How do I Tell if My Houseplant is Getting Too Much Water?

It may sound simple but watering your houseplant has its do’s and don’ts. Watering their plants is something many people struggle with doing correctly. This is because there are many variables that a person needs to counter to make sure the plant does not die because of excessive or insufficient water. 

Overwatering your plants is a very common issue, and almost everyone faces it. A few minor adjustments and a bit of care will help you in maintaining a healthy houseplant. From ficus to ferns, different plants have different watering needs. Plants such as pothos are fine in dry weather, whereas plants like ferns prefer maintained moisture. 

Over and under-watering might make your little friend unhappy. Finding the right watering level is crucial. Does your plant always die of overwatering? Worry not! Ride along with us and find out the amount of water your houseplant needs and various tips to keep your little friend healthy and alive!  

Signs of Excessive or Insufficient Water


A person holding a plant out of its pot with its roots visible.

The primary source of water, food, and oxygen are the roots of your plant. Where plants need water, they need oxygen as well. If the plant is drowned in water, there are chances that it might not be getting the proper amount of oxygen. Healthy soil allows the oxygen to pass the spaces between the particles of dirt. Excessive water will make the soil wet for a longer time, and due to that, the air pockets will be blocked, thus limiting the oxygen supply and causing the death of your plant. 

Brown Leaves: 

Brown leaves on a branch. 

Over and under-watering, both turn leaves brown. You can differentiate between these two by touching the leaves. If the leaves are crispy and dry, the reason might be that the plant is not getting the water it needs. If the leaves feel soft and limp to the touch, the plant is getting an excessive amount of water. 


In the cells of leaves, water pressure starts to build up if the roots are getting an excessive amount of water. The area will look like lesions, and there would be blisters as the cells will die and burst because of the roots flooded with water. Tan, brown, and white growth can be seen once these blisters erupt. 

Slow Growth:

A small plant in a white vase.

If you track your plant’s growth and find it to be slow, the chances are that you’re overwatering it. The top alerting symptoms of overwatering are slow growth and yellowish leaves. If your plant simultaneously has yellowish, old, and new leaves, you might want to take your hands off the water. 


A red ant on a green leaf.

If you see pests around your plant, it might be the perfect time to scoop things out. Pests love damp soil. You can check if your plant is infected with pests by gently shaking it out of the container and checking its roots for visible pests. Roots will look dark and feel mushy if overwatering is the issue. The plant’s soil might also give a funky sour smell as water-loving bacteria might be infecting around its roots.     

How Much Water is required?

A person watering plants with huge leaves inside a house 

Various plants have different watering requirements. If you are unsure about the water needs of your plant, take a look at nature. Popular houseplants such as philodendrons come from the world’s tropical regions where the weather is rainy almost every day. This plant species has huge leaves and requires a lot of water compared to other species such as succulents or cacti, which require little or no water. 

The time of the year has a significant impact on the growth of your plants. Your houseplants grow more in summer and spring, but their growth stops in fall and winter. If you figure out that excessive water limits your plant’s growth, you need to ease up on the water level you give your plants every day until they start growing more again. 

Best Time to Water your Plants?

Two plants with a watering can on a wooden ladder  

When you see any of the indications mentioned above, you might want to give your little buddy some water or hold the water. Don’t let them reach the point where they don’t look good at all and are about to wither. Make sure to develop the habit of checking on your plants once a week to see whether they need water. Do you keep on forgetting? Don’t worry! Several ways will help remind you to water your plants. Try placing your houseplants next to busy areas in your house like the kitchen; the chances of you remembering to water your plant are relatively higher if you carry out this step.

The best way to check if your little buddy is thirsty is to stick your finger an inch into the soil. If the soil is dry, take out the water can and hydrate your buddy. Make sure to check in a day or two for smaller houseplants. In some cases, you can take the plant out of its container for smaller houseplants and see if it requires water. If it feels comparatively light for its size, add some water, but if it feels a bit heavier than its size, you should take a break from watering them. 

The morning is preferred over the evening when it comes to watering your plants, as any splashes of water on the leaves will dry quickly in the morning compared to the evening. Also, it is vital to give water to your plants for dark rooms in the morning when watering other plants, so you don’t forget, and they don’t wither.  

How to Fix and Overwatered Plant? 

Several potted plants on a slab near the window and on stools.

Freaking out because your plant is about to die due to excessive water? Don’t worry! The chances are that there is still time left to save your little buddy. Plants dying from overwatering can be revived in some cases. You need to remove your plant from the container, remove the soggy and damaged roots from the damp soil, and place it in new and dry soil.  

You must put your plant in a place where there is good airflow and sunlight. Once you have done this, hold off watering until the soil feels dry. By doing this, your plant should show signs of recovery in a week or so. 

How to not overwater your plants in the Future? 

A person pouring water on plants from a watering can.

Since every plant requires different watering needs, it is essential to know what you have signed up for rather than drowning your plant in water. Before buying a plant, do your research on the type of plants you want to buy and what are the watering requirements. Some plants appreciate breaks between watering, and some don’t, so be careful with that. 

One of the best ways to mitigate overwatering is to install planters with drainage holes. If you don’t, excessive water will have no means of escaping, limiting the oxygen supply and causing the death of your plant. 


Knowing how to water your houseplants requires a lot of experience. The more you do it, the better you will get each time. You can master this skill by trying it on some tough species that can survive relatively easy, and do not require much care. Once you know how to water them optimally, you can move on to some challenging species, which are totally worth the effort!