Watering Tips for Houseplants

The most common error made in the care for houseplants, is watering that's done too often, or in too great a quantity. Soon, you have leaves that turn yellow, droop and fall off. This is where a little fundamental houseplant care knowledge can go a long way.

Regardless of what seasonal zone you may live in, almost all indoor plants have "rest" cycles, where their growth slows down or stops. So it makes sense to cut back on watering a houseplant that's not going to use up all that moisture. Likewise, they have a growth season, usually in Spring and Summer, when many houseplants require additional watering, along with some fertilization.

When determining the watering needs of your indoor plants, it helps to consult the sales staff where it was purchased, the labels that often come on pots, or a book/resource on the care for houseplants. As a rule of thumb, houseplants that are primarily foliage, when planted in a loose medium allowing good drainage, should be watered when the top half-inch of soil becomes dry. However, for indoor plants that are flowering varieties, watering should be done just often enough to keep the soil moist to the surface, but not wet or soggy. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, which is why it's wise to check with a houseplant authority, on how much watering a particular plant needs. Ferns and philodendrons for example, tend to be thirstier than your common violets or spider plants.

You can assess whether your houseplants need watering, by inserting a finger up to the first knuckle, into the potting medium. If it's dry at the fingertip, then it's time for some water. If you don't quite trust yourself with this method, you can get an inexpensive meter for your indoor plants, which reads the amount of moisture in the soil. Watering care for your houseplants is that easy!

Ideally, indoor plants should be given room temperature or very tepid water. For those on city or town systems, you can set out a jug of water overnight, to allow the evaporation of the chlorine, a process known as "seasoning" your water. If you have a freshwater aquarium, then your houseplants will benefit from being watered with what you take from the tank, because it is rich in nutrients and has no chemicals.

Remember- when it comes to watering, more is not always better. Check each plant's soil before tipping that watering pot! Care for houseplants can be as simple as that!

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