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How Often and How Much Should You Water Your Houseplants?

Updated on July 14, 2016
When to water houseplant???
When to water houseplant??? | Source

There are thousands of different types of houseplants. Each one requires a different amount of water to be happy and healthy. While one type will prefer to dry out, another type will suffer from poor health if it is left to become dry.

There are some general rules to know when and how much water houseplants need, but each plant is unique in this matter. The best advice is to look up your particular plants and find out any special requirements that they may have.

The following outlines some general information about how often to water your houseplants as a loose guide to help you take care of your plants. Keep reading to see some extreme examples and also conditions that affect the moisture level that you do give them.

General Water Guideline for Houseplants

when deciding whether to water your plant or not, look at the surface of the soil. If it appears to be dry and the edges are shriveled and pulled away from the pot, then examine it by touching.

Use your finger to scrape back the top layer of soil. If it is dry underneath this top layer, give it some water. If it looks moist under the top layer then you can probably get away with waiting a couple of days before you water. These are very general instructions that are useful for the majority of houseplants.

It is helpful if you have the time to observe how your plant is reacting to your water over the course of the day or even days. In this way you can adjust the amount and frequency of watering time.

Two Extreme Examples

Cast Iron Plant: An Extreme of Dry

On one extreme you have the cast iron plant which does not require a lot of care or water. In fact, it will despise you and die if you do give it too much love. This is simply the nature of it; it grows wild on the forest floors of the Osumi Islands of Japan. This means that it is used to drought conditions and to give it anything other than what Mother Nature has supplied in its natural habitat is not good for it.

Coleus: An Extreme of Wet

Coleus will wilt right before your very eyes when it needs a drink, which is very often. It mopes and droops down pathetically. Within 20 minutes or half an hour after receiving water it will spring back up and look innocently as if nothing at all had ever happened.

When you compare these two plants to each other, then it is obvious that no rule will save the plant; you cannot say to water once per week or twice per month. As you care for and observe your plant you will learn to take the cue from it and use your instincts to guide you.

Don't let your plants get root bound.
Don't let your plants get root bound. | Source

Pot Size

Each plant needs to be in the appropriate size of pot depending on how big their root system is, for if they are too large for the container it may be root bound. A sure sign of this is if the water runs out of the pot as quickly as you pour it in. If your plant is very root bound then you will need to water it more often because roots and not moisture-holding soil are taking up the space. Your best bet and the healthiest choice for the plant is to transplant it into a larger pot so that the roots can spread out more and have more nutrient rich soil as well. The water will be sucked up by the dirt rather than running out of the pot. You will also notice that you don't need to water as often.


So...darn...cute...
So...darn...cute... | Source

How Humid is Your Home?

Plants that live in very dry zones will need to be watered more often, especially if they are tropical. Plants that live in humid areas are the opposite and will not need to be watered as frequently. Of course, this rule does not apply to certain houseplants such as cactus which like dry conditions.

As you can see, there are no hard and fast rules to tell you how often and how much to water your houseplants. The key is to know what kind you have, where it is originally from and what kind of conditions formed it. Once you have these figured out, it gets easier and is less of a chore and more of a pleasure.

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    • LadyLola profile image
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      Lanie Robinson 5 years ago from Canada

      Thank you, nancynurse!

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

      Nice hub. voted up.