Unlike outdoor plants, indoor plants depend on you for everything. Caring for indoor plants requires that you know what each plant needs. Many people think it’s a good idea to water plants on a specific schedule, but really it’s much better to check each plant every day to see whether or not it needs to be watered on that day. This requires that you frequently check the soil to see whether or not the plant needs to be watered. It is very important that the pot that the plant is in has drainage holes in the bottom so that water can drain from the bottom, and the roots are not sitting in water all the time. If the roots are sitting in water, they will rot, and the plant will die. Not every type of house plant is the same watering needs, so it is necessary to do some research on your plant see what type of watering it needs. Some plants need to be fairly moist all the time, while others need to dry out between waterings. Morning is a good time to water plants so they have a chance to dry out before it starts to get cooler later in the evening.
Put your finger in the soil down to the first knuckle, if you can’t even get your finger into the soil that means the plant definitely needs to be watered. If some of the dirt sticks to your finger, and the soil feels fairly moist, it probably has enough water. Keep an eye on the leaves as they can provide a good indication of whether the plant is getting enough water, or too much water. If the leaves are drooping, this often means that the plant needs to be watered. If they are brown, dry, or some leaves have fallen off, this also means that the plant needs to be watered. On the other hand, these signs can also mean that the plant has been over watered, so it is always important to use these observations in conjunction with checking whether or not the soil is dry. If the plant has been watered recently, give the plant some time to absorb the water before watering again.
It can be useful to learn how heavy the plant is when it has been well watered. You can test see if your plant has been watered enough by picking it up, and feeling how heavy it is. Lift it from time to time, and if it doesn’t feel heavy enough, this means that it needs to be watered. Of course only do this if your plant is light enough to be lifted easily. Don’t injure yourself trying to lift your plant up!
Some plants are sensitive to the type of water that is used. The chlorine in tap water can kill some plants. If you suspect that the chlorine in the water is hurting your plant, let the water sit out overnight in a large container before watering. I always keep water in a large plastic jug that has been filled up the night before.
Try to distribute the water evenly across the surface of the soil. When you water, it’s better to start out by giving the plant too little water rather than too much. You can always water more if you give into little water, but overwatering is more difficult to correct. Be sure to water until water comes out of the holes on the bottom of the pot. You want to be sure that the roots at the bottom of the pot get water, and just watering the surface of the soil will not accomplish this. Some plants also benefit from misting with a spray bottle, but not all plants, so you need to know the requirements of your plant.
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