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How Often Should I Water My Houseplants? Stop Overwatering!

Knowing when to water your plants is key to having a green thumb. If you have a tendency to forget to water your plants or are a helicopter plant parent with a watering can, you may be watering wrong. Here’s how often you should water houseplants, based on what they’re telling you!

In this post, we’ll cover:

How Often Should You Water Houseplants?

How often you need to water a plant depends on the type of plant you have and the time of year. The best way to determine if it’s time to water is by touching the soil.

Stick your finger in the potting soil up to the first knuckle, or grab a little to do a moisture test. Wet soil will be cool to the touch and stay stuck together in clumps. The dry soil is crumbly and scratchy.

Let the plant dry between waterings, then give it a good deep watering.

Signs It’s Time to Water Houseplants

The soil will be your biggest indicator, but also keep an eye out for these signs in your houseplants:

  • Wilting leaves
  • Crisp edges and brown tips
  • Yellowing leaves
  • Wrinkly leaves (especially succulents)
  • Rock hard soil
dying pilea leaf

Summer

Plants need the most water during the summer due to the heat and growth season. I check my houseplants 2-3 times a week in the summer for moisture.

During high heat, you may need to water houseplants every other day. This is especially true for wilty plants like coleus or peperomia.

Winter

Just like outside, many houseplants slow down their growth in the winter. This means they require much less water than they do in the summer.

I reduce my houseplant checks to once a week. In most cases, you won’t need to water your plants. But if a plant is by a heater or other source of warmth, it may dry out quickly even though it’s winter.

pothos in kitchen

Succulents

Succulents need a fair amount less water than their tropical houseplants, but it doesn’t mean they don’t need any water.

In the winter, succulents go dormant. During the winter, you typically only need to water once a month.

In the summer, you can water them once a week if they’re in a high-heat location or every other week. They’re fairly drought tolerant, and most people tend to overwater their succulents.

Click through to read this helpful post about how to water and care for succulents for more info.

How Do I Know If I Am Overwatering My Houseplants?

The most common reason houseplants die is from over-watering. Yes, that’s right. Not neglect and underwatering.

OVERwatering.

Ironically, the signs of overwatering look the same as underwatering. They include:

  • Wilting leaves
  • Curling leaves
  • Discolouring leaves
  • Leaves falling off
  • Soggy roots (root rot)
  • Fungus gnats

Proper drainage is essential to prevent root rot and water properly. Place your plant in a container with drainage holes.

If you prefer a closed-bottom plant pot, line the bottom with pebbles and landscape fabric to create space for water to drain. Alternatively, you can leave the plant in the plastic nursery container and place it inside a closed-bottom pot.

Frequently Asked Questions About Watering Houseplants

How long can house plants go without water?

Longer than you think! Most plants are fairly drought tolerant and can be in completely dry soil for several days before they show signs that they need watering.

Succulents may live up to 3 months, while adult tropical plants can survive 2-3 weeks. Smaller tropicals can last for about a week.

If you’re going away on vacation, try these smart-watering tricks.

Should I water my house plants every day?

Definitely not! Watering daily is a surefire way to overwater your plant and bring it to its demise. The only time you may want to water every day is if you have an especially finicky plant and you’re currently experiencing extreme heat. Even then, perform the soil test!

Ready to keep working on your green thumb? Become a watering pro by checking out my everything guide to watering houseplants.

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