The Well Watered Houseplant

Houseplants have it tough. Indoor growing conditions are less than ideal, making plants entirely dependent on you to provide the right growing conditions – especially in cold, cloudy weather. Because houseplants are confined to a pot with limited drainage, they’re much less forgiving about water needs than their outdoor counterparts. In fact, according to the University of Connecticut Soil Nutrient Analysis Laboratory, incorrect watering is the number-one reason that our indoor plants bite the dust. We’ve got some tips to keep your thirsty plants happy:

  • Pamper houseplants with lukewarm water – cold tap water can shock them.
  • Fill your watering can or mister with tap water, then let it stand overnight to let additives like fluoride and chlorine dissipate before you water. Some houseplants are sensitive to these chemicals – if so, it might cause browning of leaf tips.
  • Instead of watering by the calendar, check the soil for dryness with your finger. If watering is needed, water deeply and thoroughly to reach the whole root system.
  • Generally, plants with thick, waxy leaves need more water than plants with lots of leaves.
  • Soil in porous clay pots can dry out faster than in glazed or plastic pots.
  • All potting containers should have drainage holes in the bottom with trays underneath to catch overflow. If your house is dry (low humidity), fill plant trays with small pebbles, then place plant pots on top. Keep the pebble tray filled with water (up to the point that the pebbles aren’t quite covered). Evaporation will increase moisture levels around your plants.

Addressing your indoor houseplants’ watering needs correctly will help keep them happy, green and healthy through the winter and beyond. In addition, spraying them with an indoor insecticide/fungicide like Garden Safe® Brand Fungicide3® every week to two weeks can control common houseplant bugs and prevent fungal infection.