4 Signs of an Underwatered Palm Tree and How to Save It

Palm trees are beautiful additions to any home, but they’re also notoriously finicky. They require daily watering and regular pruning if you want them to grow well and look healthy.

In this article, you’ll learn how to recognize the signs of an underwater palm tree and what to do to save it from dying.

6 Signs of an Underwatered Palm Tree And How to Save It
Photo by David J. Stang, CC BY-SA 4.0

If you’re not sure whether your palm tree is getting the right amount of water or if it’s being underwatered, here are some signs that will help you determine whether your palm needs more water or less.

Signs Your Palm Tree Needs More Water

1. The Fronds or Stems on Your Palm Tree Are Turning Brown

Brown fronds on your palm tree mean there isn’t enough moisture in the soil for those fronds to develop correctly.

This can happen if you overfertilize or underwater your plant, but it’s usually due to a lack of irrigation during dry periods in winter when plants need more water than usual.

You must water every few days during these times so that these fronds don’t turn brown and fall off prematurely.

2. No New Growth on Your Tree

If you’re seeing little or no new growth on your palm tree, it could be a sign of underwatering.

This is especially true if the fronds have no green coloring and the trunk appears dry.

Palms need regular watering to stay healthy and grow properly, so if no new leaves are emerging from the center of your palm tree, it’s likely that you’re not watering it enough.

3. Dry Soil

One of the easiest ways to tell if your palm trees need water is by gently digging around the soil with your fingers.

If the first three or four inches of dirt feel cool and moist, give your palms another week or two before watering again.

However, if the soil feels dry and crumbly, it’s time to give your palms some water!

4. Receded Trunk

When a palm is well-hydrated, its root system will grow outwards and down into the soil to anchor itself and provide stability for the tree.

If you notice that the trunk has receded from its base, this may indicate insufficient palm tree watering.

If your palm tree shows any signs of dehydration, it’s crucial to take action immediately.

Palm trees are sensitive to environmental changes and can die if they don’t receive the right amount of water. If your palm is dehydrated, it is still possible to save it.

How to Keep Your Palm Tree From Dying

You can save an underwatered palm tree with a little care, time, and attention.

You need to give it water very slowly so you don’t shock it with too much water at once or risk getting root rot. Water it just until you see drops of water draining out of the bottom of the pot.

Place the pot in a warm room with bright, indirect light. The palm will thrive in temperatures between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your house is cooler than that, you can place it near a warm window or on a tabletop heater to give it some extra warmth. You’re essentially recreating their native, tropical environment.

Then, leave it alone for a few days while it recovers from being underwatered. Additionally, make sure not to water it again for at least three days.

If you continue to see signs of dehydration or wilting, check the soil around the base of your palm tree. If it’s still dry, give it more water.

Once your palm tree has recovered from being underwatered, make sure that you keep up with regular watering routines so that this doesn’t happen again!

Indoor Palm Tree Care Tips


There are many different ways to water a palm tree, but there is one method that all experts agree on. Watering a palm tree correctly will prevent it from getting sick and dying.

The best time to water a palm tree is in the morning before the sun gets too hot. Water when the soil feels dry on top.

You can test it by pressing down on the top of the soil with your finger; if it pops back up easily, it’s too dry. Water deeply until water flows out of the bottom of the pot or until it drains from its holes.

An indoor palm tree like the parlor palm, ponytail palm, or Pygmy Date Palm should be watered twice to thrice per week when the first one to two inches of soil is dry.

If you’re unsure if it needs water or forget what day you watered it last, always check the soil. If it’s dry, give it a drink. If there’s still a bit of moisture in it, wait until the next scheduled watering day.

You might think otherwise, but watering a palm tree is easy. You just have to ensure that you are doing it correctly so your plant does not die from lack of moisture or too much sun!

Setting a watering schedule is a foolproof way of ensuring your palms get water when needed.


To keep your indoor palm tree healthy, water it properly and fertilize it regularly.

You should also protect your palm from pests and insects. If you want to keep your palm tree indoors for a long time, prune it regularly.

Leaf Checks

To ensure your palm is healthy, you should check its leaves regularly. The first thing to look at is their color.

If they have yellow or brown spots on them, then they are probably going to fall off soon. The next thing to look at is the edges of the leaves because they can tell you if the plant needs more water or not.

If they are curling down, then it’s time to water your plant again. But if they are curling up, your plant has gotten enough water and doesn’t need any more.