How to Deal With Plants Growing out of Your Drains

Have you ever found a plant growing out of your drain?  If you have, you’re not alone, as it’s not as uncommon as it may sound.  A sink or drain that may be left unused for a while that’s normally used to clean dishes may actually turn up a few sprouts if left exposed to warm temperatures and sun.  Actually, even if you regularly use a sink you may see a few sprouts pop up from time to time under the right conditions.

Plants growing in drains don’t usually present a problem.  But, in some cases, they can lead to severe clogs and even damage your pipes if left too long.  So, why exactly does this happen? Let’s take a look:

How Did That Even Get There?

Though the idea of a plant growing out of your drain may seem far-fetched, when you think about what you put down your drain, it won’t actually seem that crazy at all.  You see, in most cases, the plants that grow out of drains and pipes come from our own vegetable and seed disposal from the foods that we eat. When we go to clean our dinner plates off, those seeds and particles are washed down the drain.  And, while most pieces will simply wash down through your pipes, out into the sewer system with no problem, every once in a while, something might stick around.

Things like chia, tomato, pumpkin, beans and bird seeds are common culprits for drain growth.  Sometimes, if your sink has built up a lot of bio-slime or other organic material, seeds can just stick and begin to germinate.  This slime left in your sink, combined with the constant presence of moisture and sunlight, provides a host of nutrients perfect for plant growth.  Fortunately for your pipes, most of these drain plants are easy enough to remove. You simply have to pull them out.

Can Drain Plants Damage My Pipes?

While most drain plants are pretty harmless to your plumbing systems, there are those that are quick to grow long roots that go deep into your pipes.  In these situations, even if you pull the plant out of the drain, there still may be a chance that the plant has already developed a root base that’s grown further down your pipes, and these leftover roots can quickly regrow.  As you may have guessed, this can lead to clogging and possible damage if your pipes aren’t thoroughly cleaned.

Of course, plants don’t just grow in one direction.  These problems can also start from the other end of your plumbing when outdoor plant seeds and roots invade your pipes and sewer system through the likes of vents and leaks.  Most of the time, these roots won’t make it far into your home. They’re more likely to affect the sewer line. But, they can still cause serious clogs and drainage problems.

What Should I Do If Plants Are Growing in My Drains?

If you find that your drains are repeatedly growing sprouts, then first check your sink traps.  Seeds may be getting stuck in these, and that is where the growths are starting. Fortunately, you can just clean these traps for a quick fix.  If, however, you’ve found that growths have invaded deep into your pipes, or plants growing into your sewer system, then it’s time to call your trusty plumber to schedule a thorough drain cleaning.  


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