Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Novice cannabis growers usually do not have an appropriate schedule in place to water their cannabis plants. Cultivators get busy and forget to water their cannabis plants or they are simply oblivious of proper watering practices. It is difficult to determine how much water the plant needs as there is no table to refer to. This often results in the cannabis plant being underwatered. Although it is a prominent issue, underwatered plants can be easily rescued once the problem is accurately identified.
This article will help you keep your plants healthy by helping you identify signs of your plant being underwatered. It will also help you save your plant with tips and tricks that are guaranteed to work. Do not give up if your plant looks droopy and unhealthy, there is still hope.
Symptoms of Underwatering
Before starting any treatment, it is important to be certain of the problem. One method that never fails is to just examine your plant. Examining your plant daily will not only identify the problem early on but will also help you avoid many problems altogether. Underwatering, root rot and overwatering have many similar symptoms therefore it is necessary to rule out other problems. Check your plant for these signs to correctly determine the issue:
Look at the Plant
Look at your cannabis plant closely. If it looks droopy and wilted, there is a high chance that it is underwatered. A lifeless and dull-looking plant can be a pointer that your plant is not being watered properly but this alone will not help identify the issue.
Look at the Leaves
Plants can look droopy for a number of reasons but one major sign of the plant being underwatered is thin leaves. Touch the leaves to check if they are dry, papery, brittle, and thin. This is a telling sign that your plant is in dire need of proper moisture. Opposed to thin and papery leaves, overwatered plants have plump leaves. Yellowing of leaves as if they are nutrient deficient in addition to being thin and brittle is a strong pointer of your plant being underwatered.
Look at the Growing Medium
Take a look a the growing medium to see if it is dry. The top layer of the growing medium being bone dry is another major sign. Stick your finger in the medium to check if it is dry underneath the top layer. If it is dry an inch down, there is a high probability that roots have dried out. In severe cases, you may notice that the area around the plant is separated from the rest of the growing medium because it is extremely dry.
Causes of Underwatering
The cause of underwatering is simply not providing enough water to the plant. Plants do not absorb all water at once from the medium. The roots absorb water from the soil and that water is used for different processes including transpiration which means evaporation of water from the leaves. In simple words, plants lose water and then roots absorb it from the medium. If the medium is dry, the plant cannot have the water that it needs for numerous vital processes. This results in the plant getting weak and eventually dying. It is important for the growing medium to contain and hold enough water for the plant to absorb and re-absorb. That is only possible if the plant is fed an adequate amount of water.
Growers may forget to water the plant or may not have a proper schedule. They may not consider the weather and temperature when watering the plant, for instance, the plant needs more water in hot weather. Some growers tend to underwater their plants to avoid overwatering and get too far ahead. It is appropriate to say that the problems stem from being oblivious of proper watering practices. Although chronic underwatering is relatively easy to treat, it is better to avoid the problem altogether by adopting good watering practices.
Tips to Avoid the Problem
Learning to water your cannabis plant properly can be a lifesaver for the plant. These tips will help you become an expert:
Slowly dig your finger into the growing medium about 1-inch deep. If the growing medium seems dry, it is time to water the plant. Keep adding more water until the extra water starts to run off. Cannabis plants may need to be watered every 2 to 3 days. This technique will help you make a watering schedule. If the medium seems to dry within a day, it simply means you are underwatering the plant.
Another renowned technique is to lift the pot. The pot will be lighter if your cannabis plant has absorbed all the moisture from the soil and is waiting for you to water it again.
These techniques will make you proactive and help you develop a watering schedule but if the problem has already occurred and your plant looks weak and unhealthy, you can still save it.
Treating an Underwatered Cannabis Plant
The best solution to save an underwatered plant is to just revive it by watering it. It is as simple as that. As you water your plant, pay attention to the growing medium and keep an eye on it. If it dries up fast, add more water until you see extra water running off. Change the amount of water you feed based on the temperature. Once you start watering your plant properly and make a schedule, you will see that your plant is looking healthy again. If the plant is just thirsty and does not have any other underlying problem, you should see improvement pretty fast after watering the plant properly.
If you tend to forget watering your cannabis plant, now is the time to set a timer with a reminder on your phone. You may also purchase a moisture meter to keep track of the soil’s moisture levels. You may not become perfect at watering right away, but you will certainly get better at it. Give you plant some love and let it thrive!