We all know that water and light are crucial to plants’ life and health. When in the wild, nature takes care of both, but when it comes to keeping houseplants we have to figure out what works best for each plant.
Overwatering is a top cause of houseplant death. A lot of people turn to watering the minute their plant shows any sign of distress. However, it’s usually not lack of water that is to blame. Watering requirements differ from plant to plant but there some fundamental rules and tips that apply to all.
1. Get on a schedule.
Life gets busy, things get in the way of our routines and sometimes we forget to water our plants. It happens to the best of us! To avoid this, create a watering schedule and friendly reminders for yourself in your phone or on a piece of paper where you'll see it every day.
2. Do not water until at least the top 2 inches of the soil are dry.
A lot of plants like to dry out completely until they drink again but more water loving plants will only need the top 2 inches of the soil to dry out.
3. When watering, do it well.
Don’t give your plants a sip, give them a good drink to make sure that water reaches the roots. Make sure water runs through the drainage hole in your pot.
4. Don’t leave water in the saucer for too long.
If water runs through the drainage hole, do not let it sit in the saucer as it may cause root rot.
5. Read about plant’s natural environment and try to replicate the watering it would get in nature as much as possible.
If the plant is native to a rainforest environment, it needs more water and humidity. If the plant comes from dry climate, like cacti and succulents for example, they need dry periods and are tolerable to drought, so you will need to water them much less.
6. Adjust watering based on the season and the environment in your home.
The general rule is to water less in the fall and winter and more in the spring and summer as the temperatures get higher. However, if the heat in your home is on high and the humidity is low, you will find your plants drying out faster and therefore, you should water them more. Don't be afraid to buy a spray bottle at a home goods store and mist your plants a few times a week if your home is especially dry. See how they respond and discontinue misting the ones that seem to dislike it (yellow leaves, wilted look).
7. Use room temperature water.
Using cold water can be damaging to the roots, likewise with hot water.
8. Water in the morning.
If you water in the morning, the plants will dry out faster with the help of sunlight and won’t sit in water overnight.
If you are using tap water, leave it out for a day or two so it can dechlorinate. Empty glass bottles make the perfect vessels for leaving water out to sit and then using them to water your plants.