When it comes to watering houseplants, understanding how to handle so many variables can be challenging. Some house plants require frequent watering, whereas others aren’t that thirsty. When the soil begins to partly dry out, potted plants prefer to be watered less often. A variety of factors determine how often plants should be watered at home, such as the pot size, the type of potting mix, the weather, and even the type of plant.
Indoor plants require regular watering between one and three weeks. Water the soil often enough so it is not soggy, but not so much where it is soggy. If your plants need watering, check the soil moisture regularly to see if they need more. The frequency of watering depends on many factors, including the season, heat, light, and humidity.
You will learn how plants should be watered indoors in this article. You will also find out how often to water specific types of plants.
When To Water Indoor Plants
In order to decide when to water your houseplant, press the soil. If it is dry, water it thoroughly. If it is moist, it’s best to wait a few days before checking again. Only water when the top 1 inch (2 cm) of the potting medium is dry. Every week, check your houseplants to see if they need watering. Wilted or brown leaves, brown leaf tips, and slow growth indicate that house plants need thorough watering.
It’s best to water plants occasionally and thoroughly instead of often and little. Deep watering every couple of weeks or less frequently ensures roots are given enough moisture and nutrition. Houseplants need very little water in winter but should be watered properly. For best results, spread water evenly throughout the pot and don’t allow water to sit in the pot for a long time.
How to Know When Indoor Plants Need Watering
In this article, we’ll cover more in-depth how to tell if indoor plants need watering:
Type of Plant
There are many houseplants that have different watering requirements, such as ferns that prefer wet soil and humid conditions. Because of this, they require frequent watering. The top one inch (2.5 cm) of the potting soil of other types of indoor plants needs to be moist between waterings, so they only need to be watered when the soil is dry on top. You should always check which plants need water and then give them what they need. If you have a variety of houseplants, you shouldn’t water all of them at the same time.
Soil Moisture Content
If you do not know whether a houseplant needs water or not, you can test the soil moisture levels by poking your finger into it and checking for dryness. Generally speaking, water is only necessary when the top 1 to 2 inches of the potting mix are dry. If you wait until the potting medium is partially dry, the soil around the root will never become wet.
In addition to checking the soil, you should also look for dry areas near the drainage holes. If the soil at the bottom of the pot is really dry, it is clearly time to give your plant a deep watering.
Roots poking through drainage holes in a houseplant indicate that it has become rootbound. Rootbound plants tend to retain too much water in the soil and do not drain well. To solve this problem, either repot the plant or water it only as needed.
Weight of Pot
With increased familiarity with caring for houseplants, you’ll learn to tell whether a plant needs water based on its weight. Moist, damp soil is heavier than dry potting soil. Therefore, unless you have succulents or cacti – which require little water – water your plants when their pots feel lighter than usual. With experience, you will automatically know when it’s time to give your plants a drink by picking them up.
It’s great to have a moisture meter if you have houseplants who are irritated easily. If you have plants that need frequent watering, a moisture meter makes it easy to track the amount of moisture. It is relatively inexpensive for plants to be protected from root rot, but the devices can make the difference between thriving and ailing plants.
Use a moisture meter to determine how often to water your plants throughout all seasons. Houseplants usually need more water in the summer than in the winter, so using a soil moisture meter is ideal to water just enough for your plants to thrive indoors.
Signs of Needing Watering
There are often telltale signs that your houseplant needs watering. Drooping leaves, dead leaves tips, and slow growth are all signs that your indoor plant needs watering. Let’s take a closer look at these signs:
- Drooping leaves. Drooping leaves may indicate too much moisture or disease if the soil is too dry or the potting medium is too moist. However, dry soil and wilting leaves could mean that your plant is severely dehydrated.
- Dead leaf tips. It is crucial to thoroughly water plants with excessively dry soil, which appear brown with crispy leaf tips. If leaves start turning brown, completely water them.
- Slow growth. You may want to check your soil’s dryness weekly and re-water your plant if you’re not watering it enough. Usually, new leaves are small when it’s not being watered after a deep watering.
How Often to Water Houseplants
In order for houseplants to thrive, they must be watered at the right intervals. The best times to water plants depend on more than just air temperature or bright light. In order to determine how often indoor plants need watering, we need to consider several factors.
Type of Pot
Several factors affect how frequently you need to water your plants. First, consider the type of container your plants grow in. The extent to which soil becomes dry affects how frequently you need to water your plants. Terracotta pots are a better choice for succulents, for instance, which require less watering. Ceramics or plastic pots are better for houseplants that need regular watering and partly dry soil.
Houseplants are better suited to certain types of pots. Here are some common containers:
- Terracotta pots. Throughout the year, these pots are popular for succulents, snake plants, aloe vera, and cacti. During the summer months, some plants in terracotta pots require more frequent watering than they do in unglazed clay pots.
- Ceramic pots. Containers made of ceramic provide even moisture levels for plants. This prevents soil from drying out as quickly as in terracotta pots in summer.
- Plastic pots. Ceramic pots help maintain the soil’s moisture, but plastic containers keep it moist for a longer period. As a result, you will need to water less often throughout the year.
A new plant should always be repotted to a fresh mix after it is purchased because its pots are often too small and the roots become rootbound. Additionally, repotting allows you to evaluate your plants for signs of diseases and fungus gnats.
What you need to know about choosing the right houseplant pot: it has to have drainage holes on the bottom. These holes direct excess water away from the plant and prevent potting soil from becoming wet all the time.
Size of Pot
The size of the pot should be appropriate for the plant size and type to help you maintain a proper watering schedule. If the pot is too big, it will retain too much moisture and you’ll have problems with dampness, houseplant mold, and rotted roots. In a container that is too small, moisture cannot be retained and the soil dries out faster.
A general rule of thumb is to choose a smaller pot for houseplants whose pot soil dries quickly. For indoor plants which need damp soil, select a larger container.
Type of Potting Soil
You need to choose the right type of potting mix for your potted plants in addition to watering them properly. Generally, the potting mix should be well-draining to prevent it from becoming waterlogged. Water should flow fairly freely through the medium.
Houseplant soil can be improved with the addition of coarse sand, perlite, vermiculite, or orchid substrate. Mix these ingredients together to create the perfect potting soil. Peat moss is a great organic matter for retaining moisture, as it aerates the soil and allows excess water to drain easier. You should also add aeration tools like gravel as well as pine needles and tree leaves.
Size of Plant
How often you water indoor plants is highly dependent on the size of the plant. For example, a large Swiss cheese plant will require more water than a small polka dot plant. However, watering frequency is also affected by the plant’s growth rate. Generally, mature large and fast-growing plants need to be irrigated more frequently than smaller plants that are just getting established. Also, epiphytic plants on trees and rocks absorb moisture and nutrients from the ambient air. So, this fact makes it important to consider how often you water them.
Water Often in the Summer
Hot temperatures cause moisture to evaporate much more quickly from living organisms, including plants. Because of this, houseplants need water more frequently in summer. They might need to be watered once or twice a week or even more frequently.
In addition to sunlight, the direction of your windows can also influence when you need to water plants. For instance, a plant in a south-facing room might require more frequent watering than one in a north-facing room.
Humidity plays another important role in evaporation of water from plants and soil. Certain tropical houseplants, like calatheas and monsteras, need a high level of humidity. However, each of these plants has a different requirements for watering.
The air in the house becomes drier in the winter. The heating and closed windows may deteriorate the air quality in your home. However, houseplants generally require less water because of their reduced growth. Check the soil for dryness before watering. During the winter, most houseplants need little watering. However, tropical plants need frequent misting throughout the winter.
In addition to following the season when it comes to watering plants, you should pay attention to the state of the plants. Plants are more vigorous in spring and summer, while they slow down and go into dormancy in fall and winter.
During spring and summer, water plants regularly and feed them every three to four weeks. In the fall, water less and only when the top inch or two of soil is dry. In the winter, water intermittently and only when the soil is completely dry.
How Long Can Indoor Plants Survive Without Water
When it comes to watering houseplants, one mistake most people make is to water them too frequently. Normally healthy houseplants can go two weeks without water, as long as you get back to your regular watering schedule.
Choose drought-tolerant plants if you’re prone to forgetting to water your plants. For example, ZZ plants, species of sansevieria, spider plants, and orchids can survive without water for weeks, making them excellent choices for dark rooms.
Many houseplants are very particular about how much water they need. If the soil dries out or you don’t water them enough, tropical potted plants will die.
Best Ways to Water Indoor Plants
Plant roots need to be watered thoroughly when grown indoors. If you don’t water your house plants thoroughly, you may end up with soil mold. A mistake people make with potted plants is to water them shallowly and frequently. However, it is better to water less often and deeply.
Houseplants need deep watering every couple of days. Pour water into the pot until it drains through the holes in the bottom. Once the last drops have been drained out, place the houseplant back on its saucer and place it in its place.
Several plants, including cacti, succulents, and African violets, prefer water absorbed through the drainage holes of the containers. Water these plants by pouring water in the saucer. Adding water to the saucer until it is completely soaked will prevent excess water from accumulating on the plant. Do this watering process until the plant is not absorbing any more water.