What are these leaves telling me?

Asked April 8, 2020, 7:16 PM EDT

Hello, am I watering this too much not enough or is my plant getting too much sun? I have it by the east window on the south side of my house and I try to use rain water or water that I leave out overnight.

New York County New York

1 Response

Hello, and thank you for contacting eXtension about your houseplant. Underwatering and overwatering often give the same symptoms so it is difficult to tell without inspecting the plant. But by far, the most common problem with houseplants is overwatering.

The easiest way to determine whether the plant needs water is to stick your finger into the soil down to the first joint. If the soil is dry at that level, it is safe to water.

From your photos, I cannot tell what kind of drainage arrangement you have. A common mistake is allowing the pot to sit in excess water. Raise the pot over the drainage dish so the excess water does not touch the pot. (I comb the thrift stores for trivets or candle holders for this purpose.)

One other point I'd like to mention is that we no longer recommend putting any kind of drainage material in the pot itself such as stone, marbles, or packing peanuts. The pot should contain only the plant and good potting soil that allows proper aeration. Anything else merely uses up space that the plant roots need and actually causes the soil to hold excess moisture.