Smelly Soil

Smelly Soil

Want to learn more about Symptoms: The soil smells

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Why does the soil smell?

When a soil gets overwatered it can become anaerobic. That's when it starts to decompose due to lack of oxygen. The smell is reminiscent of a sewage, rotten eggs, ammonia or decay. This is very serious and can be fatal to your plant so you need to act fast.


  • Odor of sewage, rotten eggs or ammonia

  • Decay

Repotting Plant

Common causes

Overwatering, lack of drainage or organic fertilizers are the the most common causes of this.

An alternative reason why soil starts to smell may be because of the fertilizer itself. Some fertilizers smell stronger than others, and natural fertilizers may have stronger, longer-lasting odors.

What to think about

You could try to dry it out a bit before watering it again but if the soil has been severely overwatered then repotting your plant is the best option if the soil smells foul.

Smell the fertilizer you're using and check if it's matching the smell from the soil. If that is the case you can either try switching to a different brand or type of fertilizer if the smell bothers you, or you can repot your plant into a pot and soil that has very good drainage, as this will help to stop the smell from dwelling in the pot.