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Durham, NC

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What to do when you forget to water your plant
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What to do when you forget to water your plant

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Anyone who has plants knows the feeling of panic when seeing your plant looking dehydrated. Maybe you were out of town for a while and when you got back you noticed your houseplant was looking droopy or your cactus looked wrinkled. Or maybe you just can’t remember the last time you watered your plant but you know it’s been way too long. 

The usual reaction is to give your plant lots of water but this can send your plants into shock!

Plants adapt to the situation that they are in so once they are dehydrated, they need to be acclimated slowly to receiving more water. It’s kind of like when you’ve been outside all day and really need some water so when you get home you chug a huge glass of water but then you feel sick to your stomach from drinking it all too fast. Instead of chugging it all at once, slowly drinking water throughout the whole day would have had much better results. 

What to do after forgetting to water your plant:

  1. First, when you notice your houseplant, cactus, or succulent is parched - don’t panic, take a deep breath, it is okay! 

Whatever you do, don’t rush to give your plants lots of extra water

  1. Give your plant less water than you normally would and slowly increase the amount of water over time to acclimate your plant back to its regular watering amount. We suggest starting with about ¼ the regular amount of water the first time you water your plant again.
  2. Wait until the next time you would regularly water your plant - usually for houseplants this is about a week and for cacti and succulents it can be anywhere from every 2-4 weeks. This time, water your plant with ½ the regular amount.
  3. Wait the normal amount of time between watering again and then give your plant its full amount of water.

What to do if you already gave your plant extra water after noticing it was thirsty:

  1. Let the soil dry out fully before the next time you water.
  2. Follow the above steps 2-5. 

It can take a little while for your plant to recover. Patience is key! Whether you are an -over or -under waterer, the goal is to be consistent with the amount of water you give your plant and how often.