Houseplants: they’re not as thirsty as you think.


Winter is a wonderful time of year to cultivate your very own indoor jungle and bask in the glory of nature while staying warm and dry at home. Whether you’re new to indoor plant parenthood or a seasoned veteran with teenaged plants at home it won’t surprise you that the number one question we hear in the greenhouse is “how much should I water?”

And while we’d love to give you a tried and true, one-size-fits-all watering recipe, the truthful answer is “it depends.” Light, humidity, plant species, and time of year all play a role but here are a few rules of thumb for keeping your indoor plants happy all year long.

      1. It’s easier for a plant to recover from too little water than too much water. Overwatering can lead to root rot and fungal issues on the foliage. Many indoor plants will thrive on a fair amount of neglect.
      2. Plants prefer infrequent deep watering over frequent shallow waterings. Resist the temptation to dump the remnants of your forgotten water glass into your plants, they won’t thank you for that.
      3. Light and water work together. The more light your plant receives, the more water it will need. Plants in low light areas will need less water than their sun-basking friends.
      4. Cut watering frequency in half during the winter months. Plants use less water in winter than they do during the growing season. Generally speaking, you’ll water half as often in winter as you would during spring and summer.
      5. Plants love to be watered from the bottom, when possible. Check out our video on “cache-potting” for the best way to do this:



So, how can you tell if your houseplants need water? Here are our favorite ways to find out if our leafy green friends want us to make ‘em a round of drinks:

      1. The knuckle test: stick your finger right into the pot all the way up to your knuckle. If it’s still moist, you can skip the watering.
      2. The weight test: for smaller plants lift the pot. If it feels light, it’s probably time for a drink. If it’s heavy, there’s plenty of water to sustain her for now.
      3. The thump test: if your plants are in plastic nursery pots give the side of the pot a flick. If you hear a hollow thwack, time to water, if it’s more of a thump or thud, she’s not thirsty.


Keep in mind that different plants have different watering needs, when in doubt chat with one of our greenhouse team members to learn more about your new plants’ preferences. As Uncle Mike likes to say: “plants are like people”…everyone’s a little different.