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Watering Plants: Everything You Need to Know About Plant Care!

watering plants

The most important piece of knowledge when it comes to plant care is how to water your plants. Watering plants is easy when you know how to do it! On this page, you’ll find everything you need to know about watering, misting, and humidity.

Key Takeaways

  • watering indoor plants involves a deep understanding of plant-specific needs, checking soil moisture, and knowing how to water your plants correctly. Watering techniques include using room temperature water, ensuring your plants’ soil has proper drainage, and knowing when a plant needs watering!
  • Common indoor plants that require frequent watering include, but are not limited to: peace liliesBoston fernsspider plants, and calatheas.
  • Common indoor plants that are drought-tolerant include, but are not limited to: succulents, cacti, snake plantszz plants, and cast iron plants

First Things First: Why Do We Need to Water Plants?

Watering a plant may seem like an obvious thing to do. But not many of us may know why plants need to be watered frequently. Well, the truth is that all plants need water to survive. It helps to support their basic physiological functions, promote healthy growth, and maintain their overall well-being.

Watering a plant is a simple business. Many people may have a watering can, others may like to water their plants outside using a hose pipe. Some people may just use an empty container, protein shaker, or kettle (with room-temperature water). But what happens when you water your plant?

Plants need water for photosynthesis!

Water is a key ingredient in photosynthesis, the process by which plants convert light energy into chemical energy (glucose) using carbon dioxide and water. Water molecules contain hydrogen which is vital for this process to occur.

Thus, water is incredibly important for all plants! Without adequate water, photosynthesis cannot occur efficiently, which stunts plant growth. This is why you see wilting leaves when a plant is underwatered and its soil feels dry to the touch. 

Plants need water for nutrient transport

Water also acts as a solvent that transports nutrients from the soil to different parts of the plant through the xylem. You can think of water as a road, or motorway, that enables the nutrients to travel to all parts of the plant.

Essential minerals and nutrients dissolved in water are crucial for various metabolic processes. Without being able to transport these nutrients around the plant, growth may well be stunted in the future.

Water helps maintain turgor pressure in plants

Water helps maintain turgor pressure in plant cells, which keeps plants upright and supports structural integrity. A well-watered plant will look strong and feel turgid to the touch. 

Insufficient water causes cells to lose turgor pressure, leading to wilting and weakened plant structure. This should be avoided as it could be catastrophic for your plant’s health.

Water helps with temperature regulation

Water helps regulate a plant’s temperature through the process of transpiration, where water evaporates from the leaves, cooling the plant. Keeping plants cool is vital. Adequate water supply helps protect plants from heat stress and temperature fluctuations.

Water helps cell growth and development

Water is necessary for cell expansion and growth, as it fills the vacuoles within plant cells, allowing them to increase in size. Proper hydration ensures there is always a healthy development of leaves, stems, flowers, and roots.

Water helps waste removal to take place

Another important role water performs is in the removal of waste products from plant cells through the process of transpiration and other metabolic activities. Efficient detoxification is crucial for preventing toxic buildup and ensuring overall plant health.

What Equipment Do I Need to Water Plants?

To water plants, you don’t need much equipment at all! For watering purposes, we recommend you invest in:

Once you have these items, you should be well on your way to watering your houseplants. You’ll be a plant care whizz in no time!

How Do I Water an Indoor Plant?

Watering indoor plants properly involves understanding their specific needs, which can vary based on the type of plant, its size, and the environment it is in. Here are some general guidelines to help you water your indoor plants effectively:

1. Understand Your Plant’s Water Needs

The first thing to consdider is that different plants have different water requirements. Some plants are used to the arid conditions of the desert (cacti, succulents, etc.) and others are used to humid places like rainforests, forests, and wetlands (swiss cheese plants, peace lilies, etc).

Before you water a plant, take a look at out plant care guides. This will give a good indication as to how often you will need to water your plants. smaller plants will need more watering. Established plants or mature plants need more water, but less often. 

Knowing when to water is quite simple. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s usually time to water.

2. Use the Right Type of Water

When watering, it’s advisable to use water that is at room temperature to avoid shocking the roots. If you want to water your plants, pour your water into a watering can, leave it on a kitchen counter or table for an hour or two. After that, you can get cracking! 

Outdoor plants are more resistant to cold water than indoor plants. So, using a hose pipe outside shouldn’t be too much of an issue!

Most houseplants do well with tap water, but if your tap water is heavily chlorinated, let it sit out for 24 hours before using it. Plants such as calatheas and prayer plants benefit from filtered water.

3. Watering Technique

When watering, you want to water the soil evenly until water starts to drain out of the bottom of the pot. Ensure your plant has large drainage holes so excess water can escape. Preventing water from accumulating at the bottom can help fend off root rot, pests, and the development of mould and fungal growth.

4. Frequency

Be sure to set a regular watering schedule based on the plant’s needs. Typically, once a week is common for many houseplants, but some may require more or less frequent watering. If you’re ever unsure, have a look at our plant care guides.

Plants may need more water during their growing season (spring and summer) and less during their dormant period (fall and winter). So, this is something to consider!

During the summer months, you may want to water plants early in the morning. You can also do evening watering. When the weather is hot, watering can scorch the roots. Although rare, this can damage plant health.

5. Observe and Adjust

Wilting leaves can indicate that you are under-watering your houseplant. Alternatively, yellowing leaves can indicate over-watering. These two conditions can be devastating for plant health. Being able to know if you’re over or under-watering is vital in keeping your houseplants happy and healthy.

You can also consider the humidity of your home. Dry air can cause plants to need more frequent watering. So, if you live in a drier home, it may be wise to water your plants more frequently or invest in a high-quality plant mister

How Do I Know It’s Time to Water Plants?

Knowing when to water a plant is crucial for its health and growth. Here are several methods to determine the right time to water your indoor plants:

1. Soil Moisture Test

Conducting a soil moisture test is simple! We use the “thumb” test. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s usually time to water. If it feels moist, wait a few days before checking again. Not all plants require frequent watering. So, if you have a plant you know needs frequent or very little watering, bear this in mind!

You can also use a moisture meter for a more precise measurement. Insert it into the soil, and it will give you a reading of the moisture level. We actually sell soil, light, and water testers in our shop!

2. Visual Cues

The colour and texture of soil is often a dead giveaway about your plant’s condition. Dry soil often appears lighter in colour and crumbly, while moist soil is darker and sticks together. 

Clay soil will often hold more water than sandy soil as it is more resistant to water loss. If the plant is wilting, it might need water. However, be careful as wilting can also be a sign of over-watering.

3. Weight Test

You can always lift the pot to feel its weight. A dry pot will be noticeably lighter than a well-watered one. With practice, you can gauge whether a plant needs water based on how heavy the pot feels.

Watering deeply increases the weight of potted plants. As a plant absorbs water and gains sun exposure, water will begin to evaporate, meaning it’s time for another watering!

5. Seasonal Adjustments

Plants often need more water during their active growing seasons (spring and summer) and less during dormant periods (fall and winter). Different seasons can also lead to differences in temperature and humidity.

Higher temperatures and lower humidity levels can cause soil to dry out faster, necessitating more frequent watering. Plants in sunnier spots or near heat sources may dry out quicker than those in cooler, shaded areas.

What Common Indoor Plants Need a Lot of Watering?

Certain indoor plants require more frequent watering to thrive. Here are some common indoor plants that typically need a lot of water:

1. Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)

Peace lilies prefer consistently moist soil. They are sensitive to drying out and will wilt noticeably when they need water. Water once the top inch of soil feels dry.

2. Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata)

Boston ferns love humidity and consistently moist soil. They can dry out quickly, especially in dry indoor environments. Keep the soil evenly moist and mist regularly to maintain humidity.

3. Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum)

Spider plants prefer evenly moist soil. They are relatively tolerant of occasional dryness but thrive with regular watering. Water when the top inch of soil dries out.

4. Elephant Ear (Alocasia)

These plants prefer consistently moist soil and high humidity. They can suffer from leaf drop if they dry out too much. Water when the top inch of soil feels dry and mist regularly.

6. Calathea

Calathea plants require high humidity and evenly moist soil. They are sensitive to dry conditions. Water when the top inch of soil is dry and mist regularly.

9. English Ivy (Hedera helix)

English ivy prefers its soil to be kept moist but not waterlogged. It thrives in high humidity. Water when the top inch of soil dries out.

10. Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)

Chinese evergreens prefer their soil to be consistently moist, especially during the growing season. Water when the top inch of soil is dry.

What Common Indoor Plants Do Not Need Watering Frequently?

Indoor plants that require minimal watering are ideal for those who prefer low-maintenance gardening or might occasionally forget to water their plants. Here are some common indoor plants that need the least amount of watering:

1. Succulents

Common succulents include Aloe Vera, Echeveria, Haworthia. Succulents store water in their leaves and stems, requiring infrequent watering. Thus, you should water every 2-4 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

2. Cacti

Common cacti include Saguaro, Barrel Cactus, Christmas Cactus. Cacti thrive in dry environments and store water in their stems. As such, water every 3-4 weeks, ensuring the soil is completely dry before watering again.

3. Snake Plant (Sansevieria)

Snake plants are very drought-tolerant and can survive long periods without water. That’s why they’re a part of our (almost) Unkillable plant range! Water your snake plant every 2-6 weeks, allowing the soil to dry out completely between waterings.

4. ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

ZZ plants are also on our (almost) Unkillable and easy-care plant ranges. They have rhizomes that store water, making them very low-maintenance. Water every 2-3 weeks, ensuring the soil is dry to the touch before watering.

5. Pothos (Epipremnum aureum)

Pothos plants are quite adaptable and can tolerate occasional neglect. Common variations of pothos include the marble queen“neon” pothos, and the infamous devil’s ivy. Water every 1-2 weeks, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.

6. Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)

Known for its resilience, the Cast Iron Plant can withstand neglect and low light. It’s one of the perfect gifts for him and for her! Water every 2-3 weeks, letting the soil dry out between waterings.

7. Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)

Rubber plants prefer to dry out between waterings. Water every 1-2 weeks, ensuring the top layer of soil is dry before the next watering.

Conclusion

Watering indoor and outdoor plants is quite a simple business. If you know when it’s time to water outdoor plants and indoor plants then you can avoid under or over-watering. As a general rule of thumb, if the soil feels dry, then it’s time to add a little more water to your plant’s soil. 

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