How to know when to water houseplants

We’ve all been there where we want to give as much as we can to our new plant babies. We make sure it’s getting plenty of sunlight. Top it off with a sip of water every morning when you’re making your coffee. You think everything is fine, but your plant feels otherwise. Your leaves yellow and start to droop and you try to save it but it’s too late. All you can do is take some cuttings of whatever you can salvage and hope for the best. Hopefully you don’t have to deal with too much root rot with these tips on how to water houseplants.

Over watering house plants doesn’t have to be so dramatic. A lot of them don’t even like water that often. And it’s easier to bring back a dehydrated plant rather than a rotting one. Here are a few ways you can tell when it’s time for you to water houseplants.

Thick vs. Thin leaves

First you need to do your research and find out what kind of water requirements go with your plant. Plants with thicker leaves tend to need less water than those with thinner leaves. An example of this is the ficus elastica needing less watering than the ficus pumila. This is a quick and easy guide to go off of when purchasing plants you don’t know much about and can gauge what kind of attention they’re going to need.

Wrinkly leaves

Some plants like the holiday cactus and the hoya compacts will start to wilt and their leaves will start to get wrinkly when they need to be watered. These plants usually have thicker leaves and don’t need to get watered too often. I wait until a few of the leaves start to look a little raisin-y and then I give it a thorough watering. 


Plant drooping is huge to look out for when deciding when to water. Pothos is one notorious for drooping when they’re dehydrated. The drooping comes quick with the pothos when it’s time to water, but hours later they’ll look better than ever. Fittonias and the purple waffle are other plants that wilt to the extreme when they need some water. 

Water meter

There are some plants that are a little more difficult with their watering. My monstera is one that is a little difficult to tell when to water with such a large pot. With that I recommend a water meter. You probe your soil all over your pot and test the moisture level of your soil. Be sure to stab a few places around you pot to make sure you’re getting an accurate reading of the soil. This is also nice for my hanging plants that are more difficult to take down. I wait until the soil is around a 2-3 on the moisture level and then I water completely. I got my water meter from Amazon for around $12.

I hope you learned something on how to better water houseplants and helped keep your indoor jungle alive for another day. If you enjoyed this and thinking about becoming a plant parent, check out my post: Houseplant tips for Beginners.

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Grant 💖

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