Watering is one of the ways in which most of us mess up while taking care of our plants and parenting them well. When it comes to watering, there are no hard or fast rules. However, the most common cause of early plant death is generally considered to be over-watering. Fortunately, properly watering of houseplants is not so difficult or a rocket science, it’s just a judgment call that depends on the type of plant, the environmental factors, and the individual plant needs.
Each plant has a different watering need and to master the art of watering houseplants, one must know how to read the plant as well as the soil.
Here are some tips that will help you in learning what ‘NOT’ to do when watering your plants and how to avoid killing your houseplants.
Be sure your pot has drainage holes:
If you are planting in a pot, make sure there is at least one drainage hole in the bottom of the pot. Proper drainage is essential to happy roots, and happy roots are essential for happy plants. Pots that do not have proper drainage are very easy to over-water.
Do not let your plant sit in water:
Many plants’ root systems want just the right amount of water and they do not appreciate being forced to sit in their water for too long. Staying too wet can lead to root rooting which finally lead to plant death. For a pot that sits inside of a Planter (a decorative pot without a drain hole), make sure that the planter is not filled with water after watering. So check after 30 minutes and remove any excess water from the outer planter. Similarly, if your plant with existing pot sits on a saucer, then also check back after 30 minutes to remove any excess water out of the saucer.
Best time to water plants is in the morning!
When using a sprinkler, garden hose or any other device that wets the foliage, the best time of watering your plants is early morning (6.00 to 9.00 am) . As when watering is completed, the wet leaves and soil have the entire day to dry out. The rapid drying of plant leaves prevents against the development of fungal diseases. Additionally, it supplies them with a stash of water to get through the day’s heat.
Watering plants in the morning is not only best for your plants but also good for your mental well-being as this provides a deep sense of peacefulness and satisfaction while listening to the falling water, relishing the earthy smell of wet soil and viewing the morning sunshine!
Do not overwater!
Feel the soil- always check if the top inch or two is completely dry and then water. Just make sure to watch the weather, and reduce frequency when rainfall is abundant. Too much moisture can be just as damaging to plants as too little.
If the soil is dry and the leaves are wilting, the plant is likely thirsty. But wilting (and dropping and/or yellowing) leaves can also mean too much water.
Hence, the best advice is that if in doubt about whether to water or not, then don’t. It is better for plants to be a bit dry, than too wet.”
Do not use ice-cold water or hot water:
Use of Ice-cold water or hot water may shock the roots of your plants which may lead to permanent root damage, leaf drop and other problems. Allow the water to warm to room temperature before watering the plants.
The watering frequency will be influenced by amount of light the plant receives. Houseplants that are placed in bright indirect sunlight will require more watering as compared to other indoor plants that are exposed to low or medium light.