If you’re new to gardening and wondering how to see your greenery flourish, then you need to start with the basics! Repotting and Watering! Let’s focus on the second one! Not only you, but your plants need to drink enough water to stay healthy. You can help your plants by watering them the right way.
Did you know, for example, that the time you water your plants is essential and that it is better to give them a big drink once a week rather than a small glass every day? Here’s when, how, and how often you need to take your sprinkler in hand to keep your plants in top shape.
Table of Contents
- Why do plants need water?
- How to tell if your plants need watering
- How to avoid overwatering my plants?
- When is the right time of day to water your plants
- Water your plants the right way
- The best tips for watering your houseplants
- Watering indoor plants – mistakes most people do
- What is the best kind of water for your plants?
Why do plants need water?
All of them need water! But how does it keep plants healthy? What did you get to do when you found your houseplant with wilting leaves on your way home from vacation? You watered it! And not just anywhere: at the level of the earth. And there you go! A miracle! After a few hours, the leaves were firm again and full of water.
First, water is essential for the plant to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) to transform it into the oxygen we breathe after the stage of photosynthesis. On the other hand, this water carries dissolved mineral elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, absorbed at ground level) essential for the leaf’s proper functioning.
However, this water represents almost a negligible part of all that the plant absorbs. More than 98% of the water evaporates at the leaves to cool the plant’s temperature: perspiration. The leading role of sweat is to regulate the temperature to prevent the plant from having a hard time.
The plant-needs start with watering. But one question remains: how does the water manage to rise to the treetops’ leaves? The sun’s heat makes it possible to transform liquid water from the leaves into water vapour. Too much evaporation can put the plant in danger. The sap is pulled up by the action of sweat at the leaves. When the suction becomes too large, the liquid’s rise can be disrupted and even prevented by air bubbles into the vessels; a phenomenon called an embolism.
It is also understandable why, in the summer, some plants need to be watered more than others! Potted plants have a little more difficulty meeting their nutrient needs because they are in a closed environment, and the nutrients in the soil will decrease over time.
How to tell if your plants need watering
Lack of water can damage or even completely kill a plant. To avoid this and allow your plants to develop fully, it is essential to analyze their water needs properly. Check the condition of the soil! Of course, the needs of a plant vary according to its species. Nevertheless, there is an effective method to determine if a plant wants water quickly.
It’s the humidity level that determines the need for water. So, in the same way as when you insert a toothpick in the cake to see if it will come out dry or wet, stick your finger in the plant’s soil to check if it comes out completely dry or covered with mud.
If your finger comes out covered with soil, it’s because your plant still has enough moisture, and you can postpone watering. If your finger comes out dry and clean, it’s because your plant has to be watered! If you don’t like to get dirty, know that this effective trick works just as well with a pencil as an indicator.
In any case, you will now know how to quickly check if a plant has to be watered or if it has enough at its disposal. The shape and colour of the leaves don’t just tell you if the plants are getting too much or not enough. They inform you about a whole variety of things. Some of them are:
- Lack of sunlight: discoloured and drooping leaves
- Potassium deficiency: yellow edges and tips
- Nitrogen deficiency: yellow prominent peaks and veins
- Calcium deficiency: deformed leaves
- Zinc deficiency: slight discolouration between the central veins
- Iron deficiency: yellow leaves with small green ribs
- Magnesium deficiency: white streaks around veins
How to avoid overwatering my plants?
It is not good to overwhelm your plants, but overwatering them can drown them. Moist soil is also a breeding ground for disease and mould. Although water requirements are different from plant to plant, it is recommended to create a watering schedule for your plants once or twice a week. You better give them a good shot once a week rather than a little every day.
When is the right time of day to water your plants
It is essential to water your plants early in the morning or late at night, especially in summer. This way, you avoid sunburn, and your plants have time to absorb moisture. Want to prevent rapid evaporation in the summer? Protect the base of your plant by sprinkling Naturen hemp litter or freshly cut grass.
Water your plants the right way
Many people water their plants from above, but in this way, there is a good chance that the water will never reach the roots. Therefore, water should continuously be poured into the base of the plant. A second reason is that leaves that are wet for a long time become more easily sick. A general rule: listen to the needs of your plants. You do it by looking at the leaves. If you give them excess water, they will look yellow and faded. Dry and “crunchy” leaves betray the little water condition.
You can water your plants by using PET bottles upside down. Push the bottles upside down into the ground and fill them with water. Thus, the roots will actively seek water and become stronger. Your plants will thank you!
The best tips for watering your houseplants
The urban jungle trend allows us to plant our interiors but also to stock up on plants outdoors! Learning to water plants is one of the first concerns of most people who are starting to take care of their garden. Each plant wants a different extent of water than the others and can vary depending on the season in which we are. It also affects the moist soil, as well as the size of the pot or planter.
These tips will help you and show you that watering can become a relaxing activity.
- The water should be at room temperature.
- Water your plant from the top. Empty the residual water that has accumulated in the saucer after ten minutes. It allows you to estimate how much water your plant needs.
- Feel the earth’s surface with your finger: if it is wet, it is because your plant still has enough water. If you’re not sure, you also have the option of using a moisture sensor that you can insert deep into the earth.
- Collect rainwater in a barrel. Your indoor houseplants will be enchanted by this natural freshwater.
- Reduce watering when the plant is not growing, or the temperature is low.
- Small plants in larger pots should be watered in moderation.
Watering indoor plants – mistakes most people do
1. Too much water
Excess water can suffocate the root systems. You got to touch the earth. If it’s sticky and fresh, you don’t need to water it.
2. Less water
On the contrary, giving them less can also harm the plant. If the land is dry, it should be watered, especially in spring and summer when temperatures rise.
3. Water that is too hot or too cold
Indoor houseplants should be watered with lukewarm water. So be careful not to use cold or hot water.
4. Use water that is too limestone
Tap water is often used but can therefore be harmful to some plants. Ideally, use rainwater or let the one from the tap rest for a few hours before watering the plants.
5. Not knowing the proper watering method
There are two methods: watering from the top using a watering can or watering from below by basing. You got to adapt it according to the variety of plants.
6. Ignore both methods
For watering from above, use an indoor-plant water can with a delicate neck. Water slowly without wetting the leaves.
For watering from below, soak the pot in a basin of water for 15 minutes. The potting soil of the plant must be wet.
7. Don’t adapt watering to suit a variety
Thick-leafed plants need more spaced watering. On the contrary, plants with delicate foliage need less water. Beware of succulents and cacti! Do not water them from November to February.
8. Choosing the wrong pots
The pot of a plant plays an essential role when watering. Opt for a terracotta pot with drainage holes at the bottom; this will allow water to flow. You can also fill the bottom of the pot with a draining layer such as gravel or clay balls. The water will not be able to stagnate. You might place a saucer under the pot as well.
10. Don’t increase watering in the summer
When temperatures rise, a plant will need more water. Don’t leave it on a dry spell! What is the best frequency? Two to three waterings a week.
11. Don’t allow the soil surface to dry between 2 waterings
It is advisable to water a plant when its soil is dry. It is a clue as to whether the plant wants water. If it’s still wet, we’ll have to wait a few more days.
12. Forget to empty the saucer
Another mistake that is often made with houseplants is to forget to empty the saucer. However, if it contains water that stagnates, the roots of the plant can wither! So remember to drain the water from the saucer regularly!
13. Don’t moisten the leaves
Indoor houseplants need moisture to be healthy. If it is forbidden to wet their leaves during watering, it is essential to remember to moisten the foliage by spraying water droplets. This technique is recommended for many plants, such as Aglaonema, Asplenium, Cissus, Croton, or Ficus, but not all plants support this technique.
14. Too much watering during winter
Indoor houseplants need water even during winter. But be careful! You have to find the silver lining for those particular plants and make sure frequent watering won’t hard them.
What is the best kind of water for your plants?
While tap water can be safe for your plants, it is not the best method of watering. If you were wondering what is the best kind of water to use on your plants, here are some ideas and suggestions!
- Research indicates that rainwater is best for plants, followed by well water and bottled water.
- Bottled purified water is safer for plants because it is virtually free of harmful particles and is not softened.
- Bottled water has the plus of being pre-measured, which helps you determine the exact amount of water poured into your plants. It prevents over-watering. However, watering a garden using only bottled purified water is extremely expensive.
Scientifically, water is necessary to support the essential plant life processes. Water is vital for plant photosynthesis and respiration. The plant loses water through a process called perspiration. So to supplement the need for water, shallow watering is essential. Water has many minerals and salts in it, which are necessary for a healthy plant.
Watering plants with different liquids can be done using other liquid fertilizers or fertilizer mixtures. Water the plant’s base so that it penetrates deep into the root. Do not throw or splash water directly on plants, as many of these can wither. Also, be careful with the quantities, as watering in abundance can lead to rapid drying of the plant. Keep all those tips in mind and you would enjoy a beautiful garden like never before!