Watering Houseplants

Watering Houseplants

Many of our customers ask us how to water houseplants. This has been one of the most often-asked questions in our greenhouse, and for good reason. Too much water will surely kill a plant just as easily as too little water.

Is there a trick to watering?

In a word, no…and yes. Okay, that’s three words.

Watering requires several skills: attention, observation, and consistency.

A light-weight watering can with a thin spout is most useful for watering houseplants.

When you buy a new plant in the greenhouse, we usually give you a care sheet. The sheets describe general care for your plant, including the watering needs for your plant.

Of course, these watering guidelines presuppose a few things: one, that the plant will have drainage; two, the plant is in the correct size planter; and three, that the plant is in the right location.

Drainage is essential. Very few plants tolerate “wet feet,” that is, a state of overwater. Dish gardens and terrariums are the exception, and will be discussed in a future blog. (Planter size and plant location will also be discussed at a later date.)

Plants are living things. They react to what’s around them, perhaps more slowly than we ambulatory beings do, but react—and respond—they do.

One way to tell if a plant needs water is to pick it up. If the pot feels light, it needs water… and alternatively, if the pot is heavy, stop watering for a time; i.e., two or three days.

See this post for photos of houseplants that were not watered completely.

If you have larger floor plants, a moisture meter can be of great use. We have a nice selection of meters in our Patio section.

Common sense is the best tool in a gardener’s toolbox. Before dumping water on that poor, droopy plant, check the soil! Put your finger and inch or two into the soil. Often, drooping plants are overwatered, so before you kill your plant with kindness, check it.

If you listen to the plant, it will tell you what it needs. And, like a zen koan, you listen to a plant—but not with your ears.

If you have any questions about your greenhouse plant, please call us at the store: 508-775-8703

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