die from over-watering in soil?

Question is simple: If I can grow a money plant(Devil's Ivy) in water, why over-watering it in soil can kill it?

Can anyone explain?


1 Answer 1


I'm not a botanist, but I'll take a shot. I had this stuff growing in a large aquarium for years, as well as in pots.

There's a difference between water in an open container and water trapped in the soil. In an aquarium or jar the gases dissolved in the water will exchange with the gases in the room, so they will have the same mix in the same proportions. Water trapped in a sealed container or between the particles of soil may not be able to exchange gases as freely, so the conditions there could become anaerobic - all the oxygen used up by microorganisms. Then the microorganisms that need oxygen die and the ones that use carbon dioxide take over.

Plant roots are not able to extract water and nutrients from the soil on their own. They are reliant on symbiotic microorganisms, as our own digestive systems are. The conditions in the over-watered soil are different than those in the aquarium, whether it's an anaerobic environment, pH, or something else, and maybe the microorganisms can't function efficiently, or even die.

So there's a lot different in the two situations, even if they're both wet. There's a lot of biology happening on the surface of the roots. We'd need a botanist to tell us exactly what.

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