Saving an underwatered plant

Saving an underwatered plant

Want to learn more about Diagnosis: Underwatering

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Why is this happening?

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


  • Drooping leaves

  • Stunted growth

  • Dry leaf edges

  • Dropping flowerbuds or a plant flowering too early.

  • You also have too look at the moisture level of the soil to know if it's under- or overwatered.

  • 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.


What to do now

  • 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. It's best to water enough to hydrate the soil and roots but not make it totally saturated with water.

  • Mist the foliage as it 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 min— if 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.

  • Register that you watered earlier than scheduled to update the care schedule


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.

Underwatering 2

Common questions

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.

What can cause the plant to dry out quickly?

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.

How can I prevent this in the future?

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. Remember that most species can handle drying a bit in between and it's preferred to risking overwatering them.