How to Reduce the Need for Watering House Plants


With proper care, houseplants thrive under normal household conditions. Although most plants survive with poor light or inadequate fertilizer for short periods, when it comes to withholding water, plants react quickly and can wither and die in a few days. Leaving home for a few days may put your plants at risk unless you take measures to provide for their watering needs. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent excessive drying in plants.

Step 1

Choose soil mix that is high in organic matter and holds moisture well. Commercial potting soil mixed with equal parts peat moss and perlite creates lightweight soil that retains moisture.

Step 2

Select a plant pot that is large enough for the plant. Plants grown in small pots dry quickly as the plant requires more water that the pot provides.

Step 3

Remove the plant from the pot and check the roots. If roots fill the pot, are tightly coiled around the bottom of the pot or are visible on the top of the soil, the plant pot does not provide enough room for the roots. Repot to a larger plant pot and water thoroughly.

Step 4

Place plants away from sources of heat to prevent overdrying of soil. If leaving the house for a few days, move out of direct sunlight to conserve moisture.

Step 5

Enclose plants in a plastic bag when on vacation or out of town for a few days to a week. Punch holes in the bag and tie loosely over the top of the plant. Prop the plastic with a pencil or dowel to prevent it from touching foliage. This conserves water and keep plants moist for a short time.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting media (potting soil, peat moss, perlite)
  • Plant pots
  • Clear plastic bag
  • Pencil/dowel


  • NDSU Extension: Houseplants
  • TAMU Extension: Houseplants

Who Can Help

  • NC State University Extension: Watering Houseplants
Keywords: watering houseplants, houseplant care, reduce watering need

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.