If you want to be a success in gardening indoors, it’s important to understand that, no matter where you grow them, all plants must be provided with adequate water in order for them to turn into healthy specimens.

Incorrect watering is one of the major causes of indoor plant loss. Speak to people who have tried their hand with an indoor home garden, and they will most likely tell you that they’ve lost a plant or two because they failed to learn this simple but vital skill. Water plays a vital role in the growth cycle of plants by acting as a transport medium in getting nutrients from the soil to the roots. However, too much of it can be deadly, particularly to potted plants. The excess water in the soil will push the air from the root zone, cutting off the distribution of oxygen to the plants and drowning them. On the other side of the coin, too little water will result in abnormal growth.

Unfortunately, there is no hard and fast rule to determine how often you should water plants that are grown indoors because there are so many variables: plant type, soil medium and container type all play a role in determining that. However, I have found these tips, not exhaustive by any means, to be very useful in implementing an effective watering strategy:

  • Plants don’t all have the same water requirements. For example, succulents do not need a lot of water. However, you don’t have to become an expert to know when you should give your indoor plants water. Nowadays, it’s easy to find all the information necessary on the label of the seed packet (if you’re growing from seed) or the plant label (if you’re buying a potted plant).
  • You can group several varieties of plants in the same pot or plastic bottle but, if you do that, ensure that all of them have the same or similar water requirements. Otherwise, it’s going to be a bit of a nightmare keeping track of when to water them.
  • If the growing pots are too small for your chosen house plants, be prepared to apply water more often. Hence, it’s a lot better to pick the right size container in the first place.
  • Plants in clay pots will lose moisture quicker. On the other hand, pots fabricated from non-porous material such as metal, glass or plastic tend to retain water better and, therefore, be careful not to overwater.
  • Use a premium potting mix to make sure that the plants drain properly. Poor drainage of the soil medium can result in an accumulation of soluble salts at the bottom of containers with saucers. This comes from the fertilizer. In excess, soluble salts can damage the roots of the plants. Empty and clean the saucer as well as flush out any salt visible in the soil at the bottom of the container.

When you are gardening indoors, the best guide for you to make certain that your plants get watered properly is to feel the soil. Insert your finger about an inch or so into the soil and, if it’s dry to the touch, then add water. However, if you don’t have enough confidence to do this, an excellent alternative is to use a moisture meter to do the job, no more guesswork. It will tell you exactly whether the soil is wet, moist or dry and, if you have large potted plants, that’s very handy.