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How To Know if Your Sage Is Overwatered

How To Know if Your Sage Is Overwatered

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Willie Moore
Latest posts by Willie Moore (see all)

Sage plants are resilient and hardy but require the correct care to thrive. While overwatering is a common mistake, you should recognize the signs of overwatering early on to prevent further damage from occurring. So, how do you know if your sage is overwatered?

Your sage is overwatered if it looks wilted, has yellow or brown leaves, or root rot. The roots will also be soft, soggy, and blackened. You may also notice that the potting soil feels damp and doesn’t dry out quickly. Fuzzy mildew is also caused by overwatering.

Avoid overwatering your sage plant by letting the soil dry out between waterings, and check the soil before watering. If it feels damp, wait a few days. Let’s delve deeper into the signs your sage plant has been overwatered.

1. Your Plant Has Wilting Leaves

Sage plants are drought resistant and don’t need to be watered often (source).  If your sage’s leaves are wilting or drooping, it’s a sure sign you have overwatered it. Oxygen-starved soil with dripping water can make it impossible for sage plants to grow. 

Without access to the air they need to thrive and survive, your plant’s growth will be stunted or completely halted. The leaves will become limp and soft and have a floppy look as they don’t have the structural support they need to stay upright.

Sage plants have woody stems that help support the plant, and if the overwatering is severe, the stems will become soft and mushy. Too much moisture causes them to lose their firmness and rigidity.

2. It Has Yellowing Foliage

When a plant’s roots are deprived of oxygen, they cannot absorb the nutrients needed for optimal growth and health. The water has filled the air pockets between soil particles, preventing oxygen from entering.

When this happens, your sage plant’s showy vibrant foliage will take on a yellowish hue signaling something is wrong. This process can be gradual, so you should watch for color changes. The tips of the leaves may turn to black as the plant struggles to survive in the waterlogged soil (source). 

When this happens, the roots cannot move nutrients up to the foliage, and the plant slowly dies. Plant cells can no longer absorb oxygen which weakens the cell walls, and the leaves may drop, and the stems become weak, causing the plant to collapse.

3.The Soil Is Mushy or Soggy

An overwatered sage plant’s roots cannot absorb needed water, and the soil will become saturated. If you stick your finger into the soil and it’s soggy or mushy, the soil is too wet, and your plant may be overwatered.

The soil should feel slightly damp but not sopping wet. Check the area around your sage for any puddles that may have formed, and adjust your watering schedule to prevent further damage. These puddles can make it difficult for the soil to dry out and cause disease or rot in the roots.

You should check the pot’s drainage holes regularly. Ensure the holes are clear and aren’t blocked by debris or soil, which can cause them to become overwatered. If the drainage holes are blocked, remove any debris or soil and test the soil to ensure it’s not too wet.

If you determine that your sage is overwatered, you can take several steps to help it recover:

  • If the pot has no drainage holes, repot it in a container with adequate drainage. 
  • If you can’t repot it immediately, you may need to water it less often or use a container with drainage holes. 
  • You can supplement your watering schedule with soil amendments such as perlite or coarse sand to help the water drain more quickly and evenly.

4. Your Sage Has Root Rot

If your sage has been overwatered for an extended period, it can lead to root rot. This fungal infection occurs when the roots are constantly waterlogged and prevent your sage from absorbing nutrients (source). 

The roots will start to decompose, resulting in a weakened and discolored state. It may also make the plant more susceptible to other infections and diseases. To avoid root rot, monitor the soil’s moisture levels and only water your sage when necessary.

Here’s how to check if your sage plant has root rot:

  • Carefully remove it from its pot, and inspect the roots. 
  • If they’re black or mushy, it’s likely that it has root rot and should be treated immediately.

The best way to treat your sage is with a fungicide and replant it in fresh soil with better drainage.

See How Deep Are Texas Sage Roots?

5. The Leaves Have Fuzzy Mildew

Fuzzy mildew is a fungal disease that can occur in sage plants when overwatered. This mildew tends to be grey or white and looks like a cobweb on the leaves. These spots can grow into larger patches and lead to leaf drop (source). 

A musty smell can accompany it, and if it appears in high concentrations, it can cause the leaves to become wrinkled and discolored. If you notice this type of mildew on your sage, reduce the water and humidity levels, and check the soil for signs of over-watering.

Ensure that your sage plant is adequately spaced out and not overwatered to prevent and treat this fungal issue. Prune off any affected leaves and use fungicides can help to stop the spread of this mildew.

6. Its Growth Is Stunted 

Waterlogged soil can impede root growth, meaning that your sage’s roots cannot access the nutrients and water they need to survive. This may result in the plant becoming weak and underdeveloped, with stunted leaves, stems, and branches. 

If your sage has stopped growing and/or is significantly smaller than other plants of the same species, overwatering is likely to blame. The overly wet soil deprives the plant of essential oxygen for root growth.

Stunted growth is a serious issue that requires immediate action, and it can be reversed if caught early enough. 

Here’s how to fix this problem:

  • Slowly reduce watering until the soil is slightly damp and the plant starts rebounding.
  • Consider adding a drainage layer, such as gravel, to the soil to avoid waterlogging in the future.

See Does Texas Sage Ever Go Dormant?

Final Thoughts

Overwatering can damage your sage, but it’s easy to spot the signs and take corrective action. Look for yellow or wilted leaves, root rot, fuzzy mildew, and stunted growth. 

If you notice any of these signs, reduce the water you’re providing and check the soil drainage. You can consider including a soil amendment such as coarse sand and perlite to make water drainage easier.

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