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When Do I Water My Plants?

When Do I Water My Plants?

When do I water my house plant? As a general rule, I like to check my plants on a schedule and only water them when they need it. Different water needs vary between high, medium-high, medium-low, and low plants. 

When it comes to how often to water your plants, it depends upon the size of the pot, relative humidity, and the temperature of the home. With these variables, how often I water changes with the weather. 

High-Water Plants: 
High-water plants do not like to dry out, but they do not like to sit in water either. Think of it as high-water like to drink a lot, not swim. To tell if my high-water plant needs water, I touch the surface with my finger and when I pull it away if my finger feels dry, then it needs water. If my finger is damp, then it does not need any water. Be sure to note, the surface of the soil may still feel slightly damp while the finger rests on it.

Here are a few ways I like to water my high-water plants: 

  1. You can water them a little bit, usually once a day, or every other day 
    or
  2. You can water them thoroughly until the water comes out of the bottom of the pot. Usually, if you water it this way you can go for longer periods of time between waterings. 

Medium-High Water Plants:
Medium-high water plants like to be watered when the top of the soil starts to look dry. Usually, this is when the soil goes from a darker color to a lighter color. Water them until water comes out of the bottom of the pot. These guys can also tolerate smaller amounts of water more frequently (if you like to have the habit of watering daily).

Medium-Low Water Plants:
Medium-low water plants like to be watered when they are about 50% dry. If you can push your finger down to the second knuckle and when you pull it out, your finger is clean (just like you would do with a cake), then the plant needs to be watered. Water these guys until water runs out the bottom of the pot.

Low-Water Plants:
Low-water does not mean the plant only needs a little bit of water, it means it can go for a long period of time without water. There are a few ways to tell if your low-water plant needs water.

  1. The plant is significantly lighter in weight. 
  2. Is the soil dry? Do the leaves have a little give when they are pressed on? 
  3. The soil is starting to pull away from the sides and looks compacted.

Anyone who has been in the desert when it rains knows that it floods. When we water low-water and desert plants, we need to water them the same way. Use lots of water until it flows from the bottom of the pot. As the water passes quickly past the roots, the plant drinks up as much water as it can. If you only spritz it or give it a tiny amount of water, it will not be enough to sustain the plant or allow it to develop a healthy root system. 

The leaves and/or stems of most low-water plants are used to store extra water. This is what makes the plant feel firm. You should wait until the water storage starts to deplete before watering them again. This usually makes the leaves not so firm. And if you wait longer the leaves will become withered, then you have waited too long to water your plant. There is still hope. By all means, water it and it will come back, but it will not regrow those bottom leaves.   

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