Overwatered Hoya: Symptoms And Treatment

Hoya plants are plants with bright, vibrant green leaves. Many people love this plant for its green foliage, vibrant flower clusters, and strong fragrance. Hoya plants are also relatively easy plants to grow, and care for and do not require much time to care for. However, one of the most common problems that you may encounter during hoya plant care is waterlogging.

Overwatered hoya is one of the leading causes of waterlogging and root rot in this plant. What are the symptoms of overwatering hoya plants? How to treat waterlogging and root rot? How to prevent waterlogging effectively. Let’s explore the underlying causes and remedies for hoya plants.

Overwatered Hoya Plants: Causes And Consequences

The three main causes of plant waterlogging are improper watering, poor drainage, and unsuitable soil. In particular, over-watering is the most common cause of waterlogging. Over-watering plants are mainly related to a lack of understanding of the actual water needs of each plant species.

Hoya plants are plants that don’t like very wet soil, so they need a period of time when the soil is completely dry between waterings. Watering on a schedule that is available or using a self-watering can is also a cause of waterlogging. In each growing stage and actual weather in each area will affect the water demand of hoya plants. Therefore, watering continuously without paying attention to the actual water demand will be the leading factor leading to waterlogging.

Another factor that contributes to increased waterlogging is poor drainage due to the quality of the potting soil or lack of drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Flooding will have serious consequences for the overall health of the plants. Excess water in the soil will prevent air circulation to the root system. As a result, the root system will suffocate and lead to root rot. In addition to root rot, hoya plants also face infectious and fungal diseases. Insects such as flies or fungal diseases will also thrive in humid conditions.

Another symptom of over-watering is root rot. It is caused by the growth of a fungus that causes root rot in plants. Symptoms of root rot are foul-smelling, soft, mushy, and weak roots. If you do not detect it in time to treat and fix it, the plants may die and cannot be revived.

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Top 5 Signs Of An Overwatered Hoya Plant

Some of the most common manifestations of waterlogging are leaf color change, leaf wilt and mass drop, soil saturation, the presence of pests and diseases, and root rot. Below is detailed information about each symptom that you need to pay attention to for early detection and correction.

Leaves Turn Yellow Or Brown

Early signs of waterlogging will be shown through the health of the leaves. The leaves of Hoya plants will wilt, swell from too much water, and droop. They will also become soft, and mushy, and rot the leaves. Then the leaves will begin to turn yellow or brown. Brown and black spots also begin to appear and spread to other leaves.

The reason is that the leaves cannot absorb nutrients from the soil because the root system has suffocated in the water. Excess water will prevent the roots from transporting nutrients, especially nitrogen, the main component that maintains the green color of leaves.

How to solve

  • You need to stop watering immediately and find a way to remove excess water in the pot or the surface of the soil.
  • Avoid moving the pot to an area with too much sun or shade because sudden environmental changes will stress the plants.
  • You should test the soil every few days to make sure it is drying quickly.
  • If the excess water is left untreated for several days, then you need to remove the plant from the pot or the waterlogged area.

Saturated Soil

A simple sign that you can observe with the naked eye is the condition of the water at the surface of the soil. Excess water will always appear at the ground level and will not change over time. In particular, when the potted plant or the soil surface is exposed to the sun for a long time, but water still appears at the surface of the soil, you need to handle it quickly. This is a sign that the soil is saturated and the excess water in the soil cannot drain out.

How to solve

  • You need to improve the soil by opening drainage holes in the bottom of the pot or creating additional drainage holes.
  • Pour in sand or other absorbent material to remove excess water.
  • Improve the soil by plowing the soil up or creating trenches for drainage.
  • Use perlite or gravel to mix with the soil and create openings for air circulation.

Pests And Fungi Attack

Wet soil will create favorable conditions for fungi and insects to grow. Fungal spores are always present in the air and they will thrive when environmental conditions are favorable. Brown and black spots will appear on the surface of leaves and stem and cause infectious diseases.

Besides, some insects are also attracted to wet soil such as flies, mosquitoes, or other winged insects. They will appear in dense density if root rot occurs. The stench will attract insects to enjoy the leftover leaves and decaying parts of the plant.

How to solve

  • Clean both sides of the leaves regularly to remove white or brown patches from insect eggs or fungal spores.
  • Use neem oil or natural insecticides such as coffee grounds, cinnamon oil, or orange or tangerine essential oils to repel small insects.
  • Move the pot to an area with sun and good air circulation to remove fungal spores.
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Leaf Rot And Root Rot Appear

If waterlogging persists for a long time, root rot and leaf rot will appear. The fungus will grow rapidly in wet conditions and attack from the roots, stems, and leaves of hoya plants. You can observe the base of the tree in contact with the ground, a layer of foul-smelling mucus will appear because the roots near the ground have rotted.

The degree of recovery of root rot also depends on the damage status of the root system. If root rot has just destroyed some of the root branches, your plant still has a chance to recover. However, if the root rot disease has spread throughout the root branches, the chances of the plants recovering are very difficult.

How to solve

  • Use gloves to gently remove the hoya plants from the pot or soil surface and avoid injuring the plants.
  • Wash the plants under running water to remove the soil and you can easily observe the condition of the root system.
  • Use sterilized scissors to prune rotten branches and keep healthy roots.
  • After you have pruned the damaged roots, use a fungicide to cover the roots.
  • Replace the pot with a new pot and a new potting mix for the plants because the fungi and bacteria are already lurking in the soil and cannot be completely eliminated.
  • You only need to water a small amount to moisten the soil and only water when the ground is dry.

Important Notes To Avoid Waterlogging

Flooding will cause many serious plant health problems. Therefore, you need to note some of the following measures to avoid this situation.

  • Choose the right soil mix for hoya plants to promote growth and prevent waterlogging.
  • The soil mix should include loose soil, organic matter, gravel, sand, or perlite at the bottom of the pot to promote drainage and air circulation.
  • You should avoid using soil in the garden as it will retain excess moisture. Garden soil often contains clay and is heavier than potting soil.
  • You should add sphagnum moss around the base of the tree to keep it moist while still allowing excess water to drain out.
  • Water only when the soil surface is 2-3 inches dry between waterings.
  • You can water weekly during the growing season of hoya plants like spring and summer. In winter, plants need less water, so you only need to water them once a month.
  • Depending on the temperature in each season and area, you should water according to the actual needs of the plants.
  • You should also pay attention to the size of the pot to water the right amount of water. A pot that is too large can also cause waterlogging by holding too much water for a long time.


Over watering causes many serious health problems for hoya plants such as waterlogging, root rot, or the appearance of insects and vermin. Fungi and some insects will thrive in humid and waterlogged environments for long periods of time.

You need to watch for early plant manifestations such as leaf discoloration, the appearance of brown spots, and yellow spots. Signs of root rot, leaf rot, or mass defoliation. To overcome this situation, you need to find a way to quickly drain the water such as creating a drainage hole, and adding sand or cotton or cloth pads to absorb the water.

To prevent waterlogging, you should water according to the needs of the hoya plants. Do not water according to the established schedule or water when the ground is still wet. Use a good quality potting mix such as perlite, gravel, loose soil, or organic matter to remove excess water.

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