While watering a plant may not seem a difficult task, the problems which come with both over and under watering creates a need for being careful and observant. Over watering can cause root rot, mold and disease, while under watering can cause stinted growth, poor appearance and death of the plant. If you understand how to check the moisture level of the soil, you can easily water indoor plants so they thrive.
Find a suitable pot to place the plant into. Use a non-porous material such as metal, glass, plastic or glazed to avoid the moisture from seeping into the pot away from the plant and soil. Use a pot that is larger than called for so that the soil stays damp around the plant.
Check the soil before watering the plant. Pick up the pot before watering. Feel the weight of the pot. Wet soil makes the pot and plant heavier. Check the color of the soil. Wet or overly damp soil is dark in color. If the pot is heavy, or the soil is dark, don't water the plant. If these signs aren't evident, place the tip of your finger an inch into the soil to check the moisture level by feel. If the soil feels dry you should water the plant.
Water evenly and lightly. Use a watering method which allows for an even dispersion of water at a steady rate: a water container with a slotted end at the end of the stem or a covered end with holes spaced around it. This will help keep the water from being accidentally used heavily, or not enough, in areas.
Water the leaves as well as the soil. In nature, plants get water from the top down. This helps the plant get water and nutrients where it is needed throughout the plant system. This should be done when watering indoor plants as well. Water over the top of the plant as if the plant is being rained on.
Drain any excess water. Lift up the pot off of the drain pan and place on the towel. Drain the pan into a nearby sink. Place the planter back onto the drain pan. If the planter is dripping water from the bottom you have over watered and need to allow the excess to drain completely into a dish or sink.
Check the soil after watering. If you are not sure of the amount of water you used, lift the pot to see how heavy it is. Poke your finger tip into the soil again to check for moisture. If your finger feels wet you should stop watering.