Both underwatering and overwatering could be detrimental to your plants. Is your plant drooping? Or is it yellow leaves appearing on your plant? It could be a problem in your watering regime. Overwatering is one of the most common indoor plants problems but it can be difficult to tell the difference between an overwatered and underwatered plant. Knowing whether you are overwatering or underwatering is essential if you want to keep your plants thriving. This article is going to explain how to easily tell the difference between the two and how to fix both.
How To Tell If Your Plant Is Overwatered?
An overwatered plant can look like an underwatered one, and it’s very important to know the difference. One more false move with your watering can could spell disaster.
Check the soil and review the plant’s recent watering schedule. Always make sure the soil has properly dried before rewatering.
Besides soggy soil, here are symptoms of an overwatered plant:
- Wilting: This is a common sign of underwatering, but plants that have their nutrient flow shut down by overwatering can wilt, too.
- Soft or puffy leaves and stems. The foliage of an underwatered plant becomes dry and crispy.
- Leaves turning a lighter green color.
- Yellowing or brown foliage.
- The dropping of both old and new leaves.
- Brown spots on leaves and leaf tips.
- Leaf edema. This looks like blisters and is caused by excess water in plant cells. It can lead to pitting.
- Slow growth and stunting.
- Fungus or mold growing on leaves, soil, and stems.
- The presence of powdery mildew, soil gnats, or other moisture-loving pests.
How Do You Tell If You Are Underwatering A Plant?
Whilst it’s easy to mistakenly think an overwatered plant is suffering from underwatering, it is much easy to identify an underwatered plant. Look for dry, papery leaves, brown leaf tips, leaf curling, wilting, and slow growth.
Although there is some overlap between the symptoms of overwatereing vs underwatering, there is an easy way to be sure what the problem is. An underwatered plant should only have symptoms suggesting water deficiency. An overwatered plant will often have symptoms of both, and this is what can make it a little confusing.
Underwatering is more likely to happen if you have less time to look after your houseplants, or if you are away from home for prolonged periods and unable to water your houseplants.
- Drooping leaves
- Leaves are thin
- Leaves are yellowing
- Tips of leaf look burnt
- Leaves are clawing under
- Looks like a nutrient deficiency
What To Do If You’ve Overwatered
If you suspect your plant has been overwatered, it may not be too late to save it! Here’s what you can do to bring your plant back from the brink.
1. Remove Wet Leaves and Debris
Remove any dead or dying leaves. Dead leaves can fall, rot, and encourage pests, and dying leaves are sapping nutrients that could be used elsewhere in the plant. Move your plant to a shady area even if it is a full-sun plant.
2. Refresh Roots And Soil
To check for root rot, dig a little ways into the soil and look at the roots. If you find mushy, black roots where healthy white roots should be, you will need to remove the root ball from the planter entirely, remove any dead or dying roots manually, and refresh the soil completely with dry, fresh soil after removing as much moist soil from the roots as you can. All pots need drainage holes to let excess water escape. Having no drainage holes is the ideal set-up for overwatering indoor plants. If you need to add drainage holes to your pot at this point, do it over a pan or sink because water will likely come pouring out the minute you create an exit.
If you see signs of fungus or root rot, you can also treat your plant with a spray-on fungicide. Just follow the instructions on the bottle to get rid of any mold or other fungi you may see.
If the plant isn’t too big to handle, try repotting. Remove it from the existing pot, and shake away all excess soil. You could even use a gentle spray to wash soil from roots. Cut away any damaged roots. If they’re really rotten, they’ll pull away with the soil. Add fresh soil. Use a commercial mix that has chunky bark pieces, or add some pine bark from bagged orchid mix to create air pockets in the soil.
What To Do If You’ve Underwatered
It’s possible to get your plant back on track after a period of underwatering, depending on the severity of the situation. If your plant has been significantly neglected and is literally lying on the topsoil, then the chances are low. However, if all you’re seeing is slight drooping of the leaves and general wilting, all it takes is readjusting your watering schedule.
There are a few really easy measures you can take to reduce the risk of underwatering your plants.
1. Make sure your plant is not rootbound– Most plants fill their pots with roots after a few years, meaning available water is used very quickly. Gently slide your plant out of its pot, and if rootbound, consider repotting in a slightly larger container.
Sometimes it’s hard to remember to water your houseplants. I think we all find a wilted plant from time to time that we have forgotten about. Try to develop a routine of giving your plants a quick check every few days and water those that need it.
2. Avoid excess heat or warm drafts– Hot conditions or warm drafts can greatly increase evaporation from the soil and transpiration from your plant. This may result in the soil drying after only a day or two. Try to check the soil every few days to monitor when your plant may need to be watered again. Low humidity greatly increases evaporation and water loss. Consider increasing humidity using one of these methods to reduce water loss.
3. Make sure to thoroughly soak the soil when you water your plants and let the excess drain. Sometimes water can run right through dry soil without being absorbed. The top of the soil may feel wet, but have the roots had a good drink?
4. Self-watering pots, watering globes, or ask someone else to water your plants– There are many options to help you water your plants if you are on vacation or away from home for a while. Make use of all options to keep your plants thriving.
5. Increase Air Circulation: If the air’s too heavy and moist, it’s going to take longer for the soil to dry. A dehumidifier can help remove moisture from the air, preventing the plant from taking in moisture while you’re trying to drain it.
Below are some dehumidifiers and pots for your reference if you may need it.
ECO Farm Portable Dehumidifier For 26㎡ Greenhouse
Efficient Dehumidification: ECO Farm dehumidifier is equipped with a 22L water tank that effectively extracts up to 300-350ML/H water daily in a humid environment of 86°F and 80% RH.
Modern Design: Efficient automatic system, It can achieve continuous dehumidification all day which is better than other dehumidifiers.
Energy Saving: The electric dehumidifier built-in power supply which more safety. The dehumidifier is effective and energy-saving. It's more environmentally friendly than the traditional chemical absorbents.
Work Efficiently: Our air dehumidifier collects moisture and releases fresh air to let the humidity at 50%-60%, providing your plant a healthy and comfortable growth environment. Protecting your grow lights far away from humidity, and extend the life of the lights.
Convenient Use: Remote control function (optional installation)
ECO Farm Non-Woven Garden Planting Pot Fabric Bags with Handles
Package- 3 PCS 7 gallon grow bags comes with visualization vecro window, which can put about 4 to 6 seed potato plants in each bag or other plants.
Clever design: the grow bag has designed three vents to facilitate plant ventilation. Reduce roots circling and air-prunes plant's root structure, its also great for fruits, flowers, trees, and deep-rooted plants
Durable material: reusable planting bags made with high quality nonwoven fabric, which is not only environmental friendly with no pollution, non-toxic, biodegradable but also anti-UV, waterproof, keeps plant warmer in winter and cooler in the summer.
Structure: carrying is made easy with thanks to the two reinforced handles. They can be used to plant the potato, taro, radish, carrots, onions, and many other vegetables, is ideal for in patios, small gardens, balconies, sunrooms, and any outdoor space.
Reusable: use your grow bag again and again! It can be folded and stored during idle.— you’ll be able to grow crops for years to come
Try not to dump water in one spot when watering the plant. Its also not a good idea to sit a plant in a saucer full of water directly for more then one-half hour. To do so is inviting root rot. When plants are watered improperly it invites dead plants, rotted plants and even fungus gnats. If you want your plant healthy and beautiful take a little time to get to know the best way to water your type of plant.
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