What you need to know about watering house plants

There are so many different types of house plants out there and, while some seem easy to grow, others not so much. One of the most basic needs of every plant is water. The question many people have is how do they know they are watering their plants properly. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind.

When to water your house plants

There is no rule set in stone with this one. Each plant is different and you cannot treat each plant the same. They need to be handled on an individual level. Even two of the same type of plant can have different needs depending on various external factors. The best thing to do is observe your plant and check the soil regularly. Take note of the general preferences of the plant and keep this in mind when settling on an informal schedule.

How much to water

This will depend on a few factors including the time of year and the type of plant. A fleshy plant with thick leaves is usually adapted to dryer climates. Take succulents and cacti for example. They prefer dryer soil or the roots tend to rot. Plants with thinner leaves usually need more frequent watering or they will dry out.

During the cooler months, you will not need to water as frequently as you do in the summer. Keep in mind the dormant period as well and adapt your habits accordingly.

What about the size of the pot?

The larger the plant, the larger the pot. If you place a small plant in a large pot, you will need to use more water. This is because you need to wet all of the soil. You cannot tell if the roots of the plant are getting enough water just by adding a cup or two. The more soil, the more water you need to make it perfectly damp for the plant to thrive.

Signs that your plant is overwatered:

  • wilted and limp leaves
  • mouldy leaves
  • old and new leaves fall
  • leaf tips turn brown

Signs that your plant needs more water:

  • lip leaves, wilted and translucent
  • flowers fade fast or don’t bloom
  • old leaves start to fall
  • leave edges become dry and brown

What time should you water

If you are not planning on wetting the leaves, you can water anytime during the day. If the plant experiences direct sunlight and you want to spray some water over the top, you should do so early in the morning just as you would your garden. The only thing to avoid is watering in the evening. The soil remains saturated for longer and this can result in root rot.

What type of water is best?

Rain water is often praised as being the best for all plants. Tap water is not ideal because of the way it is processed and purified. If you can collect rain water, this is ideal.

Remember, some house plants don’t only like water, they need humidity too. If you need to create a humid environment for your plants, you can place each pot on a tray of pebbles. Add water to this tray. As the water evaporates, it will increase the humidity around the plant.