Watering Your Indoor Plants

Happy Life Plants

How to Water Your Indoor Plants and Develop a Watering Routine

Watering is the most important care element! 

And can you believe that one of the most common causes of plant issues is over watering? More newbie plant owners water their plants too much than too little.

Water According to Your Plants Needs

Watering according to your specific plants needs is key. Different indoor plants have different watering needs, so first and foremost it is important for you to research the specific plant before applying a blanket watering routine to all of your indoor plants.

1. You need to understand and learn the water requirements of each specific plant that you own. 

2. We believe the best way to learn the watering needs of your indoor plants is to first know in what type of condition it is happiest and will thrive best. Use our care card or product page guidelines to determine when you should water your plant based on how dry the soil is. Most plants will either prefer consistently moist soil, or for the soil to dry out completely before being watered again.

3. Then you must learn what the soil of your plant is telling you.

4. And finally you can use the soil as a guide to how often to water. 

If Your Plant Prefers Consistently Moist Soil

If they prefer consistently moist soil; stick your finger into the soil every 2-3 days and feel for when the top layer - this is about 2-3 cm's down - is dry, but the rest of the soil deeper down is still moist, then you can water.

If Your Plant Prefers The Soil to Dry Out Completely

If they prefer the soil to dry out completely, stick your finger into the soil every 4-5 days and feel if the bottom of the soil is dry (ie. the soil is dry throughout the whole pot), and then water.

Testing The Soil of Your Indoor Plant

We recommend doing the soil test when starting out to develop a watering routine. Test the soil dryness/moisture by sticking your finger deep into the soil of your plant. You can feel how wet the soil still is on the top layer and then deep into the pot near the bottom. 

When you pull your finger out of the soil, you will see if moist soil sticks or if you only have some remnants of dry soil. This is an excellent indication of how dry the soil is and consequently when to water your plant.

Developing a Watering Routine

At first you will use the soil test to guide you when to water your indoor plant. But as time goes on, you will come to know how often you need to water each indoor plant and you won't need to feel the soil any more.

You can easily develop a watering routine based on what you know about your plants soil and how it looks before you need to water it again.

Also understand that; when it is warmer in temperature, or your houseplant is in a warmer room in the house it will dry up quicker. So plants will dry out quicker in hot weather (Summer) than in cold weather (Winter).

The same goes for the pot size, when your plant is in a smaller pots it will dry out quicker than those in bigger pots.

Plants will also often dry out quicker in bright light positions than low light positions. 

These conditions will also contribute to your watering routine.

How to Best Water Your Indoor Plants

There are two popular ways to water pot plants; top watering and bottom watering.

Both are good watering practices, but we do recommend top watering. This is when you water your plants with a watering can onto the top layer of the soil, pouring until you saturate all of the soil in the pot and water runs out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. You can then leave it for a few minutes, allowing it to drain and then take it back to its 'home'.

Many plant parents do choose bottom watering. Because top watering can cause gnats and mold when done too often and without sufficient air flow and drainage, you can choose to bottom water your indoor plants if this suits you better. Fill a basin, sink or bath with a layer of water that is below the soil level of your pot plants, and place your plant pots with drainage holes into the shallow water basin and leave it to soak up water upwards into the roots, allow them to drain after the soil has been saturated and then place them back in their 'home'.

Bottom watering is an excellent choice for hanging plants that are often neglected or plants that are very dry. 

When you do top water your indoor plants, you must always try to water well by pouring water all over the soil in your plant pot until all the soil is completely saturated, ensuring that all the roots receive water and that the water runs out of the drainage holes at the bottom of the plastic nursery pot that you got it in or the pot you have planted your plant into (it may be terracotta or glazed but the pot it is planted directly into must have a hole or a few holes in the bottom).

You can top water your plants like this outside on the lawn, over a bucket, in the bath or in the sink. You can then leave your plants to dry for a few minutes and then place it back where you keep it; into its terracotta pot, decorative pot cover, on its saucer or in its basket - if you use these. 

Signs to Look Out For

It can be difficult to distinguish between over watering and under watering. Yellowing leaves and a wilting plant can indicate both of these issues.

If the leaves are soft and mushy, are turning dark or have brown marks; your plant most probably has had too much water.

If your plant is wilting or has drooping leaves, or the leaves are crispy, have turned a paler colour or look wrinkled then you have probably not watered your plant enough.

When the soil pulls away from the nursery pot of your plant then it is under watered. When you hold the stems of a plant gently and lift it out of the pot cover and the nursery pot remains, and the plant and its soil are in your hand, then you need to water your plant more often!

Inconsistent watering can also cause yellowing leaves and brown tips on your plant leaves. If you water inconsistently, your plant is unable to use the resources efficiently and will not be as healthy as if you water consistently on similar days of the week and with similar time periods between waterings. 

Helping You To Identify Common Plant Problems

We have also put together a comprehensive guide to identifying common indoor plant problems and how to solve them. Consult this guide if you have any problems with your indoor plants that you need help rectifying.