(WHTM) – Issues with a watering schedule is one of the top reasons people are unsuccessful in their attempts to keep houseplants alive, whether they wither due to overwatering or underwatering.

Sticking to a watering schedule that is right for your particular indoor plants will help ensure their survival. There are also different watering methods, and some plants require a specific technique to thrive.

Watering methods

The most popular method of watering plants is to pour water into the soil. However, this isn’t the best way to quench every plant’s thirst.

Other options include:

  • Bottom watering – placing a plant inside a saucer and allowing it to draw water up through the roots from the bottom of the soil.
  • Misting – Some plants only need a light misting from a spray bottle. However, this is recommended in general, especially for plants that like humidity because misting, especially multiple plants at once, will increase the relative humidity.
  • Gradual watering – placing a watering bulb (also known as a watering globe) filled with water will help to keep plants steadily watered without becoming oversaturated.
  • Submersion – Some plants need to be fully submerged in a small pool of water for a specific duration for best results.
  • Hydroponic plants – Some plants don’t need soil to grow. These plants should instead be placed in a vase of water.

Here’s how much water and what watering method these ten popular houseplants need to thrive.

Air plant

Air plants don’t grow in soil, hence their name. It is commonly mistaken that they can be maintained simply by misting; however, this is not true. Air plants need to soak in water where they are fully submerged for one hour once a week.

You will be able to tell if your air plant needs more time in the water, which depends on the humidity in your home, if the ends of the leaves start to curl and turn brown or yellow.


Bamboo is hydroponic. It just needs to sit in a vase of water where its roots are fully submerged all of the time. Be watchful of the water levels because the water can evaporate or be completely used up by the bamboo. If the bamboo is left in a vase without water for too long, the leaves will begin to turn yellow and it will die.

For this reason, it is recommended to use a see-through vase in order to monitor water levels.


Pothos plants are popular because they are easy to care for, however, they still need to be watered regularly.

The easiest way to ensure your pothos plant stays healthy is to water it when the soil feels dry when you stick your finger in it or to alternately plan to water it every 1-2 weeks. When you water it, continue adding water until it starts to drain water through its pots drainage holes onto a saucer.

If your pothos is in a hanging basket inside and you don’t want to wet your floors, you have a few other options. You can place a watering bulb filled with water into the soil. This will gradually water the plant, meaning no dripping plant on your carpet. However, be careful that the bulb doesn’t become clogged with soil and is actually draining.

Another option would be to place the hanging pothos in a sink and let excess water drain into the sink. You can then replace it to the ceiling when it is done dripping.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is great to have on hand and is fairly low maintenance. It only needs to be watered when the soil is completely dry. When it’s time to water, it can be done using the traditional watering method.


For those trying to grow something they can use in their kitchen, basil is a popular choice. This plant needs moist soil so do not let it dry out in between watering. It also needs to be misted frequently.

African violet

African violets also need to be kept moist, however, the soil around the roots should dry out between watering. It is recommended to use bottom watering when the soil feels ready. Place the plant in a saucer for 30 minutes to let it absorb the water.


A cactus should be watered when its soil is 90% dry, which equates to generally about every 10 days in the summer and every four weeks in the winter.

It should be fully saturated with water when it is watered, only stopping once water starts to emerge from the drainage holes.

Spider plant

Spider plants can start by being propagated in a hydroponic system, but that is not sustainable as they need nutrients from provided through soil. Once the plant is in soil, it should be watered using the traditional method. Let the top two inches of soil dry out in between watering.

Swiss cheese plant

The soil of a Swiss cheese plant should be kept completely moist in the spring and summer. During the fall and winter, it does not require as much attention and should survive with occasional watering.

Chinese money plant

The Chinese money plant is the opposite of the Swiss cheese plant, and the soil should be allowed to dry in between waterings.

Keep in mind most plants do not need as much watering in the fall in winter.

Pay attention to the specific needs for frequency and method for your individual plants rather than watering them all at once using the traditional method. Research what warning signs your plant would display if it were to be experiencing overwatering or underwatering and adjust your frequency if it starts to exhibit these changes.