How and when to water your house plants

How and when to water your house plants

Would you consider yourself a plant coddler (over waterer)? How about a plant neglector?

When it comes to watering plants, people usually fall into one of two categories. A plant coddler - or an overwaterer - will water their plants TOO regularly, often causing root rot or fungus.

Plant neglectors, on the other hand, will forget about watering their plants and wait too long, leading to stunted growth, drooping plants, or discoloration.

New plant enthusiasts often have a hard time finding a balance between these two. Unfortunately with watering plants, it often takes a while for a new grower to get to know the different plants and be able to identify the signs that a plant is getting watered too much or too little.

One of the most common problems from new growers is that they over water their plants, or don’t have pots that have enough drainage. “Some of my clients have such a hard time believing that the plant they just spent $250 on only needs to be watered once a week on average”, Girl Boss Plants owner Ashley Pond says. “I think the biggest problem comes from people wanting their new baby plant to grow as big and as quickly as possible, but you can’t push a plant to grow faster than it is ready to.” 

Especially on new cuttings or smaller plants, they can only convert their new food into energy so quick. Water is only ONE part of photosynthesis. You also need to have adequate sunlight to convert water into energy, and roots can only uptake water based on the overall size of the root ball. “When customers water while their plants soil is still damp, it is ripe conditions for root rot to form. Depending on the plant Genus and even the Species, you usually want the top 1/4 to top 3/4 of your soil to be dried out before you water again.”

Plants like Syngonium or Philodendron like to be nearly completely dry before you water, whereas Anthurium or Alocacia prefer to stay moderately moist (but not wet). The main key is knowing the natural conditions that the houseplant you own grows in, and what those conditions would typically be in nature. Anthurium, for instance, is typically found in the bottom of rainforest floors and have adapted to a more moist climate. 

When you first get your plant, it is important to look for signs that you aren’t watering enough or that you are overwatering. If your plant is starting to droop, that could be a sign that your plant is ready to be watered again. If you see your plant starting to yellow or get “mushy” brown spots, that may mean you are overwatering and should let your plant dry out a little more before you water.

At Girl Boss Plants, we will put care instructions for your plants in the description of each plant. You can also reach Ashley Pond at if you have recently purchased a plant and want to know how much water to give your new investment.

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