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The Beauty of Watering: How to Water Houseplants & Watch Them Thrive

Sometimes self-care looks like candles, a bubble bath, and a face mask. Other times, self-care is making sure to hydrate. And that’s the kind of care you can share with your plants. Watering houseplants reminds you of how honoring your essential needs can be the most therapeutic. 

Use the simple act of watering to bring a moment of quiet to your day, and connect you with the healing, ever-growing spirit of nature. Let’s talk about how to ensure you’re nourishing your plants in the best way possible. We’ll cover the different ways to water and how to know when it’s time to give your plants a drink.

When Should You Water Your Houseplants?

When should you water your houseplants

This is the most common question (and fear) about watering houseplants. You may find yourself wondering if you’re watering your plants too much or not enough. Luckily, there are a few tricks that you can use to set those worries at ease. Maintain healthy, hydrated plants by keeping an eye on signs of under or overwatering. 

Signs of Under Watered Plants:

  • Dry, brittle leaves
  • Slow, stunted growth
  • Dropping leaves
  • Soil separating from the pot

Signs of Overwatered Plants:

  • Wilting leaves or stems
  • Root rot
  • Yellow or browning leaves

An easy way to know when you should water is to check the top of the soil. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil of your potted plant. If the soil is completely dry, it’s time to water. If the soil feels damp, you likely don’t need to water just yet. Of course, each plant has different water needs. Some plants, like snake plants, can go weeks between waterings, while others, like ferns, are heavy drinkers. 

A guide, like the book How to Houseplant, can teach you how much water your specific plant needs. You can also take the guesswork out of watering entirely by using a moisture stick. Tools like Sustee Sticks are made to measure the available water in your plant’s soil. The window at the top of the indicator will change colors when the plant needs to be watered. This ensures that even hard-to-please diva plants can be easily mastered.

Ways to Water Houseplants

Ways to water your houseplants

Watering Can

Use a watering can to water evenly, pouring slowly around the soil in a clockwise motion to ensure your plant’s roots are hydrated. Excess water will drip into the dish beneath your plant.

Self-Watering Spikes

If your plant likes water more than you like watering, a self-watering spike can help you keep your plant happy. These devices simply require you to fill them with water, and then stick the narrow end into the soil. The roots will slowly suck out the water as they need it.


While misting isn’t a replacement for watering, it’s an additional type of hydration many plants need. Plants that come from tropical environments, like orchids and zebra plants, are used to humidity. Add the occasional spritz to keep them hydrated. Just use a mister to spray water on the leaves in the morning, especially during the dry months of winter and spring. 

Once you’ve created a schedule for your plants, you’ll find that watering becomes as beneficial a routine for you as it is for your plants. Embrace this ritual when you need a break from hectic moments throughout the day. Whether you give your plants a full watering or a mere mist, you’ll enjoy the peace that it brings and the satisfaction that comes from watching them thrive.