Poor watering management is probably one of the main causes of death of indoor plants worldwide. And no, it's not just due to neglect, it's mainly due to too much love, which is the same as saying, too much water!
This post addresses two of the main questions that could be the basis of this “statistic”: When and How to water a plant without killing it.
When to water
Once a week, once a month? Watering routinely? No! Periodically assess the need for watering? Yes!
It is common to go around the house with a watering can, on a certain day of the week, and pour a little water on each plant. It's an excellent principle, but it's not ideal. The ideal is to walk around the house with a willingness to get your index finger dirty.
Most plants prefer to be watered when the soil on the surface of the pot is dry, but remains moist in depth, roughly from the lower half of the pot. Only by assessing the condition of the soil in each pot (yes, digging) will you be able to know if it's time to water.
When watering routinely, you do not take into account:
- The temperature and the air humidity to which the plant has been subjected since the last watering can vary considerably.
- The characteristics of each plant and its size.
- The time of year. Plants need more water during more active growth seasons (usually between spring and autumn) and less during the winter rest season.
These factors are directly reflected in the amount of water that the roots remove from the soil in the pot and, correspondingly, the degree of dryness at each moment.
And, by the way, do you know if you are the only person who usually walks around the house with a watering can? How many people have access to it? Are you sure they didn't use it the day before?
For all these reasons and more, it's best to get your index finger dirty before watering again. This is the only way to ensure that the plant really needs to be watered or if it is already feeling thirsty and you need to shorten the periods between waterings.
How to water
Saturday morning. Watering can in hand. A little watering here, a little watering there... it's affection, I know, but it's just kisses on the cheek. Of course we like them, the plants too, but we run the risk of the water never reaching the lower layers of the soil where it is really needed. Plants don't die because of this, but they don't develop their full potential and they never look (so) good in photographs!
Love for plants is…
…water each plant abundantly at a time, allowing the water to reach deep into the soil.
…lift the plant in its plastic pot and stop watering when water starts to come out of the holes in the bottom of the plastic pot.
…remove any excess water that comes into contact with the bottom of the plastic pot.
This method guarantees the water necessary for the full development of the plant, while simultaneously keeping the soil aerated and preventing waterlogging that could cause serious problems. The main cause of death… due to too much love…
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