Incorrect watering is the main reason that houseplants die – particularly overwatering. Here are the best methods to water healthy plants and save wilted ones.


Most plants can be watered from above. If your plant has fuzzy leaves, however, or the foliage covers the potting mix, water it from below to avoid splashing the leaves. Orchids can be dipped and drained – this allows their coarse mix to absorb the right amount of water temperature doesn’t shock them. Its so also worth leaving a bucket outside (if possible) to collect rainwater. Some plants, such as bromeliads, prefer it, as they are sensitive to the chemicals in hard tap water.


Use this method to avoid splashing the leaves, which will create ugly marks and lead to the leaves rotting. Set the pot in a saucer of water for around 30 minutes. Drain any excess water from the saucer.


For most plants, use a thin, long-necked watering can so that the spout can reach the potting mix easily. Water around the base of the plant so that the mix is evenly moist, and allow the excess water to drain away.


A good technique for watering orchids: place the pot in a container of lukewarm water and leave it to stand for around 10 minutes. Let it drain thoroughly.


Here are some things to consider when figuring out whether your plant needs watering, and how much water to give it.

  • Overwatering is the number - one cause of houseplant death. But be sure not to underwater, eathier.
  • Don’t water on a fixed schedule – get to know your plant’s needs instead. Most plants only need watering when the top ½ - ¾ in (1-2cm) of potting mix is dry – gently poke your finger into the soil to test it. If a rosette of leaves is will have dry mix.
  • Aim to make the potting mix moist, but not wet. Most houseplants hate sitting in soggy potting mix, so always let excess water drain away.
  • Potting mix in terra-cotta pots dries out more quickly than that in plastic or ceramic pots; this is because terra-cotta is a porous material.
  • Most plants need less water in the winter because they are not actively growing. Some plants need this period of winter rest to reflower.


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