If there’s one thing I’ve learnt while helping people with their indoor plants it’s that one of the most common reasons a plant fails to thrive or die is from overwatering.
But how much is too much? Good question! Let me give you some watering basics that will help you work out how much water to give your plants and when.
What plants need
All plants, whether indoors or out, need five things to survive and thrive:
- The right temperature
As you can see, water is only one part of the plant-health equation but we’ll only focus on H20 for now. I’ll talk about the other elements in future posts, so keep an eye out for those.
How to work out how much to water
When you buy a plant, the watering instructions on the tag will give you an indication of how much to water but they're not usually very specific and can be confusing. That’s why I rarely take note of them.
The best way to work out how much to water a specific plant is to search online. I also highly recommend joining indoor plant Facebook groups where you can research specific genus and ask questions. The group search function is your friend!
The most important thing to remember is that your plants probably don't need as much water as you think and in fact, some love to dry out between watering. I have some plants that I don’t water at all during winter and some I water once a week no matter the season. But my general rule of thumb is once a week in summer and once every two weeks (or longer) in winter varying slightly depending on the plant and the size of the container it’s in.
Your friend the moisture meter
Working out how moist your soil is can be tricky – the top layer will dry out really quickly in a warm environment so that is not a great indication of what’s going on underneath. A really good way to tell how moist the soil is – and therefore, whether you need to water or not – is with a moisture meter (for sale in my online shop here). They’re really handy and a great way to work out how your plant is responding to its environment.
Don’t assume your plant needs more water if it’s struggling
This assumption is one of the most common I come across - if your plant is struggling, it’s not usually because of a lack of water. As mentioned, plants also need nutrients, light, oxygen and the right temperature to survive and thrive, so there are a lot of reasons why your plant isn’t doing well. And if this is the case, your plant will get worse if you overwater it as you’re effectively drowning it and making it harder for it to recover.
If your plant is struggling, think about whether it’s getting enough light, and ask yourself: how long has it been since I fertilised? Is it too cold? Has it outgrown the pot? Does it need new potting medium? It could be any or all of those things (or a pest or disease).
Moral of the story
Your indoor plants probably need less water than you think, so do a little bit of research and you’ll be set!