Every plant care guide on the internet has a tip on the watering schedule you should put your plants on. “Every two weeks in the summer, and every four in the winter”, or “twice a week in warmer weather and once a week when it gets cold”. While this may work for some, others may find their plants wilting and wanting for water, or soggy and suffering from root rot.
Whether to put your plants on a watering schedule or not is an argument with no clear “right” side or winner. Every plant has unique needs! Listening to yours is always best.
For our plants, we tend to avoid a strict watering schedule and instead choose to take “listening to our plants” a little more literally. If you choose to forgo sticking to a schedule like we do, an inspection a day goes a long way in keeping your plants happy and healthy! Different plants will need different amounts of water depending on the season, their current growth and the climate you live in.
How We Water
Our favorite method of determining if our plants are getting thirsty is taking a look at their leaves. Are they getting soft? Are they wrinkled or beginning to wrinkle? Do they fold or bend easier than normal? Depending on the type of plant (and how old it is!), need for water will be communicated in different ways. A quick google search will likely be able to tell you the signs for each of your plants, but the basics may stay the same for many of them. Take a look here at this silver glory sting of hearts. The photo on the left is before watering and the photo on the right is 24 hours after watering. Notice the curled and thin leaf on the left appears a bit wrinkled and then in the right photo it has regained its normal shape and thickness.
Another tried and true method is getting up close and personal with those roots. Get your hands into that soil and judge how moist it is for yourself if you’re unsure what your plant is trying to tell you. If the leaves are starting to show signs of dehydration and the soil is dry, it is watering time, no doubt about it! However, if your plant is looking a little weaker, but the soil is still moist, you may be looking at a case of root rot, and it’s time to pull that plant baby out of its pot and give it a thorough examination to be sure it is still healthy. (Keep an eye out for a future blog post about dealing with root rot!)
Some General Rules For A Few Of Our Favorite Plants:
These lovely little plants have thick succulent-like leaves and do not need nearly as much water as other houseplants, like philodendrons and calatheas, for example. They can go long stretches between watering without any ill effects. We still give them a little check up every day though! When their leaves start to wrinkle and soften, they get a thorough watering.
Ferns, though we love them, do not often find a permanent home here at CB Flora. They are lovely plants, but they require significantly more water than many of the other inhabitants of our indoor jungle. We just can’t keep up! They need a good watering every few days, at least, during the warmer months, sometimes as often as every day if they are kept outside or in a dry environment. They love to be kept moist, and finding a balance between moist and soggy can be difficult (especially when you’re chasing pets and kids around most of the day!).
These tend to be far more forgiving with their watering needs. They can typically go around a week or two between waterings, but pay attention to the individual needs of each of your plants, because this will differ between each one! Brasil and Heartleaf Philodendrons especially can be very hearty plants. Their leaves will curl a bit at the edges and soften up when they need a watering, so just be sure to keep an eye on them, and you should be able to keep them happy without issue! Scindapsus will behave in a similar way, and Kelly always knows her Silvery Ann needs a good drink when she gets all curled up like she is here on the left photo. Notice on the right side, after a thorough watering, the leaves flatten out more and take on their normal healthy shape. The change is subtle so it's important to take the time to learn your plants.
You all know these are one of our absolute favorite plants, and their lack of watering needs is one of the reasons! They are a great plant for beginners and will be very forgiving if they get a little bit forgotten (We’ve all done it, don’t worry! You are not alone!).