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How Watering Needs Change For Your Houseplants Year-Round

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Do you maintain a consistent schedule of watering your plants once per week all year long? Well, you may want to reconsider! The needs of your houseplants change with the seasons, and your watering schedule should change accordingly to produce the best results. Here’s how often you should water indoor plants in spring, summer, fall, and winter, and why it’s so important to change up your watering schedule. 

Houseplant Watering Needs in Winter

In winter, most houseplants enter a dormancy period, like hibernation; this is when your houseplants take time to rest and recharge for their next spring growth spurt, so you’ll notice their growth slows down considerably. Since they aren’t growing as much, they don’t need as much water. If you’re watering with the same amount you’re giving your plants in summer, that moisture will build up in the soil, and your plant won’t use it all. 

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Overwatering your soil is a recipe for fungus gnats—an annoying pest that buzzes around your houseplants like little flies. In extreme cases, overwatering can cause your houseplants’ roots to rot, which is very hard to cure. Houseplants that need more water can be reduced to twice-monthly watering, while you can water low-maintenance houseplants like Snake Plants and ZZ Plants as infrequently as once per month. 

If you leave on vacation over the winter, a watering orb can help keep your plants hydrated while you’re away, so you don’t have to hire someone to do it for you. 

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Houseplant Watering Needs in Spring

The longer days and brighter sunshine in the spring will awaken your plants from their dormancy. Their new flush of growth will begin, and you can increase the watering to once weekly for thirstier plants and twice monthly for low-maintenance indoor plants. It’s worth mixing a bit of water-soluble houseplant fertilizer and applying it every month or two—this will help provide all the necessary nutrients your plants need to grow leaves, spread their roots, and potentially flower, depending on the variety. 

ted lare garden center - watering a zz plant

Houseplant Watering Needs in Summer

Hot summer temperatures and bright sun can dramatically affect your houseplants, even if you have air conditioning in your home! Bright, direct sunlight through a south or west-facing window can easily dry up the soil in your plant’s pot. If you notice that your plant looks tired and dehydrated, you may need to water it twice per week. Moisture-loving plants like ferns will need special attention when it’s so bright out. 

Continue adding some fertilizer into the soil to help your plant continue through its active growing season. A slow-release granular fertilizer sprinkled across the soil surface can help provide a controlled release of nutrients steadily over the year, but you’ll want to make sure it doesn’t contact your plant’s foliage. 

Houseplant Watering Needs in Fall

As the days shorten and the sunshine isn’t quite so bright, your plants recognize that it’s time to wind down. They won’t stop growing altogether, but they won’t require quite as much watering as in summer. Scale back to once every 7–10 days, and stop using fertilizers after September. Using fertilizers in late fall or winter will confuse your plant and wake it from its dormancy or continue its growth for longer than it should. Your plant needs that rest time—it’s part of its natural growth cycle, and if it doesn’t get enough rest, its future growth will be leggy and lackluster. 

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If you find that your plants are soaking up all the water from the soil very quickly, regardless of the season, it may be root-bound. Check to see if the roots are thick and fill the entire container. Repotting is best left for spring or early summer, and you should use a pot that’s two inches larger than the previous pot. Gently loosen the roots, and they’ll be able to spread in their new container. Now the soil will stay moist for longer after watering!


Now that you’re a bonafide watering wizard, why not try some more advanced and exotic specimens? We have an incredible variety of houseplants for sale in Iowa for beginners, seasoned experts, and everyone in between. Feel free to ask our staff for recommendations based on your skill level and the amount of sunlight you get through your windows. There’s something for everyone at Ted Lare Garden Center!


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