Houseplant Care: Watering

Keep the soil moist, without water a houseplant must die, period. It can take a day, to a couple of months, but in the end it will still result in the same. This does not mean you need to give daily dribbles to the plants soil, this makes a soggy, airless, mass in which the plants roots cannot survive. Proper watering takes balance, don’t kill your plant with kindness.

Here is some advice when it comes to watering your house plants.

Never water on a regular schedule.

Does it rain on a regular schedule, in the natural environments plants live in, watering varies. The same is true for your houseplants. Watering depends on the plant, the time of year and the environment.

The plant. Cacti, succulents and other fleshy-leaved plants, require watering at less frequent intervals than thin leaved varieties. The rule, with any plant, the larger the leaf surface and the more rapid it is growing, the greater the need for frequent watering.

The time of year. In winter, growth slows down, or stops, in most plants. Overwatering must be avoided during this period. Water 1-3 times a month (on average) until new growth begins in the spring. During the spring and summer increase watering frequency to 1-3 a week.

The environment. Watering depends on the temperature and light intensity. Plants in small pots, and those who have not been repotted in some time, need more frequent watering. Larger container houseplants, or those that were recently repotted, don’t need as frequent watering.

When to Water.

Water your houseplants when the soil is on the dry side, but before it has dried out completely. When the surface is dry and the pot, when tapped,  gives a ringing sound as compared to the thud of a well-watered pot, it is time to water. Plants drooping their leaves, occasionally, will do no serious harm, but don’t make them beg for water like this! When this happens, the soil is way too dry.

The Water.

Use rainwater, well water, and bottled water for your houseplants. Collect rainwater in a rain barrel, or receptacle, at the base of a downspout. Remember that in some areas the air can pollute rainwater. Well water can also be too alkaline for acid-loving houseplants. Bottled water is excellent but expensive.

Tap water is usually fine, fluorinated or chlorinated water will not damage houseplants. Tap water is OK if not  hard, but avoid softened water, which contains salt that builds up in the soil over a period of months.

Delicate plants prefer room temperature water. Fill a watering can after each watering session and let it sit until next time, allowing the water to reach the right temperature for watering these plants.

Water in the morning to give any moistened foliage a chance to dry out during the day. Dry foliage has less chance of contracting disease in the cool evening hours.

How to Water

Using a watering can with a narrow spout, fill the space between the top of the soil and the rim of the pot. Then allow the excess water to drain away. Don’t leave water in the container or the saucer in which the pot sits.

Several plants that don’t like water on their crowns or leaves, should be watered from below. Immerse the pots in water up to the level of the soil. Leave them to soak until the surface of the soil glistens. Allow the pot to drain and then return it to its home.

In winter, water in the morning if the room is unheated.

Never water your houseplants in direct sun, splashed on leaves may get scorched.

Watering Troubles?

Water runs straight through the pot. This is caused by the shrinkage of soil away from the sides of the pot. Immerse the pot to soil level in a bucket or bath of water until the soil glistens. Then, allow the pot to drain an return it to its home.

Water is not absorbed into the soils surface. This is caused by the surfaces being very dried and caked. Prick over the surface with a fork. Then immerse the pot to soil level in a bucket or bath of water until the soil glistens. Then, allow the pot to drain and return it to its home.


Be successful with all of your houseplants! Water is a necessity for all houseplants. There is not luck, each plants has basic needs and requirements for success. Once you master the art of watering, your indoor garden will flourish and thrive. Don’t overthink watering or use a schedule, get to know each and every plant and it’s needs.

Your turn! If you have any advice for the regular watering of your houseplants, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear what you’ve got!

More about Katelyn

Katelyn was inspired to create Dory Fitz when she realized she wanted to improve her life, and to help others improve their lives along the way. Taught by her grandmother that in all aspects of life, you need to embraced change, follow your passions, and live the life you want, no one will do it for you. Dory Fitz was created to help me, and you, do just that.

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