Houseplants and Watering Needs
When do I water my plant?
It is best to check plants on a schedule and only water them when they need it. The watering needs of houseplants often fall into one of four categories: high, medium-high, medium-low, and low water. Additionally, how often you need to water changes at different times of the year as outside factors such as humidity and temperature of your home, the amount of light the plant is receiving, and how root-bound it fluctuates.
High-water plants do not like to dry out, but they don’t like to sit in water either. High-water plants like to be watered once their surface soil is dry to the touch. You can usually tell visually by the lightening in soil color, or you can use your finger to test the dryness. If the soil is still damp you will want to wait a bit longer.
Medium-High Water Plants
Medium-high water plants like to be watered when they are dry about a quarter of the way down their pot. An easy way to check the depth of dryness is to insert a chopstick or other utensil to the desired depth and pull it out. If it comes out clean then your plant is ready for water, but if soil clings to it you will want to wait.
Medium-Low Water Plants
Medium-low water plants like to be watered when they are about 50% dry. Use the same utensil method as above, but at a depth of halfway down the pot instead.
Low-water plants like to completely dry between waterings. You can check the depth of dryness using the same utensil method above. Alternatively, plants like succulents and hoyas can be checked by gently pressing on their leaves; if the leaf is firm then the plant does not need water, but if the leaf has a give to it, it is ready for a drink.
How do I water my plant?
As a general rule, you want to water your plant thoroughly until water drips from the drainage holes. One exception to this rule is if your plant is in a lower light environment; plants need to dry out in an adequate amount of time as staying wet too long can lead to suffocation and rot of the roots. That being said, no plant should be left sitting in water.
For that same reason, if you choose to plant into a vessel without drainage holes it is important to make sure you are only giving the plant enough water to make it until the next watering.
Can I use a pot that does not have drainage holes?
The best option in using a ceramic pot that lacks drainage is to keep your plant in a nursery pot and then set that into the ceramic. The advantage of this is it allows you to pull out the plant, water it thoroughly, and then return it to the ceramic pot without risking root rot. It also makes it easier to check root health and up-pot your plant when it is time.
If you do want to plant directly into the ceramic pot, it is advised that you line the bottom with ¼” of grower’s charcoal. This antimicrobial substance will help to absorb and re-release small amounts of excess moisture, unlike gravel which simply raises the water table and can cause bacterial growth in your pot.
We suggest using Uni-Gro Charcoal. We have this product for purchase in our retail store. You can also find a similar charcoal product in a nursery or gardening center near you