Over or Under Watering? The Ultimate Guide To Watering Your Houseplants

December, 2023
Darren Spalding

Knowing when and how much to water your houseplants can be tricky, but as with any other nurturing parenting effort, knowing the right amount of watering for a plant is essential. If you think about it, plants are living organisms that require the exact same thing we do: food and water. And just like people, when a plant becomes dehydrated or is overfed with water not only will it suffer from sickness but also death in some extreme cases.

Those of us who have had houseplants for a while know this well, so today I thought I'd create a little "how-to" guide on how to correctly water your indoor greenery; Keep in mind this list is by no means extensive as there are many types of houseplants out there and they all need to be watered different ways depending on their species... But if you're looking for general guidelines then keep scrolling down!

Symptoms of under or overwatering

Now that we know the importance of watering your plants, let's look at the different symptoms each type of plant will show when it needs to be watered.

1) Underwatered Plant: leaves are wilted and droopy, with a duller and lighter green colouring than usual. The stems may also appear dry and brittle in some cases.

2) Overwatered Plant: If you notice any of these signs then remove as much water from the container as possible; this will help minimize root rot and fungus growth (which is extremely detrimental to your plant).

Actually, even if you don't have any symptoms yet on your plant, pick up its foliage anyway to check for soft or rotten spots -that's a good indicator that your plant is in need of some water!

What To Do If You’re Underwatering

Your plants need to be watered consistently, but too much water at once is just as harmful! To avoid this:

1) Choose a pot with good drainage holes; this will help reduce the risk of overwatering. Avoid pots with numerous drainage holes. You want your pot's hole size to be similar in size to that of a common pop bottle cap.

2) Water your houseplants early in the morning when it's still cool and moist outside (usually early to mid-morning). This will encourage your plant's roots to absorb as much moisture as possible before its surroundings begin reaching their daytime temperatures.

3) Avoid letting the plant stand in water for extended periods of time; this will cause root rot and eventually kill your houseplant. If you have to let it sit in a dish, change that water every couple of days and make sure there is proper drainage so there's no risk of overwatering.

What To Do If You're Overwatering

Like I said before, plants need just as much water as we do; they won't tolerate staying too dry or too moist for long periods at a time! So if you notice that while you're cleaning your houseplants on a regular basis (I recommend doing this at least once per week), then you're making the right steps towards caring for them temperatures again.

Let the water seep into the soil until you see a little bit of pooling happening at the top of your pot; don't be afraid to let it sit on top of the soil for a little bit. Overwatering is usually caused by watering too frequently, but there are some cases where you might actually be watering your plant too infrequently.

Tips For Avoiding Overwatering

Overwatering is an easy mistake to avoid by making these minor adjustments:

1) Never water your plants directly; use a spray bottle and water at a distance so the moisture doesn't pool up on top of the soil.

2) Avoid watering in extreme temperatures (rarely below 45° F and never above 85° F).

3) Make sure you have good drainage holes in your pot's bottom; this will prevent your plant from standing in excess water for long periods of time.

4) If you are cleaning out your houseplants' containers, make sure not to leave them completely dry before taking new proper care of them again (this will cause stress for sensitive plants). Soak it with some lukewarm tap water for about 15 minutes and then let them dry out completely before you use any fertilizer.

5) Stop fertilizing! This one's easy; too many nutrients will cause your plant to grow in size until it finally bursts from all the water and nutrients it ingested.

6) Avoid overwatering (don't forget to check that pool of water on top of the soil!)

7) Don't let your plants sit directly in sunlight. Find a good spot that has indirect light so leaves are able to soak up more humidity but still get enough exposure to properly photo-synthesize.

How to tell if a plant is overwatered or underwatered

If the leaves feel crispy and light, it is underwatered. If they feel soft and limp, it may be overwatered.

Yellowing Leaves: Usually accompanied by new growth falling, yellow leaves are an indication of overwatering.

Can plants recover from underwatering?

Plants will recover from underwatering if you give them plenty of light and proper drainage. However, the damage done by overwatering may not be reversible.

How often should indoor plants be watered?

The water needs of indoor plants will vary according to the plant, light conditions and temperature. There are general guides available on how often your houseplants need to be watered but it is best to learn by observation. This can take a while but should become easier with practice.

Is it bad to water plants at night?

It is advisable to use purified water and water at room temperature. At night the humidity in the air is usually higher, which will keep the foliage from drying out as quickly.##How can I tell if my houseplant is drinking the water?

One sign of good health in your plants is the presence of new growth. New leaves will be plump and crisp, not flat or limp. Plants under stress will have leaves that are distorted, curled, yellowed or dead from too much sun or cold temperatures. If you're watering properly then you shouldn't need to worry about this happening!

Plant Types That Don't Like Overwatering:

Most succulents prefer dry soil and don't like to be watered often; they adapt well to indoor growing conditions.

Plants That Love Overwatering:

Most houseplants like to be watered regularly as long as it doesn't lead to overwatering. This is especially true of tropical plants, cacti and orchids which thrive under warm humid conditions with plenty of light. Make sure you water them in the morning so they can absorb excess water before nightfall.

Conclusion: Over or Under Watering? The Ultimate Guide To Watering Your Houseplants

Houseplant care is all about giving your plant what it needs to survive and thrive as best as possible for a long time! With this guide, hopefully, you will never have to feel stressed out again about whether your plants are getting too much (or too little) water!

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