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How To Water Your Houseplants Without Killing Them

Updated: Jan 2, 2023

Knowing when and how to water your indoor plants isn’t immediately intuitive. But proper watering can often be the difference between success and failure in plant care. Here are some helpful tips to help you master your watering regimen.

1) The time of year is crucial

Every plant is different, but generally speaking, most plants need much more water during their active growing season (in the northern hemisphere, think mid-March through late September) than they do during the colder months. Watering your plants at the same rate in the winter as you do in the summer is a sure-fire way to waterlog them.

2) Consider the pot

Potted plants dry out faster than plants in the ground. Plants in ceramic or terracotta pots dry out faster still. Keep this in mind when considering how much water your plant needs and when deciding what pot is best for your plant.

Plants that want to be kept on the dry side will benefit from moisture-sucking ceramic pots while more thirsty plants will benefit from plastic.

Any pot you use should have holes on the bottom to allow for drainage.

3) Every plant is unique

Some plants herald from boggy and highly moist habitats. Plants like Bacopa, Nepenthes, and ferns like to be kept moist at all times. Other plants such as succulents and figs prefer to be kept on the dry side. Your Fiddle-leaf Fig, for example, benefits from dry periods in between waterings.

Spend some time researching your plant’s individual growing requirements. If you're not sure you can always ask us!

4) Saturate the soil evenly and deeply

To encourage the plant to form a healthy and even root mass, it’s important to saturate the entire root ball when watering. Look for water flowing out of the holes in the bottom of the pot as an indication that the soil is saturated.

Generally speaking, if the first two or three inches of soil is dry, the plant needs water. You can determine this by sticking your finger into the soil to feel the moisture level.

5) Don’t leave your plant in standing water

Most plants hate having wet feet. Saucers are useful for preventing messes but ought to be dumped out after watering.

Allow your plant to sit in its saucer for 10 to 15 minutes after watering, this allows for any excess water to finish draining and for any last bit of dry soil to absorb available moisture, then dump it out.

If you're struggling with the plants you have or looking to learn more about them, book an appointment with us, we're here to rescue them.

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