How Often Should You Water and Feed Houseplants

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Watering is one of the most common reasons why houseplants die; this can be either over or under watering? There are no hard and fast rules as to how often you should water a plant as it often depends on factors such as the species of plant, the age of the plant, the size of the pot it’s growing in, and even soil content.

How Often Should You Water and Feed Houseplants

One thing’s for sure, you can’t just leave any plant without water altogether; this may sound obvious but many people lead busy lives and forget that their plants need watering. There are some general points to consider regarding the watering of houseplants – you can visit Gaddys indoor plant hire to answer some of these questions for yourself.

Which plants need more water and which less?

Plants that are native to marshy areas such as the corkscrew rush (Juncus Effusus) like soggy soil and should never be allowed to dry out. Plants that have long, thin and fragile leaves will need watering regularly in order to prevent the tips of their leaves from turning brown and fracturing. Once a plant has started to dry out it can be difficult to save it. Although they still need watering on occasion succulents can survive for longer periods without water due to their thick leaves and stems.

When is a plant likely to need more water?

If a plant is experiencing a period of growth it’s likely to need more water. This can also be the case if a plant is growing in a relatively small pot and/or if it is growing in a very warm environment, or one where the air is dry. You may also need to consider watering a houseplant more often if it is kept in a clay pot.

How can you tell when a plant needs water?

This may sound strange but you can often tell if a plant is in need of water by how much it weighs. Soil that’s completely dry weighs a lot less than soil which is damp, so if you lift a pot containing a plant and it feels lighter than usual chances are it’s time for watering. You can tell if this is definitely the case by sticking your fingers down into the soil. You should water a plant only when the area of the pot containing the roots starts to dry out; this usually equates to the bottom two thirds of the soil in the pot.

Be careful with overwatering

Giving a plant too much water can be just as damaging as giving it too little. If you water a plant while the roots are still wet from the last time the roots can start to rot. This can also happen if you leave a plant to stand in water. Some plants, such as African violets, benefit from being placed in a saucer of water so that they can drink; this prevents damage to their leaves which can happen if they are watered from above. But they should not just be left in the saucer; any water that remains after one hour should be poured away.

What about feeding?

Feeding for houseplants is usually a seasonal concern. The majority of plants flower and grow in the spring and summer; during this time it’s important to feed plants with liquid fertilizer every 10-14 days. The same applies to plants that flower in the winter but only during their flowering period which is obviously seasonally different. During their dormant period (when they are not growing) plants don’t need to be fed and require reduced amounts of water.

How much and how often do you water your houseplants?

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About Catherine

Catherine is a self-proclaimed “organization junkie” living in Los Angeles. She blogs about family, entertainment, food and anything else that pops into her mind.


  1. I actually water mine every other day, I have a rain barrel outside that I use all the time. Those plants really like the rain water.

  2. James Robert says:

    We had always had bad luck with house plants and you shared some great tips. Appreciate it, thanks

  3. This is a great guide, thank you for posting! I love having house plants but am never good at keeping them alive!

  4. Kathy Lausche says:

    I usually wait to water my house plants until they are pretty dry. Then I soak them good.

  5. Debbie Welchert says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I have one house plant that my grandson gave me from school (spider plant) about eight years ago and it still lives. I had recently split it because it was getting too big for it’s pot and put the other potted plant out on my deck because I thought it was dying. Wow, was I surprise how it took off and looks better then the one in my house. I’m really scared to brink it back in this fall because I might kill it. But with your great tips, hopefully I won’t.

  6. Great post! I can never keep plants alive! I either forget to water them or give them too much! I’ll have to remember the weighing trick for next time :)

  7. cheryla lister says:

    I once killed a small cactus by over-watering! I like the tip about how heavy the plant and pot weigh as a guide to watering. That seems very practical and helpful.

  8. I should have seen this a few years ago. I used to have a house full of plants. They died one by one because I didn’t water them correctly.

  9. I usually look my houseplants up online to see how often they will need to be watered and fertilized. But you gave some very helpful tips! I haven’t had the best of luck with plants before, but am hoping to get more into it. There’s nothing quite like beautiful plants around the house to keep us happy and give out that oxygen! ;)

  10. I don’t water my house plants often but somehow they survive!

  11. Tamra Phelps says:

    Oh, boy, I once killed a cactus because I just could not believe it needed no water! I put the tiniest bit of water in it (1/4 cup, maybe) & of course it died. Clearly, I need help, lol.

  12. I usually leave care of houseplants to my hubby. I either over water or under water. I can’t seem to get it right.

  13. I find that it really depends on the plant (duh, I know!) and that some can tolerate and even prefer a fair amount of neglect. The hard thing for me to stay on top of is when it gets really crazy hot here in SoCal that the plants need to be moved back from the windows or they burn.

  14. Thank you for this guide to houseplants. I have killed them before by over-watering.

  15. I’m terrible with potted plants. I almost always kill them. Oops. :(

  16. Rebecca HM. says:

    Thanks for the great tips, thus far the plants inside are doing great, the plants outside not so much. Would you happen to know how to bring a blackberry plant back to life? We have a little green left, and I cut off all the dead. It’s just not doing well. It died once, so I cleared it but the came back green, now its dying again. I am pretty sure its the heat, thinking of moving it inside, but would love some feedback.

  17. Jenifer R. says:

    Thanks for sharing this good advice! I have never had a green thumb when it comes to house plants, but now I know I am pretty sure I am over watering them.

  18. I water my house plants every three days but hey seem to do best when I mist them every morning. I mist both the tops and bottoms of the leaves.

  19. I have a green thumb and most of my plants do very well. The one plant I have a problem in with my Christmas Cactus. I know that it is a succulent and doesn’t require as much water but I just can’t seem to get it right.

  20. I do NOT have a green thumb so I do good to even remember to water any plants I have. I was given a large potted mix with several plants and flowers as a very late housewarming several months ago and I keep it on the front porch where it gets very direct sun for a good bit of each day but still gets some shade so I water it every other day, but often it should be watered everyday. But hey, it’s still alive! That’s good for me lol

  21. I am not good at taking care of houseplants but I love having them. I am either overwatering or underwatering. It is quite sad. You’d think I would figure it out. My husband has started taking care of them, he says he is tired of buying plants only to throw them away ;)

  22. Sarah Oswald says:

    My mother was wonderful she could bring just about any plant back to life she would tell us when we needed to water her flowers but I dont remember her telling us other than feeling the soil when they needed watering. I did not inherit her green thumb rather my husband calls me the plant killer he say I can kill a cactus if given the chance.

  23. Lisa Konieczke says:

    I find this info to be very helpful. Honestly… I can kill an artificial house plant!
    I always forget to water until I suddenly notice that the leaves are looking a little limp. Then I give it a shower and it comes back to life. I use the watering bulbs now too.

  24. If you’d like to water less, I’d recommend [semi] self-sustaining terrariums. They’re only only fun to make and beautiful, but they require less maintenance. :)

  25. thomas rusinak says:

    we have indoor and outdoor plants and care for them like kids..

  26. Thank You for the great tips. I do not have a green thumb. I seem to kill every thing. But I do have a plant which I have had for 20 Yrs. But it is not a plant that looks healthy. I will try feeding it more often.

  27. Janice Pittenger says:

    Nothing is going to help me and my dying plants

  28. one time a week

  29. Kristen H. says:

    This is why I love succulents. They don’t require any maintenance, but the occasional watering. =)

  30. I didn’t realize the fertilizer was so important. I am not great with plants :(

  31. Karen Jaras says:

    If your plant needs calcium, save the water from boiled eggs and let it cool.

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