For anyone with a green thumb, watering indoor plants is second nature. For novice gardeners, however, figuring out when and how much to water can be a challenge – and incorrect techniques can put houseplants at risk.

If you don’t seem to have an innate ability to keep houseplants happily hydrated, you can easily learn. Follow these do’s and don’ts of watering, and your indoor plants will be in the pink.

water indoor plants

DO Use a Watering Can

A watering can has a long spout that allows you to precisely direct the flow of water to the base of a houseplant. Use a drinking glass or bottle instead, and you’re just asking for a mess.

DON’T Use Softened Water

Water softening systems use sodium, which can negatively affect the health of your houseplants. If your softener connects to both the hot and cold faucets – or if you aren’t sure how it’s connected – fill up your watering can at an outdoor spigot. Or, use filtered or purified water.

DO Water Indoor Plants as Needed

To know when your houseplants need a drink, touch the soil. If it’s dry, the plant needs water. If the surface is moist, hold off on watering. Check every single specimen – just because one needs to be watered doesn’t mean they all do.

DON’T Follow a Watering Schedule

You can set a schedule for checking to see if your indoor plants need water, but don’t base your watering on the calendar. Sticking to a once-a-week plan can lead to overwatering and underwatering, as some houseplants may need watered more or less often.

DO Soak the Soil Thoroughly

When your indoor plants need to be watered, don’t just give them a tiny sip. Soak the soil thoroughly, until water starts to come out of the pot’s drainage holes. Giving houseplants a good, long drink encourages healthy root system development.

DON’T Let Indoor Plants Sit in Water

Soaking the soil is important, but don’t go overboard and add too much – if houseplants sit in water, they can develop root rot. If you accidentally overwater, use a turkey baster to remove the excess.

Need more tips on how to keep houseplants alive and healthy? In northern Utah, the friendly plant nursery professionals at Millcreek Gardens are always happy to offer advice and information on indoor and outdoor gardening.

Following the watering guidelines listed above will keep most houseplants happy, but some plants – like cacti and certain succulents – may prefer drier conditions. And, some exotic indoor varieties may need more of a drink.

If you’re not sure how much water your houseplants need, check the plant tags. Or, simply stop by Millcreek Gardens. We’d love to help you learn how to care for your indoor plants – come see us in Salt Lake City today.