Overwatering? Underwatering? What's happening with my houseplant?!

So, you most likely clicked on this article because you recently purchased a new plant, have had it for a few weeks and it now looks like this: 
or this
or this
You're like: MY PLANT IS DYING!! Its got curling leaves, brown tips, yellow, wilting leaves and you're SO confused, asking yourself
Well, as much as we don't like to admit it, we've all been there. It seems like everything is going perfect, then one day you come home and your plant looks like its on its last lifeline. But HOLD ON, don't throw it away! This is a common occurrence, especially for houseplant beginners!
So, how do you fix this and/or prevent it from happening in the first place? Well, the number one reason that houseplants are so dramatic is due to their pickiness when it comes to watering!
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"First, Make Sure The Soil Is DRY"

Knowing when and how much to water is one of THE MOST IMPORTANT things when it comes to caring for plants. Frequency and amount of water given to the plant is vital to its health and its growth. But how do you know the right time to water? That all has to do with the moisture levels of the soil and how you measure it. 
Our advice to everyone, houseplant expert or houseplant beginner, is to consistently check the soil to see the moisture level, if it is dry, then you can water thoroughly! The rough watering schedule that we give is only to give you a rough estimate of the average amount of time it takes soil to dry. Everything depends on your indoor environment so record the days you water and try to set your own schedule and DON'T water on a set schedule just because there is a schedule, blindly adding water, without checking the soil can lead to a build up of moisture and the proliferation of harmful fungus. Don't know how to tell if the soil is dry? Heres are a few ways:
  1.  Poke your finger around, about down to your knuckle, in various spots of the potting medium to feel around.
  2.  Lift the pot and mentally note the weight when the pot is very dry, slightly dry and soaked. 
  3.  Purchasing a moisture meter and sticking it around the pot in different areas (like your finger).
Now dry means that you cannot feel any moisture in the soil. That looks like soil that falls right off your finger rather than having the majority stick on to your finger.
The goal here is to make sure the top inches of the soil is DRY because when the top of the soil is dry, then the roots are ready for more water. Remember, when in doubt, wait it out. It's easier to revive a plant in drought than a plant with root rot.
Here is a quick guide summarizing most of this information, and giving perspective based on the size of the pot:
You can print this out or screenshot it and keep it to remind yourself when and how much to water on those days you're not too sure!
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"Then, Water THOROUGHLY"

It's like when you have just finished your run, you don't just take a nip sip of water, you gobble that thang down like it's the holy water that god sent ya.
The point is, since we're applying this method of "drought then water"- where we're deliberately drying out the soil between waterings, that's why when we do water, we have to be sure to WATER THOROUGHLY.
To exaggerate this, watering thoroughly should look something like keeping your plant under running water for a solid few minutes with stops in between to allow water to be soaked by the soil.
If you have a:
Small (4") plant- then that should be a good 3 minutes of running water.
Medium (6") plant- 3-5 minutes
Large (10") plant- good solid 5 minutes
Full Size (14") plant- 5-8 minutes
HUGE (17") plant- 5-8 minutes
If you don't want to make a mess, then bring your plant to an open water source like a sink or a bathtub so the excess water can drain out and not ruin your floor.
And again, this is just to show you how much water you should be putting into your plants, once you get a hang of it, you should slowly start to know how much water to give every time to keep your plants happy, usually it's a little less. And putting more doesn't mean overwatering, I'll get to that later.
Now after you're done watering, let the excess water drain out of the pot before you put the plant back in its place. And FYI, this is why you need a drainage hole.
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"Overwatering Is Caused By Frequent Watering, Not The Amount Of Watering."

The big scary word, overwatering. The word that every plant parent is afraid to hear because it is literally in every single plant care article. 
Overwater is indeed scary, and it can and does happen very easily, BUT one thing you have to know is, overwatering is caused by the plant roots not being able to breathe often because the soil around the roots are soggy and filled with water, now if that's the case for a short period of time, the plant will be fine, it only becomes a problem when it's like that ever so often.
So next time you're watering, don't be afraid to water. Remember the point of watering the plants is to soak the soil entirely, that's why we wait for the soil to dry before watering.
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We're Here To Help.

Obviously the situation we've described above may not fit every single plant. If you're still in doubt, book a meeting with our plant expert here.

Questions or comments, leave em' down below!


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