in regards to watering, different plants have different needs. for some plants little water is needed, for others the soil should remain moist. the frequency & amount of watering will depend on your plants’ needs, the conditions of their natural habitat, the pot it’s placed in, soil mixture, and the lighting situation & environment. the best way to learn when to water is to get to know your plants; stick your fingers in the soil. 

my plants drip drying 💦

everyone has a different watering routine based on the aforementioned factors. while i have a designated watering slash check in day each week, i still check on my plants everyday. i struggle with watering, especially when the seasons change. through observation and learning about each plant through research & experience i know when each of them needs to be watered. 

when to water

  • observe your plant and get to know signs of needing to be watered
  • drooping or wilting leaves are a sure sign (exhibit a). however, it is best to check the soil & the roots because sometimes wilting can be a sign of overwatering & root rot 😢
  • touch the soil and get to know how it feels – stick your fingers at least one to two inches deep. you can use a wooden chopstick to check deeper down – if the soil is moist, it will stick to the chopstick. 
  • lift the pot before & after watering to get an idea of how your plant feels as this will help you learn when the soil is dry or moist
  • some people use moisture meters – this is useful for large plants in large pots because it is hard to sort out the water content (reader’s digest, 1979)
  • if you aren’t sure if you should water, wait a day or two and then check again and water thoroughly 

watering tips

  • for some plants, i water from the bottom of the pot & discard what the plant can’t take up after about half an hour
  • try not to water less more frequently as this may cause waterlogging. rather soak the soil thoroughly once a plant is beyond the point of needing to be watered 
  • roots need to breathe so they can grow healthily by aerating your soil – stick a chopstick in carefully not harm the roots to prevent the soil from getting compacted
  • adjust your watering based on the season!

how much water?

in the beginning i was so confused by watering instructions. to clear it up, i read about quantity of water in reader’s digest (1979) success with houseplants. here’s a few pointers:

water plentifully

  • keep the potting medium moist throughout all the time
  • the surface of the soil should not dry out
  • water the plant enough so that it’s flowing through the drainage hole
  • in general, do not let your plant stand in excess water 

water moderately

  • when watering moisten the potting medium thoroughly 
  • allow the top inch or so to dry out before watering again
  • water the plant until a few drops start dropping from the drainage hole
  • if watering from the bottom, discard water as soon as the soil feels barely moist

water sparingly 

  • potting medium should be barely moist throughout 
  • allow most of the soil to dry out before watering again
  • when watering just cover the surface with water so that it doesn’t drip through the drainage hole
  • check with a chopstick to be sure that the entire pot is barely moist
  • for these guys, watering too little is better than watering too much

last note, i use filtered water for my plants as i filter my drinking water. i leave it out overnight so that it will be room temperature by the next day. if i could i would collect rainwater. if you don’t have a filter – don’t fret! you can also boil water.

One thought on “033. plants + water

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