When Should I Water My House Plants?

When Should I Water My House Plants?

3 minute read

This blog post is a guide to help you know when to water your house plants. Both over and under watering can be detrimental to your plants’ health and can cause irreversible damage. Understanding when and how much water to give your plant is important. First, there are four methods that we will go over that will help you tell when your house plant is ready for a drink.

a photo of a person touching the soil of a house plant

1. Touch Test
Even if the soil looks dry, it may be damp under the top layer. Check the dryness of the soil by pushing your finger through the top third of the soil. You’ll be able to feel if the soil is dry or damp. If you pull your finger out and wet soil is stuck to your finger, give your plant more time before you water. Alternatively, you can use a tool such as a chopstick or a skewer. The deeper your pot is, the further down into the soil you’ll want to check.

a photo of a person picking up a cactus in a terra cotta pot

2. Weight Test
This method works best on smaller house plants and succulents. Note how heavy your plant pot feels after you water it. After a week or so, pick up the pot again – if there is still some weight to it, the soil is probably still damp. If the pot feels nice and light, it may be time for a drink.

a spider plant with droopy leaves

3. The Leaves Tell All
Some plants’ leaves naturally droop when they are thirsty. Some house plant species that are notorious for being overly dramatic when they need water are Pothos, Fittonia, Calathea, Peace Lily, Spider Plant, and Philodendron. Once watered, they’ll perk right back up!

For air plants, they tend to look shrunken and their leaves can tighten and become curly when they are very thirsty.

For succulents, their leaves will appear shrunken and wrinkly.

a photo of a moisture meter in a house plant pot

4. Moisture Meter
One of the most popular house plant care tools available on the market. A moisture meter will tell you, on a scale from 1 to 10, how wet or dry your soil is (1 usually means very dry and 10 usually means very wet)

product link: https://drmeter.com/products/s10-soil-moisture-meter

a person watering house plants on a shelf

Lastly, we also want to discuss troubleshooting and what you can do to help a plant that been over or under watered. Whichever the case may be, it is important that you are diligent and act fast to help save your plant from further damage.

Signs that your plant was overwatered: yellowing, droopy leaves, especially on newer growth

a photo of a pothos plant with yellowing leaf

Solution: Quickly re-pot into fresh, dry soil and remove any yellow leaves and rotting roots with sterile scissors.

Signs that your plant is underwatered: browning, crispy leaf edges

a photo of a fern plant with brown, crispy leaf tips

Solution: Trim brown leaves and give your plant a bit of water.
Try not to suddenly flood the plant as this can cause more stress to the plant. Give small sips.



Plants are resilient and when under/overwatering is acted upon quickly and attentively, your house plants will likely bounce back. And if it doesn't, that's okay, too! Remember to take every situation as a learning experience to help you grow into a better plant parent! Happy planting 💚

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