Watering House Plants: How to Water Your Plants Correctly

Watering house plants can be a task many get frustrated and confused by. When to water, how to water, how much water is needed… If only plants could speak to let us know what is the right approach! Too bad it does not work that way. It’s on us, the plant owners, to figure it out, and in most cases, it’s a matter of trial and error along with some knowledge from more experienced plant owners.

As a plant owner, no doubt, you just want what is best for your plants so they look beautiful and healthy and thrive for a long time so you can enjoy them.

So, we’ve put together answers to the most common questions that are asked about watering house plants. Using these factors will ensure healthy vibrant plants.

watering house plants

How often should I water my indoor plants?

In mother nature plants are at the mercy of the elements. Whenever it rains it rains, and that’s when the plants are watered. This could mean plants are watered extensively for a long period of time, or they can go for days and months without watering.

This knowledge can help to ease your worries about watering your plants, but it doesn’t really help with knowing how often to water your indoor plants, right?

So, how often should you water your house plants?

Depending on the type, size, pot size and location of the plant will depend on the amount of water it needs. As a guide, most houseplants will need watering every 1 to 3 weeks. It’s a good idea to monitor the soil moisture of the plant rather than sticking to a rigid schedule.

To avoid over watering, try feeling the soil and if it’s damp then it’s good to be left for a few more days. If the top two inches of the soil is dry, then it probably needs watering. Checking the soil will help stop a common mistake plant owners make which is over watering. Over watering a plant will harm if not kill the plant if done over and over.

By constantly adding water when the plant has not yet absorbed the existing water in the soil, the roots will be smothered and it will cause the plant to drown. If you come back to water again and the top soil is still wet don’t water, just wait for it to dry up a bit.

watering house plants

how much water to use when watering house plants

The amount of water you give your house plants is a very important detail when caring for your plants. For a simple to follow general rule use about 1/3 to 1/4 of the pot’s volume for the amount of water being added. Of course, the type of plant species will surely impact the volume of water.

Whether it is a jungle, desert, forest, tropical plant and so on will greatly determine the amount of water being added.

Knowing how much water each type of plant likes will help know how much to give it and how often.

Remember, most indoor plant owners don’t neglect their plants enough for them to die, it’s actually from too much water too frequently that is the most common killer of house plants. You’ve loved it to death!

Temperate climate plants such as Peace Lilies are probably the most straight forward in regards to knowing how much water to give it. They require about 2 inches of watering only once per week. Again, simply touching the top of the soil is enough to determine whether or not more water needs to be added or not.

For desert plants, such as succulents and cacti, they, of course, require a different amount of watering. They will usually need one heavy watering once every one to two weeks. Due to the natural environment of plants like cactus rainwater doesn’t stick around long and doesn’t come often. So they’ve adapted to suck up as much as possible in one sitting. It is also important to replicate a desert type environment with very permeable soil allowing water to drain quicker than dirt and not suffocate the plant.

When dealing with tropical plants such as Monstera Deliciosa or Fiddle Leaf Figs,  it’s important to replicate and follow seasonal patterns for the amount of watering. An easy way to get to know how much water a tropical plant needs is to get used to the weight of the pot when it is fully watered. Depending on the species, this will vary but you’ll quickly know when it’s getting dry by the feel of the pot. When the pot becomes lighter, the plant needs some water.

Keep in mind that tropical plants suck up water faster than most due to the very humid and hot climates they’re from and they often grow much faster as well.

Don’t forget that the changing seasons, the location of the plant, the temperature of the room and how much sunlight the plant gets will all influence the amount of water that it requires. So keep this in mind.

watering house plants

What time should I water my indoor plants?

The best time to water your plants is when they are dry! Ha! That’s not what you were asking, was it! What time of day is the best time to water your plants is the real question here, am I right?

This is a good question!

The best time in general, is during the morning. Due to the natural process that takes place called photosynthesis, its ideal plants have water stores ready to go before the sun even rises. If the sun is at full force then the water will likely evaporate and never reach the plant in the first place.

For plants that don’t get many hours of sunlight in nature, the mornings are also ideal because the water may evaporate from the soil allowing for drier soil if the species requires it.

If a plant needs misting then the best plan of action is to mist in the mornings in addition to the evenings. Plants like ferns require misting due to living in a naturally damp environment on forest floors. Doubling up in the morning and evening means plants that need extra moisture are sure to get it and not dry up.

How Do I Actually Water My House Plants?

Another good question. What may seem so simple is actually more important than you think. How you provide the water to the plant is vital to your plant’s health and longevity. Some plants won’t mind if you just soak the soil in a lot of water, while other plants will require a more delicate approach.

Consider using techniques like watering from above, watering from below, soaking the leaves and misting the leaves. It can make a difference to the health of your plant.

Pouring water directly from above onto the soil is a good approach for tropical plants. It’s the most straightforward method of watering. Directly onto the soil. Try not to dump the water on so fast that it moves the soil away from the roots or spills out of the side.

Watering plants from the bottom is good for plants that don’t like having their leaves wet. Wetting these types of plants may result in damage or killing the plant. Just go below the plant directly into the soil to avoid hitting any foliage. This means simply filling the saucer the pot is sitting in and allowing the roots to suck up the water as needed.

Misting is a good watering method for indoor ferns. Plants that benefit from misting have aerial roots that absorb water through the air, not the soil. By spraying water droplets with a sprayer onto the leaves directly, you can keep the leaves healthy and plant well-watered.

Soaking is another watering method and great for air plants. And soaking is just that. Soak your air plant in a tub of water (or in your kitchen sink) for about an hour or so. Tap water or rainwater is fine. After a period of time, drain the water from the plant and put it back in its position. Make sure they are fully dry within 4 hours or so or you risk them rotting. In addition to soaking, air plants will benefit from a good misting 2 to 3 times per week.

When it comes to watering house plants, If you follow these guidelines, you can rest easy knowing that your plants are thriving and will give you enjoyment for many years to come. If you find issues such as drooping leaves or brown spots, sure as eggs, it will probably mean it’s not happy with the amount of water it is getting. So continue to adjust your watering habits until your plant recovers.

Getting to know your plants and what works well for each one will ensure you are watering them just right and not under or over watering.

Happy watering!

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