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Here’s the Right Way to Water Common Houseplants

“When in doubt, feel the soil.”

Sometimes caring for your plants feels like a full time job. There’s so much to remember, from feeding your plants to making sure they get enough sunlight. To make it just a little bit easier for you, I spoke to Christopher Satch, a plant scientist at The Sill, to break down exactly when you should water the most common houseplants. But first, here are a few general rules to remember.

Satch suggests thinking of soil like a dry sponge—it repels water at first rather than immediately absorbing it. “If you’ve ever watered a plant, and the water immediately came through the bottom, then you have not watered that plant. The water went around the soil, not into it, and for many plants, it’s wise to have drainage, because you can soak them to be sure that they are absorbing the water,” he explains.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the amount of water your little green baby needs depends on its size. Smaller plants need more attention and frequent waterings than larger plants. Additionally, plants that get more sunlight also need to be watered more frequently. As a general rule, Satch says, “the amount of water to use is always about ¼ to ⅓ the pot’s volume of water.” And if after all that you’re still confused, he has a few parting words of wisdom for you: “When in doubt, feel the soil!”

Now without further ado, here’s how to water the 15 most popular houseplants.

Keeping a plant alive and thriving isn't always the easiest task. To make it simple, here is a comprehensive guide to watering the 15 most popular houseplants.