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How to Water Your Houseplants: Everything You Need to Know About Watering, Ep 237



Did you know that watering is one of the most common causes of houseplant death? You saw a gorgeous new plant baby from a store, and then you brought it home full of excitement and good intentions. In fact, you wanted to do your best, so you read the watering instructions in the packet and tried to follow them as closely as possible… And then tragedy happens. The once vibrant leaves start to wilt, turn yellow, or fall off entirely.

It’s a rookie mistake! But I’m here to share my hard-earned watering technique so you can keep your plants happy (and your plant parent pride intact). We’ve all been there, plant friends.


In this episode, we learn:

  • [02:27] Why, when, and how of watering houseplants
  • [04:12] Why do our houseplants need water?
  • [06:04] How do houseplants absorb water?
  • [09:04] When should we water our houseplants?
  • [10:54] Frequency errors in watering
  • [15:00] How to determine soil moisture
  • [16:00] What is top watering?
  • [20:20] Grow your garden with the highest quality houseplants from Proven Winners leafjoy™
  • [21:52] What is bottom watering?
  • [24:08] What are self-watering pots?
  • [25:29] Why you shouldn’t use freezing water
  • [26:18] Knowing when your plant needs water by weight
  • [29:45] Why is drainage important in houseplant care?


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The Importance of Proper Watering

Watering is tricky—that’s a no-brainer. You get it wrong, and your plants will let you know in the most dramatic ways possible. But get it right, and you'll be rewarded with healthy plants! Underwatering can lead to wilting and crispy leaves while overwatering can cause root rot, which is just as bad (if not worse!).


Watering Techniques

Here are the different watering techniques that you can apply to your plant care routine:

Top Watering

This method is the classic as it's pretty straightforward. Simply pour water over the soil until it starts dripping from the bottom–that’s why drainage holes are a must! Top watering mimics natural rainfall, which your plants will surely love.

Tip: Give the soil a little sip of water first, then let it soak in before drenching the whole thing. This helps evenly distribute the moisture.


Bottom Watering

Sometimes, top watering just won't cut it, especially if your soil has become hydrophobic (scared of water). So that's where bottom watering comes in. Just place your planter with holes in it in a saucer or bowl filled with water, and let the soil slowly wick up the moisture from below, aka capillary action.

This method is perfect for plants with sensitive leaves or for rehydrating dry soil. Also, if you’re using a decorative cache pot, just remember to let the pot drain fully before putting it back in.


Watering Tools and Accessories

Now, while you don't need fancy gadgets to water your plants, some tools can make the process a whole lot easier and more fun!

Watering cans: Look for ones with long, skinny spouts that can reach under those thick leaves. I personally love the Modern Sprout bronze watering can—it's chic and holds a whopping 3 liters of water, so I don't have to refill it as often.

Moisture meters: They make it very easy to tell if your soil is dry or wet. Just stick it in the soil and you'll know if your plant needs a drink or not.

Squeeze bottles: Ideal for watering small plants or those with delicate leaves like the African violet.

Soil probes: This tool can help you check moisture levels at different soil depths.

Pump sprayer: And if you're feeling fancy, there are pump sprayers with telescoping wands for plants that are way harder to reach.

And if you're really feeling extra, you can get a self-watering pot. These have built-in reservoirs that slowly release water to the soil so that you can skip a few waterings without ANY plant guilt.


Drainage Importance

I can’t stress this enough: Use pots or planters with drainage holes at the bottom. Without proper drainage, all the extra water will sit at the bottom of the pot, which is going to lead to root rot and, ultimately, a sad, dying plant. I've learned this lesson the hard way so you have to trust me.

And if you've got your heart set on a fancy cache pot without drainage, just pop your plant's nursery pot inside. Problem solved!

Experiment with different techniques, invest in some convenient tools and don't be afraid to get a little soil under your nails.


Mentioned in our conversation:




Thank you to our episode sponsor:

Proven Winners

If you want to have success with houseplants, you’ve got to have two things: the knowledge to care for them successfully and healthy plants. Meet my new favorite houseplant grower: Proven Winner’s leafjoy™. With only the best plant genetics grown in a state-of-the-art, European greenhouse, you will not be disappointed in the variety and quality of your favorite plants from Proven Winner’s leafjoy™. This company has taken the guesswork out of plant shopping with plant tags that include scientific names and care guides, as well as color-coded collections for the different areas of your home that you want plants in!

Find plant joy in leafjoy™. Head to to find your local leafjoy™ dealer and let me know which plant you take home on socials!



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