How to Water Household Plants


Houseplants can add a soft, green touch to indoor environments with their foliage and flowers that often form the focal point of a room's decorating theme. Because indoor environments are typically lower in humidity than that found outdoors, it's important to make sure you correctly water houseplants. But don't kill them with kindness--overwatering is one of the main causes of houseplant death. Watering houseplants about once a week is usually all they require, unless your plant is in a small pot in a very sunny location.

Step 1

Evaluate the plants in your home and the conditions they live in. For example, if a large plant in a small pot is in a warm, sunny spot, it will need frequent watering.

Step 2

Water many houseplants when the soil surface feels dry to the touch. Once a week during summer is usually adequate for most plants, such as split-leaf philodendrons, bromeliads and other tropical plants grown indoors.

Step 3

Watch for signs of wilting. The plant's roots can become dehydrated, and sometimes the plant will not recover when you eventually water. Avoid wilting by keeping tabs on the soil moisture of your plants.

Step 4

Water deeply. Use room temperature tap water for most plants, according to North Carolina State University. If you have a 12-inch pot with a large plant in it, you'll need up to 1 qt. Water should come out of the pot's drainage hole a short time after you begin. However, do not allow water to stand in the saucer under the pot because that can because root rot.

Step 5

Use a moisture meter if you are uncertain about how to check potting soil moisture. You can buy these inexpensive devices at your garden supply store--they measure moisture at root level when you insert the device's probe into the soil.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering can
  • Moisture meter (optional)


  • North Carolina State University: Watering Houseplants

Who Can Help

  • Planet Natural: Moisture Meter
Keywords: houseplants watering, watering houseplants, indoor plants care, water plants

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.