Watering Your Winter Houseplants: How Much is Enough?

While we wait for conditions to green up outdoors, many of us focus on the greenery we keep inside our homes.

As mentioned in our last post, the humble houseplant does more than offer green cheer in the cold winter months. These potted pets freshen the air by adding oxygen and removing toxins. For homes shut tight for months on end, their presence goes beyond color and life.

We already covered the location preferences of many plants, and why dust buildup can inhibit their growth. You know that plants need watering – but how much, and how often?

Many variables come into play. Light, potting soil and room temperature all matter. A plant enjoying bright light is probably growing more, and needs more water. A warm or very dry room makes a plant thirstier.

Some plants need water every few days; others can go more than a week. A dormant plant usually needs little water at all in Brookfield, Elm Grove and New Berlin, WI.

Watering houseplants in Brookfield, WI

Not sure if it’s time to water? Press a finger into the soil an inch. If it’s dry, water until the excess comes through the pot’s bottom drain holes. If the pot is in a pan or saucer, discard the extra water right away.

Ironically, more houseplants die from overwatering than underwatering. Resting a plant in a tray of water isn’t healthy. Here are the symptoms that you’re drowning a plant:

  • Leaves fall off at the slightest contact
  • Leaves droop or develop soft brown spots
  • Leaves are yellow or wilted
  • Mold appears on flowers, stalks, stems or on the soil surface
  • The pot emits a foul odor, indicating possible root rot and decay

Conversely, a plant not getting enough water often has brown, dried leaf tips. If the soil in a pot is excessively dried out, break it up to ensure that water gets evenly distributed, rather than just flowing down the hard sides.

You might not think that watering houseplants would be so complicated. Remember, though, that indoor plants are entirely dependent on you for needed moisture. At this time of year, for better or worse, they’re the only green game going.


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