Beginner's Guide on How to Water Houseplants Correctly
Follow our guide on how to water houseplants. Important: make sure the planter has drainage holes to avoid damp that can create root rot.
Your houseplants are more likely to die from overwatering than underwatering, but that doesn’t mean that you always have to give them too little water. It sounds complicated, huh? Because sometimes, watering your houseplants can be a problem, particularly for beginners or new plant parents. There are so many variables that you need to consider and watch out for, such as how much water each houseplant needs, how often, and when to water, especially during this fall season.
Also, let’s not forget the houseplant’s distance from windows or sources of light, humidity, temperature, and vents. For example, houseplants in higher temperatures or under intense light may need more water. Meanwhile, you need to check the soil of your bathroom and kitchen plants before watering again since these rooms have higher humidity.
Learning how to water houseplants is one of the most important tasks to avoid problems like dried out leaves or root rot. Plus, improper watering stresses houseplants. So when is the right time to water houseplants?
When to Water Houseplants?
The best time to water houseplants is when the soil is completely dry, or the top inch of the soil is dry. To do this, stick your finger about an inch into the soil mix. If it feels dry, your houseplant needs a drink. We would advice you to check if you see any wilting leaves, but sometimes, wilting leaves can be a sign of overwatering, specifically mushy leaves. If the leaves are turning brown and crunchy, it’s time to water your houseplants.
We highly recommend that you make it a habit to check on your houseplants at least once a week. You can also create a watering schedule if you have a lot of houseplants. This will remind you when to water your houseplants. Another advice is to water your houseplants in the morning because the morning sun will dry out any splashes on the leaves.
How Much to Water Your Houseplants
We receive this question a lot, and our answer is simple: get to know your plant, and it will tell you the answer you’re looking for. Generally, indoor plants fall into one of five categories:
- Grows in standing water: Umbrella Plant
- Likes evenly moist soil: Prayer Plant
- Likes the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. Also, it needs to be watered well: Dumb Cane and Pothos
- Likes the soil to dry out between waterings: Air Plant, Aloe Vera, Cacti & Succulents, and Jade Plant
- Likes to be watered into a rosette of leaves: Bromeliad
If your houseplant falls into one of these categories, then you already have an idea of how much water it needs. Additionally, the time of year can make a difference, too. Now that the fall season is here, the weather is starting to get cooler, so it’s best to water less because it will take some time for the soil to dry out.
Best Water for Houseplants
Another important factor that you need to learn on how to water houseplants is the best type of water for your houseplants. Most plant parents use tap water, but it depends on the type of plant you have because tap water contains salts that can build up in the soil over time. As a result, it can cause problems. Some use chlorinated water, and others collect rainwater for their houseplants.
If you want a safe option, fill up a container with water and leave it overnight, uncovered. The process will evaporate the harmful chemicals, making the water safe to use for your houseplants in the morning.
Tips on How to Water Houseplants Correctly
Tip #1: The Plant Pot Matters
To keep your houseplants healthy, make sure that they are in the correct planter or pot size because most plants you buy come in grower’s pots, which is not appropriate as your houseplant’s home in the long run. It will eventually inhibit their growth, make it difficult to water them properly, and houseplants become more susceptible to disease.
Another important factor you must check is the drainage holes since it will help the soil dry after watering. If your planter doesn’t have drainage holes, you can carefully drill one.
Tip #2: Water the Soil, Not the Leaves
If your houseplant is happy for its leaves to be soaked, then water from above, particularly if you have ferns and tropical plants. However, for most houseplants, it’s best to water the soil directly and to avoid splashing the leaves since watering the leaves can cause bacterial infections, insect infestations, and other health issues, especially if it doesn’t get dry.
Tip #3: Water Thoroughly and Evenly
To keep your houseplant full and lush, water thoroughly and evenly, which means you must water all the way around the planter until water drips out the bottom.
Tip #4: Dump Out Any Excess Water
Lastly, on how to water houseplants is discard any excess water to avoid soggy soil, which causes root rot. Keep in mind that houseplants don’t like their roots to be kept wet because it can attract diseases and pests. So have a little patience, wait a few minutes to allow the water to completely drain.
CREDIT: ALLISON MCADAMS / TREEHUGGER
Remember to Aerate Your Soil
Aeration means drilling the soil with small holes. This method allows allowing air, nutrients, and water to probe the plant’s roots. It also helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger plant. Since houseplants don’t have the benefit of worms to aerate the soil, you need to poke some holes in the soil to allow the water to get to where it needs to go.
Learning how to water houseplants correctly will not only bring you one step closer to being a great plant parent, but it can also help you avoid problems, such as root rot, which is the top problem of most beginners. It will require some time to master this skill, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get at being a plant parent.
Grow your plant knowledge. Check out our Plant Care blog to learn more about different houseplants and tips on how to keep your plants alive and healthy.