How to Tell If a Plant is Overwatered Or Underwatered?

To tell if a plant is overwatered or underwatered, simply check the soil. If it is too wet and there is standing water, the plant is overwatered.

If the soil is dry and cracks appear, the plant is underwatered. Plants are an essential part of our environment, and we all love to have a variety of plants around us. However, taking care of them can sometimes be challenging. One of the most significant factors that contribute to the health of a plant is the amount of water it receives. Plants need just the right amount of water to thrive and grow properly. Overwatering or underwatering can both lead to significant problems and ultimately cause the plant to die. As a plant parent, it is important to know when your plant needs watering and when it does not. In this article, we will go into depth on how to tell if a plant is overwatered or underwatered.

How to Tell If a Plant is Overwatered Or Underwatered?


Signs Of Overwatering

Overwatering your plants can be just as detrimental as underwatering them. When plants receive too much water, their roots can become deprived of oxygen, leading to rot and other problems.

Wilting Leaves

Contrary to popular belief, wilting leaves are not always a sign that your plant needs more water. In fact, wilting can be an indication that your plant is receiving too much water. Overly hydrated leaves may become soft and droopy, and can even become translucent.

Yellow Leaves

If you notice yellowing leaves on your plant, it could be due to overwatering. When plants receive too much water, their leaves can start to turn yellow and fall off. This is because the roots are not able to absorb the excess water, leading to root rot and other problems.

Mold Or Fungus On The Soil Surface

Excess water is a breeding ground for mold and fungus. If you notice a fuzzy growth on the soil surface of your plant, it could be a sign that you are overwatering it. Mold and fungus can be harmful to your plant, so it is important to immediately remove any affected soil.

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Root Rot

Root rot is a common problem associated with overwatering. When the roots of your plant are constantly saturated, they can become deprived of oxygen and begin to decay. This can lead to a variety of symptoms, including wilting, yellowing leaves, and stunted growth.

Stunted Growth

Overwatering can also cause stunted growth in your plants. When the roots of your plant are deprived of oxygen, they are not able to absorb the nutrients they need to grow. This can cause your plant to become stunted and weak, with smaller leaves and stems than it would normally have.

Damp Soil

If the soil around your plant feels constantly damp or waterlogged, it may be a sign that you are overwatering it. Overwatering can cause the soil to become compacted, preventing oxygen from reaching the roots, which can ultimately lead to root rot.

It is important to properly water your plants to ensure their health and growth. Overwatering can be just as harmful as underwatering, so it is important to look out for these signs and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Signs Of Underwatering

When a plant is not getting enough water, it will start to exhibit certain signs that indicate it’s struggling to survive.

  • dry soil: if the soil is dry when you touch it, and the pot feels light even after watering it, then the plant is most likely underwatered.
  • wilting leaves: leaves that appear limp, droopy or folded in half are a sign that the plant is lacking water.
  • brown, crispy leaves: when the plant doesn’t receive enough water, the leaves begin to dry out. They will start to turn brown and feel crispy to the touch.
  • slow growth: slow growth can be an indication of underwatering. If a plant is not receiving enough water, its growth may slow down or even stop completely.
  • root damage: when a plant is underwatered, its roots may dry out and die. This can lead to the plant becoming root-bound, which can cause further problems.

Proper watering is essential for a plant’s survival. By recognizing the signs of underwatering, you can take action to help your plant before it’s too late.

Signs/Symptoms Of Under Watering And Over Watering In Plants And How To Save The Plants

How To Check For Overwatering Or Underwatering

If you’re a plant owner, you know the importance of watering your plants. Overwatering or underwatering can be detrimental to their growth and health. It’s crucial to understand how to tell if a plant is overwatered or underwatered to ensure that you give them the correct amount of water they need.

In this section, we will discuss how to check for overwatering or underwatering.

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Using A Moisture Meter

Using a moisture meter is the most accurate and efficient way to check whether your plant has been overwatered or underwatered.

  • Insert the probe of the moisture meter deep into the soil to get an accurate reading.
  • Make a note of the level of moisture that the meter reads. It will usually range from dry to moist to wet.
  • Refer to the moisture meter guide to find out whether the level of moisture is suitable for your plant. Different plants have different water requirements, and you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

Feeling The Soil With Your Fingers

Another simple way to determine whether your plant is overwatered or underwatered is to feel the soil with your fingers.

  • Insert your index finger into the soil, up to the first knuckle.
  • Feel the moisture level in the soil. If it feels dry, it could indicate that your plant is underwatered. If it feels too wet, it may be overwatered.
  • If the soil feels just moist enough, it means that your plant is receiving the right amount of water.

Checking The Weight Of The Plant And Its Container

Checking the weight of the plant and its container is another easy way to know if your plant is overwatered or underwatered.

  • Lift your plant and its container to get an idea of its weight.
  • If it feels light, it’s a sign that your plant needs water.
  • If it feels heavy, it could be a sign that your plant is overwatered and the soil is waterlogged.

Overwatering or underwatering can have a significant impact on your plant’s health and growth. It’s important to check for signs of overwatering or underwatering and adjust your watering schedule accordingly to ensure that your plants receive the right amount of water.

By following the methods mentioned above, you’ll be able to determine whether your plant needs more or less water to thrive.

How To Fix Overwatered Or Underwatered Plants

Have you been noticing changes in how your plant is looking lately? Leaves looking wilted or yellow? It could be a sign that your plant is drowning or desperately thirsty. This blog post will help you identify the signs of overwatering and underwatering in plants and discuss how to fix the problem.

Adjusting Watering Frequency And Amount

Adjusting your watering is the key to fixing your overwatered or underwatered plants. But how do you know how much water is too much or too little?

  • Check the soil: before watering, check the soil by sticking your finger one or two inches into it. If it feels moist, do not water it.
  • Follow a schedule: set up a watering schedule to avoid under or over-watering your plant. Depending on the species of the plant, you can water it weekly or biweekly.
  • Water slowly: water your plants slowly, allowing the soil to absorb the water before watering again.
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Pruning Damaged Leaves And Stems

While adjusting your watering is crucial, you also need to deal with any damage already caused by over or underwatering.

  • Remove damaged leaves: if your plant has yellow leaves or leaves that are drooping, it’s a sign that they are damaged and can no longer contribute to the health of the plant. Cut them off.
  • Cut off dead stem parts: you’ll want to prune any stem damage too. Look for any branches that feel limp or hollow that do not bend under gentle pressure.
  • Cut at an angle: always use sharp, clean shears and make angled cuts at free of excess leaves or stem pieces.

Repotting The Plant

Repotting your plant isn’t always necessary, but it’s a good idea to check if it’s root-bound and in need of a larger container.

  • Choose a new pot: select a pot that is 2-4 inches larger than your current pot.
  • Carefully remove your plant: gently tap the edges of the pot and pull the plant out from its current pot.
  • Add new soil: fill the new pot with fresh potting soil then place your plant in it. Backfill new soil so the plant isn’t crowded or unstable.
  • Water: water your plant slowly and let the soil absorb the water.

Treating Root Rot Or Other Diseases

Overwatering can lead to root rot, which is when the roots decay and shrivel up, leading to an unhealthy plant overall.

  • Cut away the infected roots: remove any dirt from the roots and cut off the brown, mushy roots.
  • Repot: repot the plant into a new pot with fresh soil to replace the dead ones.
  • Water less: going forward, you’ll need to monitor how much water your plant is getting. Be sure it’s not standing in water or planted in soggy soil.

Fixing your plant’s watering problems is crucial to keeping it healthy and thriving. Use these tips to identify and fix over and underwatering issues with your plants.


Understanding the signs of overwatering and underwatering in plants is crucial to their overall health and longevity. Observing the plant’s leaves, soil moisture, and root health are key indicators that can help you understand the needs of your plant. Instead of sticking to a rigid watering schedule, learn to adjust your watering habits based on the needs of each individual plant.

Overwatering and underwatering can both result in irreversible damage, so it’s important to strike a balance, providing just the right amount of water to keep your plants healthy and thriving. By paying close attention to your plants and adjusting your watering habits as needed, you can cultivate a thriving indoor or outdoor garden and enjoy the beauty of your green space for years to come.