Saving an underwatered plant

Saving an underwatered plant

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Underwatering can result in a fair amount of damage to your plant. Luckily, an underwatered plant is, in many cases, easier to save than an overwatered plant.


It can be hard to distinguish the difference between an underwatered or overwatered plant by only looking at the foliage these two issues can lead to similar symptoms of drooping leaves, stunted growth, dry leaf edges, dropping flowerbuds or a plant flowering too early.

Since they're opposite issues on the watering spectrum, you often have too look at the moisture level of the soil to know which one it is. Drooping leaves on a plant standing in very dry soil is a clear giveaway of underwatering. For plants that prefer regular waterings and an evenly moist soil, underwatering might also happen before the soil has dried completely.

In cacti and other succulent plants underwatering usually shows as the stems or leaves not being as plump as usual. Most species can handle drying a bit in between and it's preferred to risking overwatering them. This is especially the case if they're dormant at lower temperatures. Given a careful watering they should rehydrate within a day or two.



If the soil is very dry:

  • Give your plant enough water to wet the roots but not waterlog the soil. In this case it’s best to water from above, as it will be easier to see how the soil responds to the water than with other watering methods. If the drought has been severe there's a risk of the root tips being damaged, which could lead to shock and overwatering damage when the plant is finally watered. Because of this, it's best to water enough to hydrate the soil and roots but not make it totally saturated with water.

  • Misting the foliage can reduce water loss and maximize water uptake.

  • Check after 30 min to see if the water has been completely absorbed by the soil or the roots if it has, you can add more water. In milder cases of underwatering you might already see the drooping leaves perking up a little now.

  • Check again after another 30 minif the soil still feels a bit dry, repeat the previous procedure until it is slightly moist throughout. Pour out any excess water from the saucer or pot. It’s never a good idea to let your plant sit in water for a longer time, even an underwatered plant.

  • Register in Planta that you watered earlier than scheduled to update the care schedule ( Press the + button on the main screen to register an extra task)

If you feel like you need to water it more often than what Planta suggests - start with checking if your plant has gotten pot bound and repot if needed. If it doesn't need to be repotted, make sure that you have put in the correct settings for your plant and are using an appropriate soil type. You can also update the watering schedule under the settings for your plant, or contact us and we will help you out with this!

Underwatering 2

Warning! Giving your plant extra water can be very harmful if your plant isn't thirsty. If you aren't sure that underwatering is the cause of the problem - please contact us for further instructions before giving it extra water! It's tempting to give your plant a lot of water at once when dry in order to compensate, but this risks overwatering it.


HOW CAN I BE SURE MY PLANT IS UNDERWATERED? Checking the soil can help to determine the difference between an underwatered or overwatered plant. If the soil is dry, most likely your plant is underwatered. Make sure to check deep enough into the soil, or check via the drainage holes at the bottom- sometimes the topmost layer may be dry, but it can still be wet further down in the pot. Hopefully you will be able to catch it before any severe damage is done, but a drastically underwatered plant will show distinct signs, such as shrivelling and dryness of leaves. This happens when a plant becomes severely dried out.

HOW CAN I PREVENT THIS FROM HAPPENING AGAIN? Following a consistent watering schedule, such as what Planta provides and checking your plant's soil often can help prevent underwatering from occurring. If you feel that the watering schedule isn’t frequent enough for your plant, feel free to create a custom care schedule or to contact us for more advice on what to do.