How Often Should You Water Plants? It Depends; Here’s How To Tell

Watering less frequently but more thoroughly is usually better for your plants, McCullough and Thompson agree. Plants tend to prefer a good soak over a quick drink. This might mean that you are watering your plants less often and that’s fine; better that than watering too frequently.

The key is making sure that the entire pot of soil is nice and soaked through after every watering. You’ll know this has happened once the water starts to come out of your pot’s drainage hole (every pot should have one of these!)

Gently cover your topsoil with a steady stream of room temperature water, moving around to ensure an even coat of water throughout. Tap water should be fine here but if you have especially hard water at home you might want to use distilled to avoid nutrient imbalances.

Once you see that water is coming out of the bottom, it’s your cue to stop. Give your plant a few minutes to drink up the water that’s collected in its saucer. If there’s any water left after 15 minutes, dump it in the sink. Your plant doesn’t need it and it and leaving it sitting there could drown out the roots.

Potential signs that you’ve overwatered include yellowing leaves, soft squishy leaves, brown edges, and pests, depending on the plant. Thompson says that overwatering is the number one cause of plant death, so his rule of thumb is “I always say that if you want to show your plant love, give it good light. Don’t give it water.”

But again, if you feel you keep tabs on soil moisture, only water when your plant really needs it, and stop watering once you see water coming out of your pot, you should have some happy plants on your hands.

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