The Ultimate Guide to Watering Your Plants
The Ultimate Guide to Watering Your Plants
Watering your plants can be a bit like walking a tightrope - too much, and they drown; too little, and they wither away. To ensure your green friends thrive, let's dive into the art of watering.
Watering facts 101
Leaf thickness: The thicker the leaves, the less frequently you'll need to water your plants. Plants with thicker leaves are better at storing water. Picture a robust Sansevieria standing tall compared to the delicate, slender leaves of a Calathea.
Water temperature: Stick to water that is room-temperature when possible. Avoid using cold tap water; it can give your plant quite the chill and shock its system.
Seasonal Impact: Be mindful of the seasons; your plants will thirst more during summer, requiring up to double or even triple the water they do in the winter months.
To Dry Out or Not? Most plants like a little breather between waterings, allowing the soil to dry somewhat. However, as with every rule, there's an exception – enter Alocasias, the plant world's enigmatic figures.
These tricky plants prefer consistently moist soil, though be cautious not to overdo it with the watering can.
Shade vs. Direct Light: The amount of light your plant receives plays a significant role in its watering needs. Plants basking in direct sunlight tend to require more frequent watering.
On the other hand, those positioned in bright, indirect light, generally need less frequent hydration.
When in doubt, leave it out: It's often wiser to err on the side of under watering than overwatering. Overwatering, especially when paired with insufficient light, tops the list of common plant woes.
This scenario tends to unfold more during colder months when well-meaning plant parents shower their leafy companions with a bit too much affection; both figuratively and literally.
How to check if a plant needs to be watered
The Finger Test: A simple trick is to insert your finger about 2.5 cm into the soil. If your finger emerges dry, with no soil clinging to it, it's time to water. On the other hand, if the soil sticks to your finger and feels moist, give it a couple of days before you recheck.
Pot Lifting: If feasible, try lifting the pot. If it feels noticeably light and the soil appears dry, it's a sign your plant needs a drink.
If it's heavy and the soil feels moist, patience is the name of the game; wait a bit longer before watering.
Misting and Showering – Is It Necessary?
The practice of misting your plants is somewhat of a debated topic among plant enthusiasts. Some swear by it, while others remain skeptical of its effectiveness. However, there are some potential benefits to misting your plants on a weekly basis.
Dirt and Dust Removal: Misting can help in removing dirt and dust from your plant's leaves, aiding in better respiration.
Happy Humidity Lovers: Plants that thrive in high humidity, like Calatheas, may benefit from regular misting as it helps maintain their preferred conditions.
Pest Management: Misting can deter pests that prefer drier environments, making them easier to deal with.
Weekly Check-In: Misting can also serve as a weekly opportunity to check in on your plants, ensuring they are thriving. If you decide to mist, it's advisable to use distilled water or rainwater.
Tap water may leave mineral deposits on your plant as it evaporates, potentially harming its well-being.
Apart from misting, most plants appreciate having their leaves cleaned periodically. A gentle wipe-down with a soft, lukewarm cloth to remove larger dust particles is recommended a few times a year to keep your leafy companions looking their best.
Why does my plant look yellow and limp?
If your plant's leaves have taken on a yellow, wilted appearance, the likely culprit is over watering. This can be problematic as it can lead to root rot, putting your plant's health at risk.
To rescue your plant from the clutches of overwatering, here's what you can try:
- Remove the plant from its pot.
- Gently shake off the excess soil and let it dry out for a day.
- Trim away any rotted or damaged roots.
- Repot your plant into fresh, well-draining soil.
Overwatering is often more pronounced when a plant is in a pot without a drainage hole. If you find yourself battling this issue frequently, consider repotting your plantinto a pot with proper drainage. This adjustment can give you better control over your plant's hydration needs.
Watering Desert Plants
Desert plants, including cacti and succulents, thrive in arid conditions, so they don't require frequent watering. When you do water them, ensure a thorough soak.
Afterward, it's crucial to wait until the soil has completely dried out before watering again. During the winter months, desert plants need very little water.
In the summer, a monthly watering is usually sufficient. Some succulents, like the Sansevieria cylindrica, might show signs like wrinkling when they're thirsty. On the other hand, if you take neglect to a completely new level, a Beaucarnea's caudex (the large swollen trunk) may shrink and become wrinkly.
Then you really know that you’ve been a neglectful plant parent.
Watering Tropical Plants
Tropical plants, on the other hand, are fans of humidity. Varieties like Calatheas, Banana plants (Musa‘acuminata’), and Bird-of-Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai) enjoy more frequent watering, typically once or twice a week, depending on the season.
It's essential not to let them dry out completely, as this could lead to their demise. Tropical plants thrive in warm, humid environments, making a bright bathroom with suitable lighting conditions an ideal spot for them to flourish.