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The way to avoid overwatering is to give plants water only when they need it. Don’t follow a rigid schedule, such as watering every weekend. Instead, water only when soil is dry to the degree that’s right for that particular plant.
Catch and save water from household chores to use in the garden. Keep empty 5-gallon buckets on hand to hold the catch from a dehumidifier. Use plastic milk jugs to save cold water that typically runs down the drain while you wait for hot.
Water plants effectively and efficiently by testing different irrigation methods and learning how well your soil holds water. Don’t judge when to water based on wilting leaves. Some plants naturally wilt under the midday sun, and plants also wilt when soil is too wet. Before watering, shove your finger into soil as far as you can and pull it out. If it comes out dry and clean or you can’t even shove it into soil, you need to water. If soil sticks to your finger or feels moist, don’t water. When watering, deliver water directly to soil to reduce the amount lost to evaporation. Soaker hoses, drip irrigation, micro-irrigation and bubblers all deliver water directly to soil. If using a traditional sprinkler, make sure it’s not watering surrounding grass, sidewalk or driveway.
The Skilken home's organic glass shape, designed by renowned architect Bart Prince, shimmers in the sun, as seen on HGTV's Amazing Water Homes. Red potted flowers stand out in a line in front of the home's facade.
Dry winter air causes houseplants to dry out quickly. At the very least, check plants weekly to assess soil moisture. Sticking a finger onto—or even into—soil is an easy way to determine if plants need a drink. With small plants, lifting the pot is another good way to figure out how moist soil is. Dry soil is light; wet soil is heavier. Soil color also changes as moisture evaporates. Wet soil is dark; dry soil is lighter in color.