Watering Philodendrons: Complete Beginners Guide

If you asked us what the most challenging aspect of learning to become a successful plant parent was, it would be understanding our indoor plants watering needs.

And it was this exact obstacle that motivated us to put together this guide for How to Water a Philodendron Plant. To help new plant parents overcome this common challenge and take their skills to the next level.

How to Water Philodendron

Want to Take Your Plant Parenting Skills to the Next Level?

Did you know that understanding your plant’s water needs is a fundamental skill that will make caring for your indoor plants easier? It’s part of the Plant Parenting LAWs (LIGHTING – AWARENESS – WATERING) that we encourage all plant owners to learn. You’ll experience a rewarding and fulfilling plant parenting journey by mastering these three aspects!

So if you’re ready, grab a coffee, and let’s get our hands dirty!

How to Water a Philodendron – Watering Preferences

One of the first things you will learn as a new plant parent is that watering on a schedule is one of the BIGGEST MISTAKES you can make.

The general rule of thumb to follow when watering philodendrons are:

  1. Only water your Philodendron when the top inch of soil has dried out,
  2. Provide your philodendrons plenty of water to saturate the soil, and
  3. Ensure all excess water can easily escape and drain away.

Of course, if it were as simple as sticking with the above three rules, there wouldn’t be a need for an entire How to Water Philodendron guide.

Unfortunately, it is not this easy.

And many factors will influence how and when you water your Philodendron, such as ambient environment factors like light, temperature, and humidity, as well as external influences like the time of the year.

Are you beginning to understand why sticking to a rigid watering schedule for your Philodendron can be new plant parents’ undoing?

The good news is we’re here to help you fine-tune your parenting skills so that you can understand how all these external factors interconnect.

Not only that, but you’ll also learn how to adapt your parenting techniques to accommodate these factors.

We don’t know about you, but we’re excited about helping you become a better plant parent!

credit: giphy

Factors Affecting Philodendron Watering Frequency

Okay, let’s look at how different variables affect how you water your beautiful philodendrons.


Temperature plays a vital role in determining the watering frequency for our beautiful indoor tropical plants.

  • High temperatures: In higher temperatures, water evaporation from soil and plant transpiration increases. This means Philodendrons may need more frequent watering to compensate and prevent the soil from becoming too dry.
  • Low temperatures: Lower temperatures slow down the evaporation process, so the soil retains water longer. So, reducing your watering frequency in cooler conditions would be best.

Remember that Philodendrons prefer warm environments between 65-78° Fahrenheit (18-25° Celsius) as they’re native to tropical regions. However, they are flexible and can thrive in a slightly wider temperature range.

It’s essential to rely on something other than temperature alone when deciding when to water your Philodendron.

Other factors, like humidity, will also influence your watering routine. We’ll take a closer look at humidity in the next part.

Humidity Levels

Humidity primarily impacts the moisture levels in your Philodendron’s soil.

  • In a high-humidity environment, water them less frequently. That’s because the moisture in the air can prevent the soil from drying out quickly.
  • On the other hand, if you’re in a low-humidity area, your Philodendron may need more frequent watering. This is because dry air can cause soil to lose moisture rapidly.

As you may be beginning to appreciate, testing your Philodendron’s soil moisture levels is essential BEFORE adding more water.

Especially if it has been exceptionally humid lately – you may discover the soil is still moist.


Potting Soil in Various Pots

Soil quality and type are significant factors to consider when determining the watering frequency for your indoor philodendrons.

As a new plant parent, understanding this correlation can significantly impact your plant’s health and growth.

Different soil types have unique water retention properties, affecting how often your Philodendron needs watering.

For example, a soil mix rich in sphagnum moss or coconut coir retains more moisture, reducing the need for frequent watering.

On the other hand, a mix with high perlite or sand content will drain water faster, necessitating more regular hydration.

What’s important to remember is that achieving the perfect balance is essential – not too dry and not too wet –think Goldilocks!

Overwatering can lead to soggy soil and root rot while underwatering may dehydrate your plant.

So, it’s crucial to understand what kind of soil you’re using and adjust the watering schedule accordingly.

And remember – every Philodendron is unique; observe your plant and adjust its care routine as needed; they’ll let you know if something isn’t right!

To start creating the best environment for your indoor philodendrons, find out more about our specific philodendron soil mix.


The quality and type of pot you choose can profoundly affect how you care for your plant, particularly regarding watering frequency.

Different pots retain or drain water at different rates.

For instance, plastic pots hold moisture longer, while terra cotta or clay pots are porous and allow the soil to dry out faster.

empty terracotta pots

If you’re using a terra cotta pot, be prepared to water your philodendrons more frequently due to their increased evaporation rate.

On the other hand, plastic pots require careful monitoring as they can make the soil too soggy if overwatered, which might lead to root rot. Regardless of the type of pot you choose, ensure it has proper drainage holes at the bottom, as this helps prevent over-watering by allowing excess water to escape.


Philodendrons are versatile plants that can thrive in various lighting conditions, but these conditions can influence your watering plan.

Here’s how:

  1. Bright Indirect Light: If your plant is in bright indirect light, it will use more water than when kept in low light. This is because the higher light intensity increases evapotranspiration – which sounds like a complicated word. But it only describes the situation when water is lost from the soil by evaporation AND transpiration simultaneously.
  2. Low Light: Conversely, your Philodendron slows its growth in low light conditions and reduces its water intake. In this case, you should reduce the watering frequency as there’s less evaporation happening.
  3. Direct Sunlight: Philodendrons generally don’t fare well under direct sunlight, which can scorch their leaves. But if a philodendron gets too much direct sun, it may require more frequent watering due to increased evaporation.

Growing plants indoors might seem challenging initially, but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

Don’t worry if you don’t understand all the terminology and concepts immediately – nobody becomes a plant expert overnight.

Think of yourself as beginning an exciting new journey with your plant babies! Every little milestone – like when your plant sprouts a new leaf or thrives in a different corner of your home – is something to be celebrated.

It’s these tiny victories that make the experience so rewarding.

Seasonality Changes

Let’s now focus on how the changes in seasons throughout the year impact your indoor plant watering routine frequency.


Springtime is the growth phase for philodendrons. It is where they tend to grow new leaves and stems.

Now, here’s where watering comes into play. During this growth phase in spring, your Philodendron will get a bit thirstier than usual because all that growing takes energy and water!

Now, other resources may suggest watering once a month. Which is likely the case for your Philodendron.

However, we prefer to use the soil moisture finger test. To perform this test, stick your finger in the soil approximately an inch into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time for watering; otherwise, give it a few more days to dry thoroughly.

We always prefer our soil to be drier than oversaturated due to overwatering.


During the warmer summer months, one of the most critical aspects to remember is that your Philodendron’s watering needs will increase.

As the temperature rises and humidity decreases, your plant might need more frequent watering than in cooler seasons when it retains moisture longer.

Keep in mind that each Philodendron is unique and might have slightly different watering requirements depending on the factors we discussed above, such as its type, size, pot, and environment it is situated in.

For instance, if your plant lives in a spot receiving lots of sunlight or the air conditioning regularly runs nearby, it may dry out quicker.

Again, you should be ready to water your Philodendron once the top inch of soil feels dry to the touch.

Autumn Fall

During the fall season, there are some notable changes to look out for in watering frequency.

As temperatures drop and daylight reduces, your Philodendron’s growth pattern and water intake slow down.

This means that you may need to reduce your watering schedule compared to spring and summer.

Remember, smaller sips more frequently are better than a deep soak which can lead to soggy soil and root rot.

Also, consider indoor heating, which can dry out plants faster.

Most importantly, pay close attention to your plant – yellow leaves often signal to overwater, while brown leaves indicate underwatering.


Winter months can often mean a slightly different care regimen for your Philodendron.

One crucial thing to remember is that, during these cooler periods, your plant’s growth tends to slow down significantly. As such, it requires less water than during warmer months.

Overwatering in winter can often lead to waterlogged soil and root rot, which could seriously harm your plant.

That being said, don’t worry if you need clarification on when exactly to water your plant; observing its behavior will give you plenty of hints!

Pay attention to signs like wilting leaves, which may indicate that your Philodendron needs more moisture.

At any time of the year, always remember that watering should be based on soil dryness rather than sticking strictly to a schedule.

Garden Bench Top Tip

Caring for plants is a journey full of learning experiences and small victories. Keep going with patience and resilience – you’re doing great!

How to Read Your Philodendron’s Signals

Did you know your plants talk to you?

Well, not in the conventional sense. However, they are constantly sending you signals about their water needs. You simply need to learn their language – which is what this section is about.

drooping philodendron leaves

Signs Your Philodendron is Underwatered

Here are a few common signs that your Philodendron is becoming dehydrated:

  • Wilting or Drooping Leaves: If the leaves of your Philodendron are wilting or drooping, it’s a clear sign that the plant is not getting enough water.
  • Yellowing Leaves: While yellowing leaves can be a sign of several problems, in combination with other symptoms like the browning of the leaves, it may indicate underwatering.
  • Brown and Crispy Leaf Edges: This is another common symptom of an underwatered Philodendron. The leaf edges turn brown and crispy due to insufficient moisture.
  • Slow Growth or No New Growth at All: Underwatered plants often show slow growth or no new growth because they need to get the necessary hydration for photosynthesis and growth processes.
  • Soil Dryness: If the soil around your Philodendron feels dry, it could be a sign that your plant is not getting enough water.

Signs Your Philodendron is Overwatered

Here are a few common signs that your Philodendron has oversaturated soil:

  • Yellowing of leaves: This is one of the most common signs. Overwatering can cause the plant’s leaves to turn yellow.
  • Wilting: Despite wet soil, you may notice your Philodendron wilting. This might seem contradictory, but it’s a common symptom of overwatering. Your plant baby is saying it’s not happy 😢
  • Brown leaf tips or edges: If you see this sign along with yellow or wilted leaves, it might indicate overwatering.
  • Root rot: The roots of an overwatered Philodendron will be mushy and dark instead of white or light brown with a firmness similar to al dente cooked pasta.
  • Fungus Gnats: You might notice tiny flies around your plant. These are fungus gnats, and they love damp conditions, often a sign of overwatering.
  • Moldy foliage or soil: When there’s too much moisture for extended periods, mold can grow on the soil surface and plant foliage.

Frequently Asked Questions for How To Water a Philodendron

By now, you should be an expert in how to water philodendrons. But, in case you have a few remaining questions, we’ve compiled a FAQ section.

How Often Should I Water a Philodendron?

Only water your Philodendron when the top inch layer of soil is dry to the touch.

The frequency of watering your Philodendron will depend on various factors, such as the time of the year and ambient environmental conditions. Other factors like soil quality and the type of pot can also influence your watering regime.

What Water Type Should I Use to Water My Philodendron?

The best type of water to use is typically rainwater or distilled water.

These types are often ideal as they don’t contain the chemicals found in tap water, such as chlorine and fluoride, which can potentially harm your plant. However, if these aren’t readily available, letting tap water sit out for 24 hours before watering can also work well, allowing some of these chemicals to evaporate.

Can I Bottom Water My Philodendron?

Bottom watering is an excellent method for your Philodendron.

Fill a tray or container with water and sit your potted plant in it. The plant will absorb the water from the bottom, directly providing hydration to the roots.

It’s a convenient method to help prevent over-watering and ensure that your Philodendron gets just the right amount of moisture. Remove the plant from the water once it’s done drinking, usually after 10-30 minutes, to avoid waterlogging.

How Long Can a Philodendron Go Without Water?

Philodendrons are resilient houseplants and can go without water for about 1 – 2 weeks. However, as you may appreciate, this depends on the environmental conditions.

If it’s in warm, dry conditions, it may need watering more frequently, but if it’s cool and humid, it might last longer between waterings.

However, it would be best to avoid letting your Philodendron get too thirsty – they are happiest when their soil is consistently moist.

Can Philodendrons Grow in Water?

Philodendrons can indeed grow in water! Gardening enthusiasts often use this method, known as hydroponics, to cultivate their plants.

You place the Philodendron’s cuttings in a container filled with clean water and let them develop roots.

Remember that the water should be changed weekly to keep your Philodendron happy and healthy.

Should You Mist Philodendron Leaves?

Absolutely! Philodendron plants love a good misting.

This helps to replicate their natural tropical environment, where humidity levels are pretty high. By giving your Philodendron’s leaves a gentle misting, you’re helping to keep them hydrated and healthy.

Just make sure to use room temperature water and try to do it in the morning so the leaves have time to dry out during the day.

References Used

  • Transpiration. (2023, June 22). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transpiration