Everything You Need to Know About Watering Your Houseplants


I am going to teach you everything you need to know about watering your houseplants based on the questions I've received from my readers.

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I always talk about how the easiest way to kill your houseplants is with kindness. Kindness in the form of over-watering. I am on a mission to help all houseplant serial killers by starting with a lesson on houseplant watering.

I want to talk about one of the most important things in having a thriving indoor plant – water! It’s easy for plants who live indoors to dry out, especially if they’re in pots or containers that don’t retain water very well. But, on the other hand, it is also easy for a plant to get overwatered. I’ll be walking through how often and how much we should be watering our plants at home, as well as the tools I use to water my houseplants. Thanks for reading!

Everything You Need to Know About Watering Your Houseplants

I’ve asked myself these same questions, and now it’s time for some answers! So, I’m going to teach you all about watering your houseplants based on my readers’ questions.

How Do I Know if My Soil is Dry? How Do I Know if My Soil is Wet?

You can feel the soil yourself by sticking your finger 2-3 inches deep. If it feels dry, it’s time to water your houseplant. You can also use a chopstick. If it emerges dry without wet soil sticking to it, your plant needs watering. Brown and crispy leaves, lighter weight, and color can also indicate dryness.

You can use the methods and indicators above. Alternatively, as mentioned above, you can purchase a basic soil moisture meter, poke it into the soil, and read the results.

What Happens if I Overwater?

The possible consequences of overwatering include wilting and defoliation. It can also cause crown root, root rot, and clogging of stomata, the tiny pores that allow the vital oxygen exchange.

What Happens if I Underwater?

Similar to overwatering, too little water can seriously affect your plant’s health. Wilting, dry soil, brown, and dead leads that lead to defoliation and slower growth are some of the symptoms of underwatering.

How Much Water?

This question is a tricky one because all plants require a different amount of water. A plant’s species, their environment light levels, their environment humidity levels, the type of soil they are in, their growth patterns, the pot/planter they are in, and the season will all play a role in deciding how much or how little water a plant needs.

Getting to know your plant’s needs based on its specifies and paying attention to your plant’s coloring, soil dampness, new blossoms, the amount of new growth, and leaf appearance will all help you know how to nurture them.

But, no matter what type of plant you have, you should always do THIS before watering your plants: check the dampness of the soil by either using your fingers or a moisture meter.

plant moisture meter
Plant Moisture Meter

What Type of Pot or Planter is Best?

Ceramic is the best and most popular type. Ceramic pots are porous, which decreases the chances of root rot. They do, however, require more frequent watering. On the other hand, plastic and fiberglass pots are light, affordable, and easy to clean. They also don’t require as much watering as ceramic and clay pots.

Why Would I Put Gravel or Pebbles in My Planter?

Generally, putting gravel or pebbles in a planter is not necessary. The idea behind this has to do with improved drainage, but this has been proven wrong. So instead, you can cover the drainage hole with just one rock or use a piece of screen or a coffee filter to prevent the soil from leaching out.

What is a Planter Tray Used For?

Having water that is standing in the soil can cause root rot. Trays or saucers catch excess water that drains from pots, preventing leaks across floors and carpets. Often, the trays need to be purchased separately, which can add a decorative touch if you fill them with marbles or rocks. If you suspect your plant has root rot, this post may be helpful for you. 

Should I Mist My Houseplants?

While all plants need water to survive, we tend to focus our watering efforts only on the soil and roots instead of the actual leaves. Many houseplants come from tropical regions and require higher humidity to promote new and continuous growth. Misting houseplants can help create this humidity and keep your plants happy. Leaf curling, yellowing, and leaves with brown edges and tips are all signs that plants may not be getting enough humidity and that they would love to be misted! I have an in-depth blog post about misting houseplants that may be helpful for you HERE.

Tools to Help With Houseplant Watering

Plant Watering Globes

Emerging Green, a small family business that sells lifestyle products made of sustainable materials. 70% of our their products are made of environmentally friendly materials. Their newest product is the Plant Watering Globes and comes in a set of 3. This self irrigation watering drip device for plants can be the ideal solution for someone who has to a lot of plants or travels frequently. You can check them out HERE.
plant water globes

Plant Mister

This is the one I have. For plant lovers, a mister is a must-have. These decorative misters will be the ones to keep your plants looking fresh and alive.

plant mister

Moisture Meter

Another handy tool for all houseplant owners: Moisture Meter. This 3-in-1 soil moisture meter is designed to know the condition of your plant better, detect soil moisture, help you know the pH value of the soil, determine if plants get enough sunlight to keep plants grow healthier!

plant moisture meter


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