My Houseplant Watering Guide + Tips


Are you sad to come home and see one of your houseplants crusty, dried up, and dead as a doornail? 

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Have you killed an embarrassing amount of houseplants? Are you sad to come home and see one of your houseplants crusty, dried up, and dead as a doornail? *who gets that reference? (true story of the three little pigs)

Many people tell me, text me, or comment on social media that they have problems keeping houseplants alive. I have over 100 healthy houseplants, and I want everyone to be able to say the same.

One of the biggest reasons houseplants die is because we kill them with kindness by overwatering them, or because we’re afraid of overwatering, they get left alone too long and dry out.

houseplant watering guide

To resist overwatering or accidentally underwater your houseplants, here are 3 things to keep in mind. These 3 tips will help you know when and when not to water your houseplants.

My 3 Biggest Tips for Watering Your Houseplants

1) Watch the Weather

For my houseplants, the amount of weekly watering can fluctuate depending on if we’ve had a lot of continuous sunny days or if the weather has been consistently overcast.

2) Get to Know Your Plant

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.

From my experiences, after I’ve “gotten to know” my plants’ growth patterns and hydration needs, it is easy to regulate how much water you give them.

Tip! If you tend to over-water, I would highly recommend adding perlite to your plant’s soil. Perlite helps aerate the soil, and when I am repotting my houseplants, I always do an 80-20 ratio, soil to perlite.

3) Stay Consistent with your Watering

It’s not good for houseplants to go from extreme wetness to extreme dryness. This will not only shock the plant but can also lead to root rot.

Watering Guide for 7 Popular Houseplants

To further help you with your houseplant success, I’ve rounded up 10 of my favorite Low-Maintenance & Low-light Houseplants and listed their common watering needs. Low-maintenance, non-finicky houseplants are a great place to start for you if you want to start or add to your houseplant collection. Take a look at each plant and see if its watering regiment is doable for you! You can do it; I be-leaf in you!

1) Snake Plant

For the snake plant, we recommend that you take it nice and easy with the watering. Water them every 2-6 weeks, and avoid excess water as too much water will cause a snake plant to drown. Ensure the soil is more or less entirely dry before watering.

snake plant houseplant care

2) Red Prayer Plant

The red prayer plant is a relatively easy plant to manage, but it requires you to keep the soil constantly moist and damp. This is especially true during spring and summer. However, you will want to hold back during autumn and winter because they do not get as much sunlight and are not growing. My prayer plant lives in a wallscape planter in our foyer and gets decent diffused sunlight in the morning hours, and I only water it once every week and a half.

red prayer plant

3) ZZ Plant

The ZZ plant needs you to give it a frequent amount of water for it to survive. But, the watering is often down to lighting levels; the less light it gets, the less water it wants and needs. The more light you can give, the quicker it will grow, which means it will need more water.

I have my ZZ plant in our gym next to a south-facing window, and I water him ~2-3 times a week.

4) Peace Lilies

The stunning peace lily is one that many people will want to bring into their homes, but beware of how much maintenance they need. Often, these are plants that will need constant moisture, so if you feel even slight dryness, you should look to water them ASAP. They can go through a period of dryness generally, but try not to neglect them too much! When we went to Iceland for our fourth time last November, our Peace Lily went without water for about a week, and when we got home from the airport, I noticed she was so droopy – I immediately watered her, and then the next morning, she was back to her perky self. They are very resilient houseplants, and I highly recommend them! They are also so pretty and bloom over and over again!

5) Areca Palm Tree

While not a choice for everyone, the areca palm tree is a great beginner plant. Despite the fact you can be quite liberal with the watering due to its moisture love, it can become a bit worn out if you give it too much. It is quite tough to overwater here, so we recommend making sure that the soil drains well, as build-ups of standing water will put the plant’s health at risk.

6) Spider Plant

The spider plant tends to be quite a picky plant when it comes to watering it. Get the soil drainage perfect, though, and it should not be much of an issue for you. Avoid excess water as this can cause root rot, but too little water will see it die out quickly. If you notice browning of the leaves, it likely means that fluoride has gotten into the water. Drain the water, though, and your spider plant should be fine.

houseplants that purify the air

7) Bromeliads

A bromeliad is a popular form of plant and one that we definitely recommend that you keep at home. We gifted one to Caleb’s mom for her birthday this year! Watering them is quite easy: use your finger to check for dry soil and if it is quite dry, then moisten it up a bit. Be sure to water the central point of the bromeliad as much as you can. Ensure your pot has plenty of drainage holes so that mold does not build up at the base of the planter and so that you do not cause root rot for your plant.

Which of these easy houseplants sounds most suited to your lifestyle based on their watering needs? 

The most common pitfall with houseplant parents is that they either kill their plant with too much love (overwatering) or too little (under-watering.)

I hope this round-up was helpful!

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Houseplant Watering Guide

Join the Conversation

  1. Patti Strickland says:

    My problem is how do you keep from ruining furniture that house plants sit on when watering indoors? Use a pot that doesn’t drain ?

    1. Ren Lenhof Author says:

      Hi! I have definitely ruined a few pieces of furniture from watermarks from watering plants. 🙁
      I would recommend using a pot that doesn’t drain but make sure you fill the bottom of your pot with gravel, rocks, or old golf balls so that the excess water can drain there. You will also just have to be more mindful of making sure you do not overwater since it will not have a drainage hole. Otherwise, when you are watering – I would take the plant off the piece of furniture and water it over a sink, let it drain, and then put it back in its spot. I hope this helps! Thanks so much for reading!

  2. Hi. Tips given by you are really impressive. I also follow some of the tips mentioned in your article, however, still some of the plants either died or not grown fully. Any tips…thanks…

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