Incorrect or inconsistent watering is one of the biggest causes of plant death. Maybe you’re watering too much, too little, or at the wrong time of the day. The truth is that many of us don’t really know how much water our plants need, and when they die due to our lack of knowledge, we blame their demise on our black thumbs. By understanding your mistakes, you can avoid common watering errors.


Does your plant appear wilted or have brown or yellow leaves? These changes in appearance may be caused by over-watering. Every species of plant has its own watering requirements. Therefore, it’s important to do your research to ensure that you’re not over-watering your plants. One of the most common consequences of over-watering is rot. When the roots, stem, and crown become waterlogged, these plant parts become highly susceptible to rot. Plant rot causes the infected plant to soften, the leaf tips to turn brown or yellow, and the plant to break easily. In time, the plant will die as the roots slowly decay.


While some people are guilty of over-watering their plants, others frequently under-water. Plants that are under-watered may have dried or yellowish leaves starting at the base of the plant. The plant may also show signs of wilting and slowed growth. You may also notice the soil around the plant cracking due to excessive dryness. If a plant continues to suffer the stress of under-watering, it will likely die. While water requirements vary by plant species, outdoor plants generally require more frequent watering than those kept indoors. To determine if a plant needs water, inspect the soil. Stick your finger approximately one inch into the soil. Soil that feels dry and crumbly needs water.

Watering Systems

Relying on a watering system may save you time, but an improper system can be damaging to plants. When you rely on a watering system to care for your plants, you may find that the system is over-watering or under-watering your plants. You may also run into problems with the equipment, such as failing timers, clogged nozzles, broken components, or sensor malfunctions. If you’re using watering systems on outdoor plants, you’re likely not taking into account the weather. For example, your plants don’t need to be watered on days with heavy rainfall.

Watering Times

It may seem like a good idea to give your plants a drink when the weather is hot. However, this practice can result in rapid moisture loss. When the temperature is high, you risk the water evaporating before it has the chance to soak down into the soil. To help ensure that the water absorbs well into the soil and plant roots, it’s best to water your plant in the early morning when the temperatures are at their coolest. You also want to avoid watering your plants in the evening. Although the weather may be cooler, watering later in the day can lead to fungal growth, as the sun doesn’t have the opportunity to dry up any excess moisture before nightfall.