This Is How Often You Need To Water Your Plants

"When in doubt, feel the soil."

image
Dan Forer

Sometimes caring for your plants feels like a full time job. There's so much to remember, from feeding your plants to making sure they get enough sunlight. To make it just a little bit easier for you, I spoke to Christopher Satch, a plant scientist at , to break down exactly when you should water the most common houseplants. But first, here are a few general rules to remember.

Satch suggests thinking of soil like a dry sponge—it repels water at first rather than immediately absorbing it. "If you’ve ever watered a plant, and the water immediately came through the bottom, then you have not watered that plant. The water went around the soil, not into it, and for many plants, it’s wise to have drainage, because you can soak them to be sure that they are absorbing the water," he explains.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the amount of water your little green baby needs depends on its size. Smaller plants need more attention and frequent waterings than larger plants. Additionally, plants that get more sunlight also need to be watered more frequently. As a general rule, Satch says, "the amount of water to use is always about ¼ to ⅓ the pot’s volume of water." And if after all that you're still confused, he has a few parting words of wisdom for you: "When in doubt, feel the soil!"

Now without further ado, here's how to water the 15 most popular houseplants.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
Save For Later!
i should water this plant every...
Getty ImagesCQ
Succulents
The Sill
$30.00

When to water: Infrequently, once every 10-15 days 

Notes: Never water your succulent if the soil is moist. Always let the soil get bone dry between waterings. That said, when you do water it, don't hold back. Flood the plant then let it drain and dry as fast as possible, like a desert storm. 

Aloe Plant
The Sill
The Sill
$12.00

Latin name: Aloe

When to water: Infrequently, once every 10-15 days

Notes: Aloe plants are succulents, so follow the same instructions listed above. 

Peace Lily
Etsy
Etsy
$12.00

Latin name: Spathiphyllum

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: Water your Peace Lily when the soil is dry 2” deep. If the soil takes longer to dry out, it’s in too low light. Also, this plant tolerates moist soil.

Snake Plant
The Sill
The Sill
$40.00

Latin name: Sansevieria

When to water: Infrequently, once every 10-15 days

Notes: Similar to succulents, snake plants should become completely dry between waterings. During waterings, flood the plant and allow it drain and dry quickly. Also, this desert plant can tolerate lower light, but prefers direct sun.

Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree
Woodies Garden Goods
Garden Goods Direct
$89.95

Latin name: Ficus lyrata

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: Water your fiddle leaf fig when the soil is dry 2” deep. And FYI, this plant likes to get dried out by the sun.

Peperomia
The Sill
The Sill
$37.00

Latin name: Peperomia

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: Water this plant when the soil is dry 2” deep. If the soil takes a long time to dry out, it's not getting enough sunlight. 

Spider Plant
Etsy
$32.00

Latin name: Chlorophytum comosum

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: Water your spider plant when the soil is dry 2” deep.  This plant can tolerate moist soil. Like the peperomia, if it takes a while to dry out, it's not getting enough sunlight. 

Calathea
The Sill
The Sill
$44.50

Latin name: Calathea

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: Water your Calathea when the soil is dry 2” deep. Never mist this plant—it's prone to foliar infections. It can, however, stand moist soil. Again, if it takes a while to dry out, it needs more light. 

Parlor Palm Tree
Amazon
$47.99

Latin name: Chamaedorea elegans

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: You should water your palm plant if  the soil is dry 2” deep. Like many other plants on this list, the palm tolerates moist soil but will dry out slowly if it's not receiving enough light. 

Citrus Tree
Brighter Blooms
Brighter Blooms
$35.99

Latin name: Citrus

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: Citrus trees should be watered when the soil is completely dry 2” deep, or when they just start to wilt or the leaves begin to curl. If the soil takes longer to dry out, it’s in too low light or the wrong pot. Citrus roots like to dry out as fast as possible. For the best chance at keeping this plant alive, use a Terracotta pot. 

Rubber Plant
The Sill
The Sill
$40.50

Latin name: Ficus elastica

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: Rubber plants need more water when the soil is dry 2” deep.  They like to get dried out between waterings.

Phalaenopsis Orchid
Amazon
$19.99

Latin name: Ficus elastica

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: You should spritz your orchid daily, or every other day. Once a week, run warm water through your plant and let it soak for a few hours.  Pro tip: Orchids shouldn't be planted in sphagnum moss, it will rot them out. Use orchid bark mix instead. Lastly, this plant will thrive in a bathroom with windows. If yours does live in your bathroom, you can spritz it less often.

Philodendron
The Sill
The Sill
$12.00

Latin name: Philodendron

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: Water your philodendron when the soil is dry 2” deep. If the soil takes longer to dry out, it’s in too low light.

Ficus Tree
Amazon
$119.99
$79.99 (33% off)

Latin name: Ficus

When to water: Regularly, every 5-10 days

Notes: You should water your ficus when the soil is dry 2” deep. This plant likes to be dried out by the sun. 

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
More From Gardening