How often should I water my indoor plants?

Quick Answer

Finding the perfect watering plan for your leafy friends is a bit like making the perfect cup of tea – everyone takes it differently! Forget those one-size-fits-all rules. Is your plant a thirsty type? Does it sit in a fancy pot or a terracotta one? Sunbathing or lurking in a shady corner? All of these things make a difference. Your best bet? Get hands-on and poke that soil. If the top bit's dry, it's usually time for a drink.

Further Information

Figuring out how often to water your indoor plants is one of the trickiest bits of plant parenthood. Schedules are useless, because it depends on the plant, the pot, the soil... even the weather outside! But with a bit of know-how, you'll be a watering whizz in no time.

Forget What You Heard: The Finger Test is Your Friend

The BEST way to know if it's watering time? Stick your finger in the soil! Here's the lowdown:

  • Soil is dry all the way down to your first knuckle: Time to water!
  • Soil is still a bit damp: Your plant is happy, check again in a day or two.

This works for almost EVERY houseplant. The only exceptions are a few super-fussy types – we'll get to those later.

Why Watering Schedules DON'T Work

Think about it: does a tiny succulent in a terracotta pot need watering as often as a big, leafy Fern in a plastic pot? Nope! Here's what affects drying speed:

  • Plant Type: ZZ Plants are camels, Ferns are drama queens when it comes to thirst.
  • Pot Size & Type:
    • Small pots dry out way faster
    • Plastic holds moisture longer than terracotta, which 'breathes'
  • Soil: Light, fluffy mixes dry out faster than heavy ones packed with peat
  • Light: More light (usually) = faster drying, especially direct sun
  • Temp & Humidity: Warm, dry air = thirsty plants! Think how much quicker your laundry dries on a sunny day... same idea.

Signs You're Doing It Wrong (And How to Fix!)

  • Overwatering: Yellow, mushy leaves, mould on the soil – STOP watering! Let it dry out more between drinks to avoid root rot (the #1 plant killer).
  • Underwatering: Crispy, droopy leaves, slow growth... your plant is begging for a drink! Water deeply, but less often is the key.

Extra Tips for Watering Success

  • Drainage is Everything: Pots MUST have holes, or those roots will drown.
  • Pot Material Matters: Plants that hate wet feet (Snake Plants, succulents, some Orchids) do better in terracotta. Lush, leafy types are usually fine with plastic.
  • Soak Thoroughly: Water until it runs from the bottom, then dump out any excess. Soggy saucers = bad news!
  • Tools of the Trade:
    • Moisture meters are great for beginners, or if you tend to overwater
    • Long-spouted watering cans make it easier to avoid getting leaves wet (which can lead to rot in some plants)

What About Those Fussy Plants?

A few plants need special treatment:

  • Snake Plants: Every few weeks is usually enough, when soil's COMPLETELY dry
  • Boston Ferns: Keep soil slightly damp and mist the leaves often
  • Monsteras: Let the top inch or two of soil dry between waterings
  • Orchids: Weird bark mix needs to dry out almost fully between waterings. They also hate having wet leaves for long!
  • Succulents & Cacti: Drench the soil, then leave them alone until it's bone dry again (could be weeks!). Mushy succulents are almost always overwatered.

We're Here to Help!

Plant watering can be confusing at first, but you'll get the hang of it. And remember, the team at is your plant-obsessed support crew!

  • Plant in trouble? Snap a photo (include the pot!) and email it over – we'll give you advice
  • Specific care guides: Most popular plants have detailed guides on our site, including watering tips
  • Ask us ANYTHING: We love helping folks learn to keep their plant babies thriving. 🌿

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