Plant Care Basics
We always recommend -checking- your potting medium (soil, bark, pumice, clay, etc) for moisture before watering, rather than watering based on how much time has elapsed. How far down the medium to check for moisture depends on what type of plant you have (succulent or cactus, tropical, riparian, etc). Once you know this, you can determine if you should:
allow the soil to dry completely between waterings,
allow the top layer (1-2") of soil to dry between waterings, or
keep the soil evenly moist at all times
When the plant is ready for moisture, add water to the pot until some runs out of the bottom. However, if your plant is potted in a container without a drainage hole, be extra careful with the amount of water you add at any given time. It is never good to let your plant sit in water for long periods of time.
*Pay attention to the season. In the Fall, sunlight and temperatures are decreasing. This means most plants may need less water. In the Spring, the opposite happens AND we start to run our A/C. This dries out plants even faster!
Can your plant see blue sky from where it is positioned? This is a good indicator of whether or not the plant is receiving enough light, which plants -must- have. Unfortunately, if the plant isn't getting enough light, it will slowly (or not so slowly) die. Depending on the type of plant you have (succulent or cactus, tropical, riparian, etc), your plant will need:
Direct sun (12-16 hours/day),
Bright light with 3-6 hours of direct sun (very bright light all day without direct sun would be tolerated for survival), or
Bright, indirect light
There is no such thing as a plant that thrives in low levels of light. There are some that will die slower than others in low light, but even those are barely surviving. Artificial light can be sufficient to keep certain plants healthy and strong, but it may need to be ON for 12+ hours each day, 7 days a week. Look for "Bright White" and "Daylight" bulbs with the highest amount of lumens (1000 or more), and ones that are directional (rather than omni-directional or rounded).