Houseplants have this reputation of being really tricky to care for and there is an element of truth in that, but the success behind ‘getting it right’ is down to understanding the plants needs related to the temperature it is experiencing. Think of it as a human needing more hydration when the temperature is warmer or the air has a higher humidity.
In Summer the houseplants experience a warmer microclimate inside and they loose moisture through both their leaves as well as the soil drying out at a faster rate. By opening windows and doors, they may experience drafts that cause them to dry out even faster. They become thirsty fairly quickly and require more regular watering.
In Winter the temperature can be a mixture of either cold and/or warm due to the heating being periodically on. When the plants experience cooler temperatures, they will not utilise the water in the soil as much and so it takes much longer for the soil to dry out. There is also a risk that certain plants may rot in damp soil combined with cooler conditions. This is why it is always recommended to keep plants more on the drier side in Winter….BUT, this does depend on the conditions they are experiencing. If you tend to have the heating on for most of the day and evening, the conditions are more ‘Summer-like’ and the plants will dry out quicker and require more water than usual. The dry heat that is created by the heating can actually cause plants to dry out faster than the Summer conditions. The leaves on certain tropical plants may develop brown tips due to the dry heat and/or dry soil and a good method to counter this is to place small trays of water on top of the heaters to help create a higher air humidity.
The best approach would be to water relative to the temperature, whether it’s actual warmer temperatures outside or warmth created by heating, they are still experiencing heat. Water accordingly.
The only tricky part is understanding the water requirements of the individual plant. It’s important to research this and even where the plant originates from as this will give you good insight to what the plant may like. If a plant like moist soil such as ferns then you may give them water more frequently than a succulent which prefers drier soil. A good method is to scratch the surface of the soil to touch test if it is dry or not and then water accordingly.If it’s slightly damp to the touch and it is a plant that does not require much water, then wait a couple of days before watering it.
Something to note is whether the pot the plant is planted in, is standing in a pot cover without drainage and to ensure that water is not collecting in the pot causing saturation of the soil. No houseplant will thrive in stagnant saturated soil, so do ensure you check every now and again and tip out any excess water.
I hope this article has given you some knowledge that may build your confidence in watering so you may enjoy immersing yourself in greenery and experience all the health benefits that may offer.
Remember #houseplantsmakepeoplehappy 👍🏻