is it over watered or underwatered???

tootswisc(z4/5Wi)October 23, 2006

I noticed my african violet was drooping last week. It is planted in one of those shorter tera cotta pots-I think it might be called a bulb pot or something. I always like to water av's from the bottom but for some reason this technique does not seem to work with this pot. When the leaves started to droop I worried that I might have overwatered. It was so hard for me to wait until my usual friday watering day. Fortunately, my plant needed water and on friday afternoon it looked great again. I guess I will water this plant from the top

Now that my plant collection is all in house, I am trying to figure out how to remember my watering schedule. I am thinking I should keep some sticky notes handy. How often should I water my sans, cacti, zz plant, china doll-now that's the tricky one. My thought is every other week for the sans and cacti this month, then maybe only once a month . How about my hoya's. Should I keep their scedule every week or maybe every 10 days.

I just love fussing with my plants

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
GrowHappy(z7 MD)

Hi Toots,

Generally, plants need less water in the winter when they are not actively growing. You should use your finger to measure moisture rather than trying to adhere to a schedule. The conditions in your home will play a large part in this. Your plants will tell you when they are thirsty.

I water my Sans, MAYBE, once a month during the winter. I don't have any experience overwintering desert cacti, but know that they need even less water. Some folks don't water their desert cacti at all during the winter months and they are very happy!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 8:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't water to a schedule! Water when the plants need it, and you have to learn to 'read' them for that. Why would you wait til Friday to water if your plant looked bad?

    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 9:09AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Diane,

It appears that you have already answered your question. Since watering the plant caused the wilting to stop. It needed water.

This is a good time though to talk about under watering and overwatering African violets for those who don't know the difference. It's actually quite simple. If the plant is limp and the soil is dry then it is a lack of water. If the plant is limp and the soil is wet it is being overwatering and, in the case of an African violet, drastic measures need to be taken. If an African violet is limp and the soil is wet it probably means that the African violet is suffering from root rot. Root rot can kill a violet in a matter of days.

If indeed you think you have root rot go over to the African violet forum and look at the FAQs page. There you'll find one for handling root rot. If it's not clear what you should do then post the question over on the African violet forum and several people there will be willing to walk you through the process of saving your plant.


    Bookmark   October 23, 2006 at 7:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Lucy, the AV fills the pot so it is hard to feel the soil. I really do not want to over water. I am basically a space cadet....Sticking to the water on Friday plan works for me. I figured my AV wouldn't die if underwatered for a couple of days in contrast to the problems of overwatering. There are a few plants that I water more frequently and then many plants that are on the water less and less schedule. It is just so hard for me to not water them.

Larry, I think I told you about the last AV that I had that was murdered by a worm like creature. It was so sad and it has taken me a long time to get another AV. I really should get bunches of them like you have but I am trying to keep my plant numbers down.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 10:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have bunches of them? I have one (tho' have had more in the past). The problem with your sched. is that at diff. times of the year (as the plant gauges by available hrs and intensity of light) it will need water more often, and less often, and continuing rigid timing regardless of that (and whether it's slightly rootbound or not, etc.) is stressful to the plant. That's all. In bonsai, many people keep an unvarnished chopstick deep in the soil halfway between the plant and pot, lifting it out daily (or so) like a dipstick to check for dryness. It might look a bit weird on an AV, but a supply of popsicle sticks could suffice (they won't last long being wet all the time) and would solve the problem of digging in 'new' each time. Or learn to tell the difference in the pot's weight with and without water.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 7:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Maybe I can pick up a few more pointers here. I have used the water every friday routine for several years with a fair amount of success. I think I would like to maintain a collection of plants that will fit this schedule. And that is what I have done. Most plants that liked to be watered more frequently bite the dust in my house. And then there are many of my collection that like to be watered less frequently. Don't your african violets do pretty good on a weekly schedule. I like to water my plants really good so that the water runs thru. Plants that need watering every 3 and 1/2 days fit somewhat. And I just love those that go 10 days and even better 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 8:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Watering is tricky for av's because they don't normally wilt. Perhaps you would be better able to deal with a plant type which is more expressive of its watering needs--some plants will wilt much earlier and much more visibly when they need water than violets.
The other thing I think of is the pot type--did you mean unglazed terra cotta? I ask because terra cotta soaks up moisture too. If so, you'd need to allow extra for the pot when watering. Speaking of which, I think I have a couple mini pepers which probably need watering...

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 5:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Toots, I agree w/everyone here that you shouldn't plan watering via a schedule..It's best to wait until soil drys.
Though I agree plants need less water in winter, it depends where one lives.
For ppl who reside in cold climates and require heating homes in winter, soil has a tendency to dry out quicker.
Even w/a humidfier and 2 fountains, my soil drys out fast in witner, especially plants in pots less than 6".
When I first started growing plants, many moons ago, I had a regular watering day, too..ironically it was also Fri..what's it about Fris? LOL
Only after reading numerous plant books, and experimenting, I finally stopped Fri waterings..After yrs of growing plants, you pretty much get a feel of when to water. Just looking at the soil tells me. STill, in many cases, especially with pots over 10", I test the soil.
Now I can see scheduling's very important. I keep a journal and write the time and plants fed. Toni

    Bookmark   November 8, 2006 at 6:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

So how many days a week do y'all water? Are you sticking your fingers in plants everyday. How do you remember which plant you watered...when. Fortunately, I have many sans, succulants and cacti. Then there are plants like hoyas-how often do you water them-certainly not more often then weekly.

What percentage of your plants need to be watered more frequently then weekly.

Then there is my wonderful ZZ plant that the plant guy said neglect it as much as you possibly can

How often should I water my orchid that finally has a mitten shaped spike...yippee. I recently read that I should not fertilize a blooming orchid. Does that mean That I should stop fertilizing now.

    Bookmark   November 9, 2006 at 11:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
GrowHappy(z7 MD)

Honestly, Toots, I can't tell you how many times a week I water. I know how long it takes each pot to dry out, so I check them based on that. Of course, if a plant looks like it's beginning to wilt, I give it a good drink. I'm more on the other end of the spectrum, in comparison to you. I err on the side of dryness.

I don't grow many Hoyas, but there are two which like more water than most other hoyas: Lacunosa and Multiflora. Generally, most Hoyas don't like a lot of water. A lot of this will also depend on what kind of soil you are growing your plants in. Is it fast-draining or heavy and water retentive? Are you growing in clay pots or plastic pots? Clay dries faster than plastic. Is your house really dry? If so, your plants may need to be watered more often. Do you use humidifiers, which add moisture to the air? If so, you may need to water less. There's lots of factors to consider so there is no straight forward answer.

I have several orchids, but am far from being even close to an expert. In fact, I'm fairly new to them. What species of orchid are growing? What kind of medium are you growing them in? I grow my Phals in a bark based mix that includes hort. charcoal and perlite. Two of them are in plastic pots and one of them is in a clay pot. I stick my finger down in the mix to see if it's moist. If it is, I'll wait a day or two. Ya just have to be very careful with orchids- they can rot very easily. I grow my Paphs in Pro-Mix, but the pots have the slits in them, so air is circulating around the roots. My Oncidium is growing in what looks like Pro-Mix(haven't repotted it since I bought it this Spring). My Zygo and Alcra. are growing in pure bark, so they have to be watered a couple of times a week. I fertilize weakly/weekly with each watering for my orchids.

AVs- I can't even tell you how often I water those. I usually just take the plant out of the pot and check the roots. If it's dry, I water well. As a previous poster has stated, they don't wilt when they're dry, so there's no obvious indication that they need it.

I hope all of this has been helpful to you Toots. I think you can see that there is no hard and fast answer on when to water. There are several factors you have to consider.


    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 12:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You think I would be a better figure outer when it comes to watering as I have had a houseful of plants for several years now. Seldom do I lose a plant, knock on wood, but the ones that aren't thriving probably are the ones that don't like scheduled watering. My China doll won't grow compact branches, I have a large leaf ivy that looks great for the most part but has not grown much, I can't keep my begonia rex looking healthy unless it is in an aquarium, I can't get my hoyas to flower, my draceana looks a bit spindly, and a large leaf philo is also a bit of a concern-it just does not look happy to me at times despite being an eye catcher to most house visitors and I used that farfal(sp) potting soil that people talk about here when I repotted.

I lift my pots, stick my fingers in them (but I think my fingers must be fatter than yours) use chop sticks, and now plan to pop a few out of their pots. I like being an underwaterer and my fear is that I will drown a few if I walk around every day with a watering can in hand!

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 8:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
notanatural(z6 NY)

Toots, when I started out with plants last year, I too was watering on a schedule- and writing them down.

Now, after going through my first season changes with my houseplants, I realize that it is impossible to keep to a schedule as they dry out at different times depending on so many different factors.

I do however, constantly need to stick my finger in the soil to test it. I sometimes feel it's not so good for the plant roots, to do that all the time but I am not experienced enough to tell just visually. And I'm also paranoid about drowning my plants because that is the first lesson I learned when I started coming to this forum last year- about the same time I got my first plants.

I walk around with a watering can every day, stick my finger in and try to resist watering as long as I can. I always tell myself- wait one more day! Only the hibs, I never resist.

I only keep a schedule when I'm gone on vacation and have DH or someone come in to water them. I put numbers on post-its on each pot, which indicate how often they need to be watered.

    Bookmark   November 10, 2006 at 9:42AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
A lighter gritty mix and a 5-1-1 question
Hey, So I love gritty mix and only have a few plants...
Help with poinsettia :(
Hello everyone, I really need help with a poinsettia...
Only 1/2 of a schefflera remaining...
4 years ago, I adopted this schefflera from a bank...
What kind of plant is this?
I recently purchased a houseplant from b&q but...
What is the difference between solid green and Hawaiian spider plant?
Hi everyone, i'm in the market for a solid green spider...
Diana Kilgannon
Sponsored Products
Shires Equestrian Argentinian Mullen Mouth Pelham Bit - 6321-4.5
$33.99 | Hayneedle
Brown Jordan Chairs Vineyard Patio Motion Lounge Chair in Denim with Bazaar
Home Depot
Hopson Bench - Key Largo Graphite Brown
Joybird Furniture
Glasgow Large Gold and White Opalescent Outdoor Pendant
$602.00 | Bellacor
Gardenfall Dark Copper-Bronze Mirror Indoor/Outdoor Fountain
Lamps Plus
Rory Ivory Table Lamp
$261.80 | Bellacor
Nantucket Tall Tapered Planter
Grandin Road
Nourison Indoor/Outdoor Nourison Rugs Siam Beige 2 ft. 3 in. x 7 ft. 6 in.
Home Depot
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™