The #1 Question I Get Asked About Plants
Have you ever struggled to know how often to water your house plants? It can be confusing to know which ones want water more often, which want it less and how to tell the difference. I totally get it! But there’s one huge mistake that so many people make. I’m going to share it with you so YOU don’t make this mistake, too! Plus, the absolute BEST watering meter I’ve ever found!
“How often should I water this plant”. It’s the question almost every single person asks me when they purchase a plant from our shop. Here’s the bad news– I can’t answer that question! “How often” depends on so many factors. Is it kept inside or outside? What is the humidity level? Is it getting direct sun? Is it in a plastic pot, ceramic or terracotta? Does the pot have drainage? You get the idea!
So here’s how I answer that question - the most important thing you can do for any plant is to check the soil first before watering! And guess what? My favorite moisture meter is totally FREE! Today only! Ok, I’m messing with you… it’s your finger. I think my finger is the easiest and most readily available tool I have to check the moisture level of my plants. Most house plants prefer to have the top 2-3 inches of their soil dry out between waterings. But do a little Google search on your specific plants to make sure – some prefer to stay moist (like many ferns) while others (like succulents) need to dry out completely between waterings or you risk root rot. The weight of your plant is also a cue to how wet the soil is. You can pick it up before you water and again after you water. Then next time you check you’ll have an idea of where it’s at.
Other than sticking your finger in the soil, there are a few clues that plants give us to tell us what they need when it comes to water. If you see leaves curling or droopy, this is usually a sign they are thirsty. One you give them a drink they should perk back up within a few hours. Yellowing leaves often means the plant has been overwatered. To add to your confusion, yellow leaves can also be a sign of underwatering so I’d suggest checking the soil with your finger to confirm whether it’s too dry or too wet.
You might be asking “Why do I need to stick my finger in the soil? Can’t I get a water meter for that?”. Sure, you can. But they are notoriously unreliable. Your finger is free, and you won’t lose it, hopefully ;) And most of us keep soap on hand if you’re worried about getting dirty. Can you hear the sarcasm in my voice yet? It’s seriously the best and easiest “tool” to use so why not?
Knowing what YOUR specific plant likes is the key. Once you do your Google search to learn about your plant, I’d suggest jotting that info down somewhere. I like using the Notes section on my phone so I don’t lose it. Another idea is to get a few plant markers like these
and write down your plants preferences and stick it in the pot. Then, set yourself a reminder in your phone twice a weekto check on your plants. This means go around and stick your finger into the soil to check the moisture level. If it’s moist, wait until the next checkup to assess the moisture again. If it’s dry, it might be time to water. This doesn’t need to take much time, but schedule it at a time when you’ll likely be home and have a few minutes to give your plants a once-over.
A note about online research in the age of “everyone and their brother sharing plant advice online”. You might find conflicting information, scratch that, you WILL find conflicting information about your plants online. Don’t stress about it! Seek out a few trusted, reliable sources - hopefully us ;) maybe other plant shops, growers, botanical gardens (you get the idea), bookmark them on your computer and refer to them when you get a new plant. It’s ok to try advice from someone and if it didn’t work for you, try something else. It doesn’t mean they were wrong; it just means it worked for them and it didn’t for you. No big deal. Seriously, don’t let plant care become stressful! Plants will boost our mood, productivity and creativity but not if you stress out over every yellow leaf you find. It’s ok. They are living things – some come to us healthier than others. They live, they die, they get diseases and pests…but most of all they bring us JOY! And as long as we check on them every so often and do the best we can, everything will be ok.
Whether you check the soil with your finger or a soil meter (did I teach you nothing?!), I’m confident that you got this! You might get a little dirt under your nail, but after a few weeks of observing and checking in on your plants, you’ll discover how often they like to be watered and you’ll be feeling like the Plant Queen you are!
So tell me…which days each week are you going to check on your plants? Comment below or head on over to our Instagram page @theseasidesucculent and let us know! We’d love to hear about your plant parenthood journey!