When to Water your Plant
Providing your plant with enough water in a way that supports healthy root and leaf growth can be surprisingly challenging. Though every plant is a little bit different, here are a few general tips to help you properly water your plant and maximize its health. These first few tips are most critical, and then we offer some additional pointers for those who are ready to become true plant experts!
1. Learn your plant’s watering needs: Plants may differ in terms of the frequency and amount of water that they require. For instance, plants adapted to desert conditions like cacti and succulents will need much less water than other plants. As a member of the Welltended community, we make it easy for you and provide simple care cards with every order. We also provide plant care information here on our website.
2. The frequency and amount of watering will also be determined by the environment your plant is in. You should expect to give more water to a plant that resides in a high sunlight space like a south-facing windowsill than to a plant that sits in a cool, lower-lit alcove. For instance, some plants like Mother-in-Law's Tongue can tolerate brighter-light conditions, but do fine in a low light space. This plant will, therefore, need a different amount of water depending on where you keep it.
3. Always check to see if your plant is thirsty before watering! Though checking on your plant at recommended intervals can help you stick to a schedule and actually remember to water your plant (and at Welltended, we give you automated reminders to do just that!), we don't recommend actually watering it on a set schedule. Instead, the moisture level of the soil is the plant's method of communicating with you and telling you whether or not water is needed. To check the moisture level of the soil, stick your index finger into the it to test whether the 1-2 inches of soil is dry (this should be roughly the distance from your fingertip to your first/ second knuckle). For many plants, feeling moisture or wetness is a sign that you should hold off on watering and check back in a couple of days; or, a sign that you should proceed with watering if the potting medium is completely dry. The preferred level of moisture for the plant's soil may vary slightly depending on the plant and these details are included on Welltended care cards.
How to Water your Plant
Though seemingly simple, there is also a "best practices" means of watering your plant. Here are our tips for watering your plant:
1. Slowly pour water over the surface of the soil. Focus on wetting the entire soil surface and take your time to let the water seep down to your plant’s roots. For some plants like succulents, it's also recommended that you focus the water on the soil itself, and avoid splashing water on the leaves.
2. Stop watering when you notice that the soil is starting to look and feel wet. The soil should feel noticeably wet, but there shouldn’t be pools of water forming. As much as possible, the moisture should be evenly distributed throughout the potting medium.
3. Most importantly, err on the side of under-watering rather than over-watering your plant. Over-watering is extremely common, and probably the #1 way that people kill their houseplants. Too much water can rot your plant’s roots. Plus, it's easy to give your plant additional water if you notice the soil has dried out too quickly.
Extra Tips and Tricks for the Pro Plant Parent
Here are a few "Pro Tips" if you'd like some additional guidance with watering your plant. Our team at Welltended is also available any time at 312-600-5998 or [email protected] We typically respond within 24 hours (though often even sooner than that!) and we're happy to answer your plant questions.
- Write down the amount of water you give your plant to help you understand how much water your plant needs on a weekly basis.
- Your plant will need more water during the growing season (April -October) and less during the colder months of the year.
- Water your plants in the morning to let your plant absorb water throughout the day. This will prevent wet feet at night and potential root rot.
- Familiarize yourself with what your plant weighs both before and after watering and soon you will be able to tell if your plant is thirsty just by picking it up!
- Fill up a watering can and leave it out overnight to let chlorine evaporate. While plants tolerate chlorinated water, they prefer water without it. Our team prefers to keep watering cans filled after every watering, so that we always have it ready to go whenever our plants get thirsty.
Signs of Over/Under-Watering
The best way to stress and damage a plant is by giving too much water, and it often can take some experimenting to find the perfect moisture balance. Limp leaves, yellow or browning leaves, or soggy cactus stems are all signs that your plant is not receiving the right moisture balance. If caught early enough, it can often be corrected before your plant starts to decline. If you suspect a watering challenge with your plant, contact us at Welltended for help! For a plant that has been under-watered, it's important to slowly give it water again -- too much water at once will harm your plant. If your plant has been over-watered, put it somewhere bright to help dry the soil, and avoid watering for several days.
You Can Do It!
Pretty much every person who has ever owned a plant, has also killed a plant. The reality is that plant care requires some experimenting. Stay confident, and we are here to help you along the way!