Houseplant Watering 101: When should I water my plants?
One of the questions I get all of the time is this: what is the best way to water my plants? I totally get this question, because there are a MILLION tips out there on the internet, and it's hard to know what to do! I am going to break it down into my few watering tips that will make it SO easy for you. The three tips below are going to go over WHEN you should water- which is one of the most important parts of watering!
My very first tip is this: You should never ever ever water your plants on a set schedule because someone on the internet told you to. EVER.
There are a lot of factors that come into play when it comes to watering such as: what type of plant is it? How much light is it getting? What direction is the light coming from? What time of year is it? Do you live in the desert with zero humidity? Do you live somewhere where it rains everyday and there is lots of humidity? Is your plant little? Or is it a giant Fiddle Fig?
Do you see how there are a million factors going into when your plants need water? That is why you really can't follow some random person's watering schedule. It's a hard no from me, and it will be a hard no from your plants too.
Now let's find out from our plants if they need to be watered! What you want to do, is look at the soil! Does it look dry? Is the surface soil still wet? (If the answer is YES, then you don't need to water!)
Don't just look at it–let's get in and feel it! There's a few different ways to do this, but I am going to give you my best method: Use your hands to check! This is my favorite–I love to put my hands in there to feel the soil. Stick your fingers in up to the second knuckle. How does the soil feel? Is there some moisture still? Check around the different parts of the planter to see if the soil is the same everywhere.
You can tell a lot about how damp the soil is by how it sticks to your hands. If the soil is easily brushed off, and not sticking to your nails at all, then it's for sure time to water. If the soil is sticking to your hands, and needs to be washed off, then that plant does not need to be watered! I tend to water most of my plants when the soil feels cool, but doesn't make my hands dirty.
One thing you will want to keep in mind: all plants are different. Plants like cacti or succulents want the soil to dry out COMPLETELY before it's time to water again. Tropical plants on the other hand, want the soil to dry out SLIGHTLY without going completely dry.
Then of course there are treenagers like ferns. If their soil dries out AT ALL they throw a massive fit and die. (RIP to the many ferns that I've killed learning this very important technique.) DO NOT PANIC, most plants you can bring back to life, but some (ahem the ferns) will throw a giant tantrum first.
And that's it! These are my three first tips for watering your plant. If you are a visual person, feel free to check out my stories here, full of videos of me walking you through it all!