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House Plant Parenting Course

How much should I water my plant?

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How much should I water my plant?

It's important to make sure your plant gets enough water to grow healthily, but no so much that it drowns.

There is no universal answer for how to water plants, but there are general rules. You'll find specific watering instructions on on your plant's care page, but as a rule, it's helpful to think about where your plant lives in the wild. Dry desert plants will be used to going for a while without water, whereas tropical rainforest plants are used to regular showers and high humidity.

For almost all plants, you should water them only when the top inch or so of soil feels dry. An easy way to check if your plant needs watering is to follow the finger dip test.

Never be tempted to over-water. Over-watering is equally as harmful as under-watering. Letting a plant sit in water can cause it to rot. One of the reasons we recommend that you keep your plant in its nursery pot (the brown or black pot it arrives in) is that nursery pots have holes in the bottom, for drainage. The best way to water your plants is in the sink. Water them until water runs out of the holes in the bottom of the nursery pot, then leave them in the sink for about half an hour or so to let any excess water drain out. Then pop the whole think back in its decorative pot.

An under-watered plant will usually have dry, brown or yellow leaves. An over-watered plant will often have yellow, drooping leaves.

How to keep your plant watered when you're away

If you’re going away on holiday and are concerned about leaving your plant behind, there are a few methods we recommend to keep it alive.

Water bulbs slowly drip water into your plant’s soil to keep them hydrated. Others allow the plant itself to suck up water when it needs - check out hydrospikes for this. For a DIY method for small plants, try putting one end of a damp piece of cloth in the soil and the other end in a glass of water. As the plant needs more moisture it will wick it up through the cloth.

The best solution, however, is to ask a friend or neighbour to come in and water your plants for you. Just tell them to follow the finger dip test.