How to Water Plants 101 – Stop Killing Your Plants!

how to water plants

Do you find yourself killing plants soon after bringing them home? The #1 killer, in my experience, is watering. Read on for the ultimate watering guide, and learn the best tips on how you can water right for happy plants.

Watch the video above for a visual experience and a bonus tip, or read the article version below.

When to Water

1. Finger Method

Stick your finger into the soil. If it’s dry a couple of inches down, it may be time to water.

2. Chopstick Method

Stick a chopstick into the soil. If it comes out dry/clean, it may also be time to water.

3. Moisture Meter

Use a moisture meter and stick it into the soil. You may wish to water if it reads “dry”.

4. Pot Weight

Feel the weight of your pot. Get used to the weight of your pot when it’s dry, and when it’s wet by picking it up. I find this method convenient, but more suitable for light plastic pots, as it’s easier to feel the difference in weight with those. You’ll usually water when the pot feels lighter than it should be.

5. Observe & Feel

Observe your plant, touch it. Many plants droop when it’s time to water, and perk up when they’ve had enough. For plants like Philodendron, Monstera or Pothos with thicker leaves, you may feel their leaves get flatter or softer when it’s time to water. I use this method most of the time and it works like a charm.

Note: These tips are subject to the type of plant you have. For example, cacti might be happy staying dry for a while before the next watering. Look up your plant’s needs first.

Dos and Don’ts

A. Remove Excess Water

Always tip out extra water from the cover pot or tray. Sitting in a wet tray is the perfect recipe for rotting roots.

B. Avoid Getting Leaves Wet

Avoid showering the leaves of your plant when watering, unless you absolutely have to! Wet leaves encourage fungal and bacterial diseases. You might wonder, don’t plants get rained on outside? Well, yes, but it’s a case of survival of the fittest out there. Unless you’re interested in testing that theory with your own plants!

C. Water Deeply

Water deeply and do not spritz just the surface of the soil, so moisture reaches the roots throughout the pot.

D. Check Your Plants Regularly

If you’re new to plants, you can set a reminder to check if they need watering. I use an app called Plantnote, but you can use anything that works for you. You can keep it simple by getting into the habit of checking your plants on specific days every week, so there’s no need for reminders as well. This is what I do, personally.


Now, I hope these tips help you give your plants the love they deserve. What are your favourite plant care tips? Let us know in the comments. Happy planting!

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