How to Water Plants Properly
For any plant to prosper, the right amount of heat, soil, sun, and water must be adhered to. It is critical to understand the conditions that your plants grow. Plants in daylight dry out faster than those in low light.
Why does a plant need water? Lack of water can hinder the ability of plants to grow, develop, or even survive. Therefore, you need to water your plants for them to remain healthy.
🔖 What is it that causes your plants to keep dying? The answer typically lies in something simple and overlooked: how and when you water your plants.
How water helps plants to survive
All living things need water to grow and thrive. Plants are no exception.
Water cools down plants, provides structural support, and moves minerals to various parts like the cells. When the cells are filled with water, they become stiff hence making the plants remain upright. Water also helps plants to gain and retain their shape.
When you water your plant, the sun evaporates water from the leaves through a process called transpiration. The water is pulled from the roots. However, if the roots are dry, water is pulled from the leaves leading to a deflated plant. The deflation of leaves depicts how water plants need water to remain healthy.
Without the proper amount of water, whether the plant gets too much or too little, chances are that little buddy isn’t going to last long.
The Proper Amount of Water
Understanding your natural environment e.g. rainy or dry weather, can help you determine the amount of water plants need.
Plants with low water requirements include desert plants like cacti. When you water these kinds of plants, you can wait for weeks or months before you water them again. However, humidity loving plants such as ferns should be watered once or twice a week.
Roses, for example, will need more care than your average cactus.
Plants in pots tend to dry faster than those on the ground. This is because of the small space in the pots that can only carry little water.
The size of your plant can also contribute to the amount of water it needs. Larger plants consume more water than the smaller ones. For larger plants, you can pour water and let it soak in until the soil is saturated. Younger plants require less water than older ones. Plants can, however, drown if you flood them with too much water.
Overwatering can make the roots rot and therefore, you should supply your plants with the right amount of water. You should also give the soil some time to dry before watering. This helps plants in receiving the recommended balance of water and oxygen.
Basic Watering Tips
Do your research. If you know the species of plant you’ve been charged with taking care of, look up how much water plants need daily for that breed.
Ask an expert. Call someone at a local plant nursery and have a chat. They’ll be happy to give you tips and tricks that might otherwise be hard to come by.
Do the finger test. Place your index finger in the soil around your plant, up to the first knuckle. If the soil is cool and damp, you’re good. If it’s dry, add more water.
Keep the season in mind. Plants will need more frequent waterings in the humid months of summer in order to stay healthy.
Not Too Much.. Avoid Overwatering
Understanding how much water plants need daily can help you balance how frequent and how much water you give them. Though it is difficult to know what is going on in the soil, you can use tools like a soil moisture meter to guide you on the amount of moisture in your soil and around your plant roots before you embark on watering them.
Below are 6 signs that you’re overwatering your plants:
- Healthy soil allows for oxygen to exist in the space between particles of soil. When there is too much water in the soil, the air pockets become fewer hence little oxygen flow. Overwatering, therefore, makes it difficult for your plants to breathe;
- Leaves Turn Brown and Wilt. Though this is the case when plants have little water and when they have much water, plants with much little water have dry leaves while those with much water have soft and limp leaves;
- The buildup of water pressure. When the roots absorb more water, water pressure builds up in the cells of the leaves leading to making them burst;
- Yellowed leaves falling and dropping out of the plant;
- The plant has signs of root rot, including brown moldy roots or a slimy texture;
- Leaves falling. If the leaves start to fall, you are most definitely overwatering, and you should stop.
Overwatering increases the risk of root rot and fungal disease. You should, therefore, determine the right amount of water your plants need for a healthy life.
Sometimes, over watering is more due to poor soil drainage than actually giving too much water. If water isn’t allowed to drain from soil, roots can’t breathe and rot can set in quickly.
To test your soil drainage, dig a one foot hole in the soil you plan on using. Fill the hole with water once and let it drain. Fill the hole a second time and see how long the drainage takes.
For more detailed instructions, feel free to look at our soil drainage pdf.
Not Too Little.. Avoid Underwatering
Pretty much every new plant owner thinks they’re not watering their little friend often enough. Sometimes this is the case, especially if your species is a heavy drinker or you go days without thinking about your plant. Here are some general guidelines you may find helpful:
- Look for wilting leaves. While this can also be a sign of over watering, if the soil is dry when you do the finger test, along with brown or yellow sad looking leaves, chances are your plant needs a drink;
- Look beneath the surface. When checking for moisture, don’t just poke around on the surface of the soil. Check three or four inches down into the soil and make sure it’s at least somewhat damp. This ensures water is reaching the root system;
- Follow the 1-inch rule. In general, vegetable plants need about an inch of water per week, though this varies based on climate. Arid climates, for example need closer to two inches per week to stay healthy;
- Use a rain gauge to keep track. A simple, inexpensive rain gauge can help prevent both under and over watering. Keep track of how much rain or artificially given water your plants receive weekly and adjust accordingly.
Scheduling water for your plants can be based on factors like the size of the plants and the amount of Water needed. Depending on the size, you will need to water to different depths and widths. Large trees require more Water than small ones because of their massive roots.
Adjust your watering frequency with changes in weather and seasons. In hot seasons, plants can use up to five times as much Water as they do during winter.
The one exception to scheduling is potted plants. These tend to dry out more quickly than their in-ground counterparts, due to limited soil space.
The best time to water potted plants is in the morning or evening hours. This is because it gives the water time to be soaked up by the roots before the heat of the day in a way that minimizes chance of root rot.
The following are the best practices you should adopt when watering indoor plants:
- Reduce the frequency of watering in winter when plant growth is slower;
- It would help if you kept plants in pots with drainage holes to prevent waterlogging;
- Water the plants every 2–4 days in spring and summer to keep the compost moist.
As you water your indoor plants, do not Water too much as waterlogged compost can cause diseases. Outdoor plants usually require frequent watering than indoor plants. Therefore, you should always be keen in testing the soil moisture level.
Best Water for plants
Different kinds of Water affect plants differently. Tap water, for instance, can be dangerous for your plants as it can affect their growth. Distilled Water can also slow down the growth of your plants. You should also avoid any water that contains sugar or salt.
The best Water for your plants is rainwater and bottled spring water as they enhance the healthy growth of plants.
Checklist for Watering Plants
Here’s the ultimate checklist to follow when watering your indoor and outdoor plants.
- Water your outdoor plants in the morning to give them enough time to absorb water and get ready for the heat of the day;
- Water the plants at the base, slowly and thoroughly as you focus on the roots;
- Water all around the plant, directly into the soil. This applies to both outdoor and indoor plants;
- Mulch to preserve soil moisture;
- Adjust your watering schedule according to temperature, soil, rainfall and the plant’s need. Don’t water your outdoor plants too frequently, but just enough to keep the soil damp;
- Let the soil dry a bit between watering sessions since overwatering can make plants die;
- Use watering can for houseplants to eliminate spills.
- Use softened water for houseplants as it can affect the plants due to presence of sodium;
- Water during the hot day as water will be lost through evaporation;
- Allow water to run off as water should soak in the soil;
- Water in the evening. Wet leaves at night can cause diseases;
- Put houseplants in pots without drainage holes. Lack of drainage may cause the roots to rot;
- Over-water your houseplants as it may lead to rotting of the roots and fungal diseases.
When watering plants, avoid using a normal spray nozzle since it can damage delicate leaves and flowers.
Are you looking for watering tools that deliver a gentle spray to your plants? Contact us today for quality and affordable tools for both your indoor and outdoor plants.