Saving Plants from Overwatering or Underwatering

Plants need three basic things to grow: sunlight, water, and nutrients. When any of those components is out of balance growth will negatively be affected, and the plant will suffer. A common problem many homeowners face is making sure their plants are watered correctly. Water is an important component in many processes that occur within the plant, but both overwatering and underwatering can cause big problems.

Problems with Overwatering or Underwatering

Plants need water for many of the biological processes that occur within their cells. Much of this water is taken in through the roots from the soil.  

Overwatering is a problem because it starves the roots of much-needed oxygen.

Open space between soil particles is occupied by both water and air. When there is too much water applied to the soil it pushes air out of this free space, completely filling it with water instead. In essence, the plant’s roots can’t “breathe” and drown.

Underwatering slows down, or may even completely stop, photosynthesis, a process where water and carbon dioxide product glucose within the leaves of the plant.

How to Tell if Plants are Overwatered or Underwatered

The big challenge is that symptoms of incorrectly watering your plants are similar whether you’re giving them too much water, or not providing enough. You have to look closely at the plant and the soil to determine which condition is the cause of the symptoms being exhibited.

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