As responsible plant parents, it’s always important to keep your houseplants happy, healthy, and well-watered. Plants are like us, they need food and water to flourish. So, what happens to your houseplants if you don’t water them for a week? This helpful article will give you the answers you’re looking for.
A lot of things can lead to you neglecting your houseplants. A vacation or a really busy week at work, you name. Any number of things can lead to you not taking proper care of your houseplants.
Here are our top tips if your plants have gone without water for a whole week.
Before we go into more detail, here’s the basics:
"If you’ve neglected your indoor plants for a week, bottom watering is the best way to revive them. Sometimes, it can take up to four weeks for a plant to completely recover from under-watering. After a period of drought, only water your houseplant when the soil feels dry, and don’t overcompensate by adding too much water which may result in a waterlogged plant and root rot."
Hopefully, those tips provide you with some quick answers. But of course, there’s more to it, then just that.
We’ve also got some great houseplant suggestions if you’re someone who is away regularly or doesn’t want the obligation of having to water frequently. We’ll be giving your some great suggestions later in the post.
Plants Without Water For A Week or More!
It’s important not to leave plants without water for a week or more. So let’s briefly go over why it’s important to water plants regularly.
Why Is It Important To Water Plants Regularly?
Regular watering is essential for soil to retain its important moisture content but this of course depends on the type of plant.
For instance, succulents and air plants only require watering once or twice a week. A thirsty begonia who needs well-draining soil will probably need regular top-ups daily.
It’s no surprise that flowers, fruits, and seeds need regular water to develop to their potential.
Regular watering adds important moisture to help germinate seeds.
Under very dry conditions seeds will not germinate. It’s important to give them enough water to be absorbed by their roots to grow and thrive.
As water is added to your plant it will aide in transporting nutrients around the plant. Water also helps to help keep plants free from frost and helps to regulate hot air currents.
"Flowers, fruits, and seeds need regular water to develop to their potential."
What Are The Signs Of A Plant That Hasn’t Been Watered For A Week?
In most cases, plants will struggle if they haven’t been watered for a week.
As we mentioned earlier, there are some types of plants that do thrive in deserts and hot climates that are designed for periods of drought. So in those cases, a week of not watering is less likely to affect those varieties negatively.
If you haven’t watered their more thirsty cousins for a week, you might go see signs of under-watering.
This essentially happens when the soil has been left dry for too long.
You might start to see some or all of the signs below if you haven’t watered your plants for a week:
- Very dry clumpy soil: If you notice the soil pulling away from the sides of the pot this means that your plant does not have enough waters. It is also an indication that the pot is too small for your plant and it might be time to upgrade to a larger pot.
- Leaf tips turning brown: If you notice the ends of leaves becoming brown or yellow, it’s probably a result of not watering them for a week. However, this can get a bit tricky because brown tips can also be a sign of overwatering. So you will have to be the best judge of whether it’s an under-watering or over-watering problem. We recommend sticking a moisture meter into the soil. This will help determine if the soil is overly dry or wet.
- Falling leaves: When a plant that needs water more frequently hasn’t been watered you may notice a few fallen leaves sitting on the top of the soil.
- Wilting of stems and leaves: If you notice stems becoming bent or leaves that look lifeless and drooping, this is a tell-tale sign that you have under-watered the plant.
Here’s the good news, it’s usually a much better outcome if you’ve forgotten or you’ve been unable to water your plants for a week, than if you’ve overwater them.
Most plants which require water more frequently are far more likely to recover if you’ve been a little neglectful rather than too heavy-handed with the watering can!
The main reason under-watering is better than over-watering is that waterlogged roots are really difficult to rectify and in the worst cases, absolutely impossible. If the root rot can be treated it will take a lot longer to nurse your houseplant back to health than if you’ve forgotten or not been able to water your plant collection for a week.
If you have not watered your plant for over a week and even if the leaves on your plants are wilting, as long as the soil is still fairly soft, the plant should recover fairly quickly. If the soil has gone onto the ‘crunchy’ stage, with crispy leaves, the prognosis is probably not good, and, likely, you won’t be able to revive the plant.
Is There Anything I Shouldn't Do After A Week of Underwatering a Plant?
If you want to revive a plant that’s not had a drink for a week then:
- Never add fertilizer: Do not add any type of fertilizer if you haven’t watered your plant in over a week, especially if your plant is showing some of the above signs. You’ll burn your plant. Once you see signs the plant is starting to revive then and only then can you add a general water-soluble fertilizer to give it a helping hand. We love Instant Plant Food. It comes in super easy tablets that dissolve into the soil. Pro tip: make sure your houseplant container has good drainage.
- Don’t remove all the leaves: Snip away some of the brown leaves, but be sure to leave some of the leaves which will help the plant absorb and process light.
- Don’t water your plant at night: Plants that sit in water all night are more susceptible to diseases.
- Don’t allow your plants to sit in water: Make sure drainage is adequate and watch out for plants sitting in a pool of water. Most plants don’t like wet feet.
How Do I Treat Plants That Haven’t Been Watered For A Week?
If you have left your plant without water for a week, then bottom watering is the best way to revive it.
Bottom watering is exactly how it sounds, you add water to a bowl or deep plate/dish and then place the base of your plant into the water and allow the plant to drink water from the bottom up. This obviously will not work if the base of your pot or vessel is missing a drainage hole.
Your plant should sit in water for around 30 minutes or less. Allowing your plant to sit in water for longer than 30 minutes will cause more problems than it will solve.
So as we said previously in this article, some plants will not only survive a week of not watering, they actually prefer it. However, make sure you are taking proper care of all your houseplants, as each plant has different watering needs.