Look What Happens When You Don’t Water Plants

Hi Judy,

We are looking after a friend’s apartment with lots of plants – and although we followed her instructions on watering them once every fortnight – a few of them seem to be on their way to plant heaven. Neither of us have a very good track record with keeping plants healthy – they always seem to die on us, but we are not sure what we’re doing wrong. The hanging plants look dull and droopy with some leaves yellowing and others brown and lifeless, while the non-hanging plant (second photo with the big seed) is still green but leaves totally dry, brittle and they crackle and fall apart to the touch. Please help!

Hi Tom,

I think the plants are extremely under-watered (which is much better than being over watered). The two hanging plants in first picture are a pothos and a spider plant. You need to take them down and put them in the sink. Take them out of their saucers.  Water them really well until the water comes out the bottom drip holes. Let them sit 15 minutes then water them a second time. They should perk up by the next day. You may get a few yellow leaves, but the plants should survive.

The plant with the seed is an avocado plant. It too looks like it really needs water. You may have to cut off the top half of the stem. Once you water it really well as you did with the first 2 plants, the roots should survive and new growth start to develop in a few weeks.

I cannot tell what the last picture is. I need a close up of the leaves to identify it, but you need to do the same thing with this plant. Put it in the sink and drown it a few times. It should perk up. Once you have re-hydrated the soil in all of the plants, water again when the top 50% of the soil has totally dried out, it should be in about 7-10 days. Let me know what happens.