing damage.

I also felt really dumb because it reminded me of the many things in my life that I may be overindulging in that could be considered too much of a good thing. Causing more long-term problems than they need. Whether it’s time spent on social media, consuming alcohol, playing video games, allowing others to cross your boundaries, or something else. None of those things are bad in moderation but enjoying them without limits or guidelines can only lead to problems down the road. Aka root rot.

Root rot is a condition in which conditions in the soil cause them to rot. This occurs due to excessive standing water around the roots. Photo by Jace Koblun

I shouldn’t say the plant is for sure dead. There might be hope. If I caught it in time the plant’s roots may be able to dry out and it can start to recover.

I took the plant out of the cover pot again and separated its roots from the soil. Cleaned off all the excess dirt and laid the plant out on a paper towel to dry overnight. I didn’t have any extra potting soil handy and I was heading out for the night so I also spread the soggy soil out flat overnight in hopes I could reuse it in the morning.

This morning the soil looked dry enough to put the damaged plant in. So the plant is back in its home clinging on to dear life. Pistils crossed that it makes it.

What are some things in your life you could consider are too much of a good thing? Even if you need it, as I thought the plant did, it’s worth some self-reflection and OK to be wrong.

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