How to Save an Over-Fertilized Plant

How to Save an Over-Fertilized Plant

Want to learn more about Treatment - repot and cut back fertilizer

Get individual care schedule and reminders for your plant with our app Planta. Never kill a plant again!

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When planting in a pot that lacks proper drainage, A LOT can go wrong. Most likely is that your plant roots will rot from excess water staying in the soil for too long. If you also added fertilizer to it, the risk of burning your roots is extremely high.


  • Wilting and collapsing of the plant

  • Burned leaf edges

  • Yellow leaves (note that this can be a sign of many other issues as well)

  • Decreased growth

Note! The above signs can also be caused by other issues with your plant.


When you place a plant in a pot that doesn’t have any drainage holes, this can result in the fertilizer staying in the soil for too long. Having drainage holes in your plant pots can prevent this issue, as when you water, residues/salts will be flushed out of the soil, helping to prevent any harmful buildup.

However, when fertilizer residue does end up being trapped in the soil, this will lead to the plant never having the chance to be able to fully dry up, which can cause the root rot and may also lead to roots getting burned by the fertilizer which, in turn, can result in symptoms such as causing your plant’s leaves to fade in color.

To fix it:

  • Carefully dig up your plant from the pot - try to be particularly gentle with the roots

  • Remove as much old soil from your plant as possible, this will help to get rid of excess moisture/salts trapped in the soil

  • Repot your plant in a pot with holes and use a recommended soil for your plant

  • Cut back on fertilizing for a while - this will give your plant a chance to rest and recover. You can skip the fertilizing tasks in Planta for now

  • You can find all the info you need regarding the right soil and how to repot under the Info tab on the plant’s profile page

Remember to also register that you repotted your plant in Planta to update the care schedule (Open your plant’s profile and then press on the + button).


This can also be a problem with over-fertilized plants. Salt from the fertilizer collects on top of the soil. This can be seen as white, dry dust on the top layer of the soil.


This is not a huge a problem, but rinsing the soil is still advised to make sure that the roots of your plant are okay and are not getting burnt. If you just watered your plant, you can manually remove the white crystals with a spoon or other suitable tool.


HOW CAN I AVOID THIS HAPPENING AGAIN? Always make sure you are using pots with proper drainage. If you use decorative plant pots that don’t already come with drainage holes, try to add some yourself, or place a pot with holes into the decorative pot and then remove it when watering. Also make sure to follow Planta’s fertilizing schedule, and read the instructions on the fertilizer package thoroughly to make sure you are diluting correctly, and you should be fine :)

THERE ARE SO MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF FERTILIZERS, WHICH ONE SHOULD I CHOOSE? We recommend using a liquid fertilizer for your houseplants. Our fertilizing schedule is also built upon this type of fertilizing - which you add to your water when watering. This is, in our opinion, the safest and easiest way to fertilize your plant without risking burning the roots or giving too little fertilizer.