We can’t think of a question about house plants that arises more often than, “How frequently should I water my plants?” And unfortunately, there is no set answer to it. We would like to be able to say, “Every day,” or “Once a week,” but we wouldn’t be giving you good advice if we did. Plants should be watered whenever they need it, and that depends on a number of factors, humidity, heat, drainage, the size of the pot, and the type of plant you are dealing with. Obviously, in a hot, dry room your plants are going to need more frequent and more thorough watering than in a cooler climate in which there is plenty of moisture. Also, those plants whose natural habitat is one in which they get only occasional moisture, like that of the desert cacti, will need less watering than those, such as most ferns or Wax Begonia which are used to a plentiful rainfall. The best rule to follow is that if the surface of the soil in the pot feels dry to the touch, the plant needs water. Remember, over-watering can be as dangerous as under-watering. A plant whose roots are constantly soaked with water will rot and cease growing. Too many people, in their zeal to make sure that their plants are kept moist, get into the habit of giving them a little water every time they think of it, and as a result end up with waterlogged soil in which the plants quickly die. It is better to water less frequently but more completely. Give the plant a good soaking, making sure that all the soil gets the benefit of the watering and not just the top inch or so. As we said earlier, there is no set rule as to how often you should water. But it shouldn’t take long for you to find out by observation just how often each of your plants are going to need care. If you can, work up a schedule and keep to it. It’s no trouble, and you’ll find that it pays tremendous dividends in the life and health of your indoor garden. And don’t worry if for any reason you have to let your plants go without water for a day or so. They’ll survive it. But like anything else, they will do better with regular rather than sporadic care.
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