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More plants die through either overwatering or underwatering than any other single cause. Roots need air as well as water. Waterlogging kills by preventing air getting to the roots. Many plants can and need to dry down between waterings. If leaves show signs of needing a drink, a thorough watering is all they need to perk back up. They should not be left sitting in leftover runoff for more than an hour.

There are certain plants that cannot tolerate dryness. If these plants are allowed to become bone dry, they are often toast. If you are not sure it is dead, water thoroughly and remove runoff after an hour. If the plant is still alive, you will see signs of life within a few days.

Pot size, type and soil medium will effect the amount and frequency of watering. Generally, clay or other porous pots will require more frequent watering as will plants that are rootbound or in small pots. Porous, sandy soils also drain faster and require water more often. Heavier soils or mixes that contain water-retaining ingredients such as gels hold water and may not need to be watered quite as much.

These factors are also inter-related to light, heat and humidity levels. Bright light, warm temperatures and low humidity are conditions that cause a plant to dry faster. Bright light and warm temperatures excellerate the plant's metabolism. It grows faster and uses more resources. Conversely, low light conditions and cooler temperatures mean less water is needed. Metabolism is slowed, growth is slower and fewer resources (i.e. water) are required.

The trick is to keep a balance. Check plants before watering them to make sure they are getting what they need when they need it. If a plant looks like it is dry, but the soil is still moist and the pot feels heavy it may just need time to rehydrate or it may need to be drained. If it still looks droopy, there may be damage to the roots from being waterlogged. If possible, remove root mass from pot and drain on paper towels. Repot into fresh, moist soil. Keep the plant in moderately bright light and room temperatures until it recovers. Water sparingly when the soil is dry to the touch. This treatment will stimulate the plant to grow new roots to replace the damaged ones.