5 Sure Shot Signs of Underwatered Plants

Ralph Astley is a retired gardener from Philadelphia who specializes in outdoor plants and trees. With years of hands-on experience, Ralph not only cares for a diverse range of outdoor flora but also shares his extensive knowledge through well-written articles and social media posts. A trusted authority in arboriculture, he's committed to helping the community grow healthier, more robust gardens.
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Wondering what could be the best possible way to see when your green friends need water? Learn how to read Signs of Underwatering Plants!


Plants, just like humans or animals, need water to survive. Sadly, it often becomes critical for gardeners to track their requirements. To make it a little easy for you, here are the Signs of Underwatering Plants that you need to look out for.

You can tell when your plants need water using a pencil! Sounds crazy? Read here

Signs of Underwatering Plants

1. Wilting Foliage


The initial indication that shows your plant is underwatered is when it begins to wilt. This is the stage when the entire plant starts to bend down.

In the case of underwatered plants, the leaves also appear to be crisp and not limp. There are pores on the surface of leaves called stoma, which allows air to enter the plants. Due to lack of water, the leaves close their stoma to prevent evaporation which causes wilting of the plant.

Do you think your indoor plants look unhappy? Read the signs here

2. Leaves Falling Off


The lower leaves typically are the first ones to take a hit as leaves start to become dry. The tips get discolored, turn brown, and eventually fall off.

Curling up and dry edges of leaves are other signs of underwatering plants.

3. Slowdown in the Plant’s Growth


Whenever the plant’s growth looks slowed down, it could be a vital sign that it is not receiving enough water. It could be a permanent or temporary situation even, which could be reversed.

If the plant is experiencing a temporary lack of water supply, the growth may not be affected to a huge extent. If the issue is prolonged, the new leaves will grow smaller than usual.

4. Dry Soil


The best way to understand the lack of water supply to your plants is dry soil. It is no brainer that the plants would start to wilt soon and be dead. The simple way to test the soil for moisture is to feel it with your fingers.

Whenever the topsoil feels a bit dry to touch, water your plants till it starts to seep out from the drainage hole at the bottom. Wait till the topsoil goes a bit dry again and that’ll be an indication that the plant needs watering.

5. Faded Colors


When the plant is not getting proper water, then the foliage starts to fade away. This is particularly noticeable in variegated plants where you can see the colors going away. The foliage will also show signs of thinning.

What to do to Avoid Underwatering Plants?

When it comes to watering, every plant has different requirements and you cannot use “one approach fits all” in this.

  1. Always keep a close tab on the topsoil. When it feels a bit dry to touch, water the plant till it seeps out from the drainage hole at the bottom of the pot.
  2. Using a moisture meter is also a good idea to keep an eye on the water level of the growing medium.
  3. If the plant goes into shock due to the overly dry soil, then water it well and keep it away from sunlight for a few days. Place it at a spot where it gets indirect light.

What’s your birth month flower and what does it signify? Check out here!

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