Should You Water Plants Every Day?


Water is one of the essential ingredients your plants need to survive. They need to be appropriately watered to ensure they can grow big and healthy. So should you water plants every day, or is that too much?

Plants do not need to be watered every day. This could actually be damaging for some plants. You should give your plants a deep watering that will last a while before it dries. Some plants like succulents and aloe vera need to be water infrequently.

Giving your plants the correct amount of water is a vital part of their care routine. Different types of plants have different needs to be considered. This article will give you all information you need to make sure your water habits are ideal for your plants.

Can You Water Plants Daily?

It’s unnecessary to water plants every day. They need to be watered deeply so that their roots can develop properly. The soil should be well saturated with water to make sure the water drains through the soil. If you water your plants more often using less water, then the plant won’t be able to grow as well.

The exception to this is with plants that are living in flowerpots or containers. The soil will dry out more quickly, and the smaller the pot, the more frequent you need to top up its water. Some types of plants in containers will benefit from being watered daily if the soil is drying out quickly. Check the care instructions that came with your plant or on the seed packet for more information about the watering schedule.

When plants are overwatered for too long, it can lead to something called root rot. If left unchecked, root rot can kill your plant. There are two causes that can bring this on. The first is if your plant is left in overwatered soil for a prolonged period. The other is if the plant is getting a lack of oxygen. 

Signs of root rot include the leaves yellowing and wilting. If you spot this happening to your plant, check the roots for rot. This is evident by the roots turning black and having a mushy feel to them. A plant that is suffering from root rot will need to be treated quickly to ensure the plant can survive.

How Often Should You Water Plants?

Plants have different needs when it comes to how much water they require. Many houseplants like to be watered once or twice a week. However, hardy plants like aloe vera and succulents thrive under conditions that are drier and can withstand some neglect. 

Outdoor and indoor plants live under different conditions, so they have slightly different water routines. The table below gives a list of some of the most popular houseplants and some tips on their water care:

PlantWater scheduleNotes
Aloe Vera & SucculentsOnce the soil is completely dry. Around 10-15 days.If the soil is still retaining water you should wait a few days until it is completely dry. When it is time to water, give the plants plenty of water.
Spider PlantThese like to be watered often. Around 5-10 days between watering.Spider Plant’s can survive okay in moist soil. You should top up the water when the top 2” of soil is dry.
Peace LilyEvery 5-10 days will be a good schedule for these.Peace Lily’s need to be watered when the top 2” of soil feels dry.
Snake PlantThese plants require less frequent watering but you can expect to do it once every two weeks.Soil should be completely dry before you water your Snake Plant. Give it a deep watering that will last a while before it drys out.
CalatheaThis type of plant should have a regular water schedule. Once every 5-10 days should suffice.Calathea should be watered when the 2” of soil feels dry. You should not mist Calathea’s as this could lead to infection.
Rubber PlantThe Rubber Plant would like to be watered every 5-10 days.The soil should be allowed to dry out completely before you water the plant again.
PhilodendronThis another plant that has a regular watering schedule. 5-10 days should be perfect.You will know when to water this plant when the top 2” of soil feels dry.
Citrus TreeCitrus trees have a regular schedule and should be watered every 5-10 days.Soil should be completely dry before you water a citrus tree. The plant should be positioned in sunlight as the soil should be allowed to dry as quickly as possible.
Fiscus TreeThese trees will need to be watered every 5-10 days.Allow the soil to be dried out with direct sunlight. Watering this plant is necessary when the top 2” feel dry.

Outdoor plants need to be watered depending on how much rain they have had. If it is rain season and your plants are being well watered, you won’t need to lift a finger. However, during sunnier months, you will need to intervene and give your plants regular waterings. Most plants planted directly into your garden soil need to receive the equivalent to 1 inch of rain each week.

You should water your plant beds deeply once or twice, allowing the soil to be saturated with water. Adjust your watering schedule based on how hot it is; warmer weather will cause the soil to dry more quickly.

What Will Happen To Plants If You Don’t Water Them Enough?

Like most living things, water is a vital ingredient for a plant to be healthy. If a plant is not getting enough, it is known as ‘drought.’ Some plants such as cactus’ can survive for a long time under drought conditions. Other plants that you may keep in the home won’t be able to sustain themselves.

Plants have mechanisms to help prolong their lifespan when they are living in drought conditions. They will close the stomata either fully or partially, which will reduce transpiration. When the stomata are closed, the plant can no longer uptake CO2, and therefore it can’t perform photosynthesis. If this goes on for too long, the plant will eventually not be able to feed itself and will die.

If you miss a watering session once, your plant is likely going to be fine. They have the ability to look after themselves in extreme conditions. So if you go on holiday and you miss watering your plant, just make sure to do it at the next opportunity. Once your plant has been watered sufficiently, it will start to return to its normal production cycle.

What Will Happen To Plants If You Water Them Too Much?

If you water your plants too much, you risk drowning the roots, which can cause problems for your plant’s growth. Soil that has been overwatered won’t have enough air pockets to allow for oxygen to get in-between spaces in the soil. Plants need to be able to breathe in oxygen, and if the soil is too wet, there won’t be enough oxygen supplied.

You will notice the leaves of your plants will start to wilt and turn a brown color instead of green. This will happen if your plants are underwatered, but you can easily tell the difference. Underwatered plants feel dry, while overwatered plants will have leaves that feel too soft and have gone limp.

When the roots are absorbing more water than they should, they start to build up pressure which could lead to the plant’s cells bursting and dying. If you inspect your roots, you will be able to see blisters that have erupted with wart-like growths forming. You can purchase moisture meters which will help you tell how well watered the soil is. If your plant’s leaves are growing and falling off at an accelerated rate, it’s a sign that they have been overwatered.

How To Make Watering Plants Easier – Automatic Watering Systems

If you’re going away for a while and you don’t have someone to water your plants, there are a few DIY solutions you can try. For hardy plants that enjoy drought conditions, you may be able to leave them for the whole trip. Typical houseplants that like to be watered every day may benefit from these simple setups. Here are four different ideas to keep your plants watered while you are away:

Drip System

All you need for this is an empty drinks bottle that’s been thoroughly cleaned and something to poke some holes in it with. Take your drill, pin, needle and poke a few drainage holes in the bottle cap. Keep watering your plant as normal until you leave the house. Now fill the bottle up with water before burying the cap side in the soil.

Be sure to keep the bottle some distance away from the plant when you push it into the soil. You need to make sure that the soil covers the drainage holes in the bottles. As the soil dries out, the water from the bottle will start to leak out, replacing the previous water. Use a bottle size comparable to the size of the plant. Small houseplants will be fine with a 500ml bottle, and larger plants can have a 1l water bottle.

Water Wicking

You will need some cotton rope which you can pick up at a hardware store or online, and a large water vessel like a drinking glass or a bucket. Cut the cotton rope to size so it will fill the water vessel and enter the soil your plant is in. Take the soil end of the cotton and pass it through the soil several inches and keep it close to the plant. Take care to avoid interacting with the plant’s roots.

The other end of your cotton rope should be placed within your water vessel, and then you can fill it up with water. Making sure that the rope touches the bottom of the container that it’s in. The cotton rope will slowly transfer water from the container into the soil. This method makes sure that there is a consistent moisture level in the soil.

Plastic Greenhouse

For this method, all you need is a clear plastic bag and some sticks to stop the bag from touching the plant. With this, we can create a greenhouse effect which will capture water as it evaporates from the soil and release back down to the plant. This is suitable for extended trips away. Try to make sure that the bag is not touching the leaves of the plants too much. A little bit is okay. You can blow into the bag before you seal it to help create enough space between them.

Water your plants as you normally up until you leave but make sure that the soil is not overwatered. The plant should then be left in an area that gets indirect light. Unfortunately, if you left the plant in direct sunlight, the heat created within the bag could kill your plant. 

Plant Bath

The final method is really simple and involves your kitchen sink or your bathtub. This particular method is best used with pots that have good drainage. All you need to is fill the bottom of your sink or bath up with just a few inches of water. Place your potted plants into the tub, and they can stay there while you are away. If you are worried about scratching the porcelain, a quick fix is using a towel on the bottom. 

While you are gone, the soil will soak up the water through the drainage holes and feed the roots this way. This method is good for about a week. After that, it may start to become damaging for your plants. The main consideration you will need to have is the lighting conditions. Plants that need a lot of sunlight won’t be able to thrive in your bathroom if it has poor lighting. 

So whether you are away for a while or you just want to create a DIY watering system, these methods should have you covered.

Greg

Greg has been interested in homesteading for years. He produces part of his food by himself. And tries to live the most sustainable lifestyle he can.

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