How to properly water your houseplants

Featured photo by Sarah Dietz from Pexels

Watering plants may seem simple, but it is actually a common problem, especially for beginners. Overwatering is often the issue that many gardeners encounter compared to underwatering. This occurs particularly if cultivators do not know their plants’ watering needs.

Each plant has different needs and two things that growers must take note of are environmental factors and plants’ individual wants. These may entail the plant’s right pot size, best potting medium, plant placement, and its environment. Let’s delve into the specifics: 


Like humans, each plant is different

Some plants need daily watering, some only need to be watered weekly, and others are in between. Researching will give you an idea which plants require a heavy or light amount of water on their particular watering schedule. 


Besides water, factors that also contribute to the plant’s condition include light exposure, temperature, and humidity. In terms of placement, hanging plants tend to dry more quickly than sitting plants. 


Knowing if it needs water

Many enthusiasts do one common thing in checking their soil’s moisture: they feel the soil using their finger or knuckle and from there, they could tell if the soil needs watering or not. Water-loving plants must be watered when their surface is dry. And for succulents and other drought-tolerant plants, you only water them if the soil feels dry. 

One sign that your plant is thirsty is when the leaves start to wither. In other cases, wilting, yellow-ish leaves can also mean overwatering. Another way to know the soil condition is by lifting and checking the bottom of the potted plants to see the wetness of the soil underneath.


Best watering time 

The most recommended period for watering is in the morning because it gives the plant enough time to dry and absorb the water during the daytime. Watering at night tends to cause diseases and fungal growth on the plant, which could lead to their death. Make sure not to overwater the plants by the windows on cloudy days too. 


What water to use

Plants love warm water. Ice-cold water from the faucet may shock the roots, so it’s safer to use warm or room temperature water. When using tap water, let it sit on your container for a while so it would have time to dechlorinate and to be ready for the next watering. 

The most preferred liquid that plant enthusiasts always save their gallons and basins for is rainwater. This is best especially if you live in an environment with less pollution. 

Water from the well is said to be good too. Plants do not love chlorinated water and knowing which water serves the plants right can also be a trial and error. 


Bottom watering

Soaking the leaves with water invites fungus, which makes the bottom watering effective as well. Watering from the bottom allows the roots to have sufficient water without dousing the leaves. This also enables roots at the bottom to be reached, which is hard to attain when you water from the top. 

This method works by adding water to a saucer underneath the pot and leaving it until the soil is wet. Bottom watering can also be practiced by using a larger container that can hold half of your planter. Let it sit for 10 minutes or so then remove it. Adjustments may be carried out depending on the dryness or wetness of the soil.


Aerating the soil

Proper drainage plays an important role in how the plant will be able to have enough aeration and for the water to properly drain. This allows the roots to get airflow and helps in ensuring balance moisture distribution. 


Amount of water

Low-maintenance plants that demand less water are cacti, succulents, and those with thick leaves. 

It’s also vital to have a good potting mix because the drier the medium, the harder for the plants to absorb water, which slows down their development. To solve this, slowly water the plants for the soil to absorb the water better or by changing your potting mix to a good one.



Pots without drain holes are most likely to encounter root rot because the lack of drainage can drown the plant. So after you water your plant, it is best to check the plant after 30 minutes and discard any leftover water from the saucer. This enables the plant roots to soak the bottom, but not too much to the point that it would lead to overwatering. 

Among all things mentioned, one top priority is understanding your plant. As many practitioners say, it’s better to cure an under watered plant than an overwatered one. 


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