Signs that your plant needs water are:
1. The soil is dry
2. The pot is light
3. The plant is drooping
4. The leaves are wrinkle
6. The leaf tips are browning
7. The plant isn’t growing
Your plant’s soil is dry
I know I talk about moisture metres all the time, but they’re the best way for beginners to learn when to water their plants.
It would be nice if there was a universal number to water at, but different plants come from different parts of the world, and they need watering at different stages of dryness.
As a general rule of thumb:
• Water cacti and succulents when the moisture metre reads 1
• Alocasia and anthurium – 2-3
• Pothos, philodendron, monstera, syngonium, aglaonema – 2
• Ferns and Calathea – 3-4
After you become more acquainted with your plants you’ll rely less on your moisture metre, but they’re a godsend for beginners. You can buy them from Amazon for under a tenner.
Your plant feels light
Water is heavy, so there’s a distinct weight difference between wet and dry plants. After a while you’ll be able to tell if a plant needs watering just by picking it up. I know, I know, I was sceptical too, but it’s TRUE.
Your plant is drooping
If your plant is limp, a bit pale and drooping, that points to overwatering, but a plant that looks sad in posture only is probably thirsty. Again, moisture metres are invaluable for figuring out which it is, especially if you’re new to plant parenthood.
Some plants are renowned for being overdramatic when it comes to drooping. Peace lilies especially – you don’t need a moisture metre for these, just water as soon as they start to droop.
Your plant’s leaves are wrinkled
Plants with succulent leaves, such as hoya and er, succulents have wrinkled leaves in times of drought. Pothos and philodrendron also get wrinkly leaves too.
If you’re not using a moisture metre and you don’t have the pot weight think sussed yet, it’s advised that you wait until the leaves are wrinkled before you water.
Plants with succulent leaves tend to be far more tolerant of underwatering than overwatering, so waiting til their leaves are wrinkled can be good way of ensuring you’re not giving them too much water.
The leaves will plump up again pretty quickly.
Brown tips on the ends of the leaves
Crispy tips is often a sign of lack of water, but it’s more likely to be a sign that your plant needs higher humidity.
Your plant isn’t growing
In order for plants to thrive, they need plenty of light and water. Plants like succulents and cacti have a surprising capacity for water, especially in summer.
Whilst it’s true they like their soil to dry out completely, this may only take a couple of weeks when the weather is hot. It’s also important to give your plant enough water.
Make sure that the plant is thoroughly soaked, and that water is coming through the drainage hole. Remove any excess water from the saucer or drip tray, and repeat every time the soil is completely dry.
Succulents could probably survive being watered every other month and not show any ill effects, but once you start watering them more often, you’ll notice them growing much more quickly.