With any houseplant, proper or improper care is almost always related to watering quality. Finding the right balance, being reasonable about the process of wetting the soil, not going to extremes, and "listening" to the plant are the main rules of proper watering. But this is not the only one. It is not easy to balance watering less and watering more. Some basic rules for watering houseplants will ensure that you don't make major mistakes in this important procedure. Let's get to know them a little. You will learn more about how to water your planter by Bubgo's article.
1. A good watering can begin with water quality
You should not water houseplants with untested water, especially not tap water, unfiltered water, cold or hot water. The water should be the right temperature for the air in the room. Water should be left to stand for at least 2-3 days before watering.
Melted rainwater (as long as the environment is favorable) or filtered "drinking water" is ideal. It is best not to water houseplants with boiling water (with a few exceptions), and mineralization is absolutely prohibited. Some plants may require distilled water.
2. Water only when necessary
Checking the dryness and water consumption rates of plants at different stages of growth makes it easier to avoid making major watering mistakes. Regardless of the standard recommendations, you can only judge watering requirements by looking at the soil.
Before you start using a watering can, it is worth checking whether the plants need watering.
1. Check the top substrate's moisture level on the surface and to a depth of 0.4-1 inch (1-2.5 cm) by gently rubbing the soil with your fingers.
2. Compare the pots to see if they have become lighter (there is a big difference in the weight of the pots before and after watering).
3. No need to water the plants all at once!
It is the biggest mistake to set aside a certain day or days each week to water all plants at the same time indiscriminately. This is certainly more convenient. But potted plants are different and should also be watered at other times.
You can group your houseplants by watering level (water-loving, moderately water-loving, or drought-tolerant) or even by origin (desert, subtropical, tropical). But it's best to check individual recommendations for varieties and species and to create a schedule for each plant.
A good strategy is to keep simple records or tables or use labels and signs on the pots with information about
1. how often and how much the plant should be watered at different stages of development
2. how long the water should be left in the tray.
3. how much water to leave in the tray; and how much water to use.
Always use special "markers" to highlight plants watered by tray, wicking, pouring water into a leaf funnel, or soaking.
4. Do not accept extremes
Drought and over-watering are the two poles in the definition of mis-watering. And both are considered unacceptable. For any houseplant, the top 1 inch (2.5 cm) or so of the substrate should not be wet for more than a few minutes after watering.
Even for moisture-loving species, you should let the top layer of substrate dry out until the next watering. And for drought-tolerant or water-thirsty plants, you should not let the substrate at the bottom of the pot dry out completely (except for bulbs and cacti that overwinter completely dry and cacti that can survive drying out).
All florists have emergencies, including trips away from home. However, if regular care is neglected and plants are often over-or under-watered, you can't expect them to be healthy and beautiful.
When it comes to watering houseplants, one rule always holds. It is always better to under-fertilize than to over-fertilize.
5. Frequency and quantity of watering are equally important
Watering can be frequent (every day or every other day), moderate or moderate (every 2-3 days), and infrequent (no more than once a week). But in addition to frequency, the quality of the soaking soil is important for all houseplants.
How much water will soak into the substrate - and how often to water - is determined by the top 10 inches of soil. Too much or too much watering will cause the soil to become very wet immediately, for a few minutes, and then moist for some time.
With standard, moderate watering, the soil is not wet: the soil should be evenly moist after a few minutes. On the other hand, light irrigation is the kind where the soil goes from somewhat moist to immediately wet.
A tactile test determines the degree of wetness.
1. wet soil "drips," drops of water appear when the substrate is squeezed.
2. Moist soil is easily crumbled and stuck.
3. Wet soil will roll up and crumple but will not stick to your hands.
4. Dry soil will crumble when squeezed.
Any watering is considered correct only if the amount of water allows you to soak the entire soil evenly to the lowest level - so that some water does not come up through the drainage holes immediately, but some time after the watering. Too much dripping or no water in the tray signals water tightness or the substrate's inability to hold water, again undesirable. It is best to divide the water into several sprays and watch the soil soak, giving the water a chance to be evenly distributed, rather than all at once.
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6. Spreading the spray and being careful is the best watering strategy
Do not water in one place with a strong jet of water. Compact and erode the substrate. It is best to use a watering can with a dispensing nozzle for this purpose; these nozzles are made specifically for home potted plants. Watering should be done around the perimeter of the pot, low enough to avoid the formation of holes, slow enough not to have "puddles," and not to allow water to accumulate on the soil.
Pay special attention to accuracy: not all houseplants are sensitive to watering, but none will thank you for being decorative if you are not careful with it. Water should not be directed toward the trunk and under the roots, root necks, and growing points, soaking and splashing onto the leaves. If there are signs of soil compaction, slumping, or poorly saturated substrate, you should immediately loosen the soil. If the soil is severely stained or moldy, the topsoil should be replaced.
7. Watering should not be done in the middle of the day
It is best to water houseplants early in the morning or late in the evening during the warm season and only in the early morning during the cold season. Watering should not be done in direct sunlight during the day.
8. Water must not stagnate in the tray
Even for plants that need to be soaked or watered through trays, limit the amount of time the water remains in the outside container. In the case of classic top watering, any residual water in the tray should be drained after 5 to 8 minutes.
Even 10 minutes of standing water at the bottom of the substrate and over-saturation of the drainage system can cause a negative process to begin in decay-sensitive species.
9. Correct watering at the slightest variation
It is rarely possible to water with a steady frequency. If the weather is hot, the heating is more intense, the humidity is low, and the plants are thriving, watering should be increased. But not in quantity, but in frequency, to compensate for all factors.
Always remember that numerous other factors can also affect the timing of watering.
1. The size of the pot (the larger the container, the less frequent the watering will be)
2. The material of the pot (plants in ceramic containers should be watered more frequently)
3. The size and density of the leaves.
4. The location in the room and the frequency of ventilation.
5. The moisture content of the air.
6. The extent to which the root system fills the substrate.
7. Humidity, etc.
10. Use of smart helpers
Today, budget and high-end systems have been developed for houseplants to avoid watering bottlenecks. Affordable and straightforward indicators, automatic irrigation bottles, double containers, and hydroponic devices keep watering efforts to a minimum.
Even a simple water level meter can keep you from having to check the soil by hand as often. If it's hard to know if a plant needs watering or if it's best to wait, you deserve such a clever helper.