Are you “Watering” your plants correctly?
Watering Your Plants, the Right Way
Making sure your plants have enough water is the most important thing you can do to keep them alive. Like all living things, water is essential to survive, so any good plant parent knows that watering your plants is necessary to keep them happy and healthy.
Unfortunately, it’s also a common way to hurt or even kill your plants.
While people understandably want to make sure their plants get enough water, those good intentions often cause them to overwater. And while they know that under watering a plant is bad for its health, they might not realize the damage done by overwatering. In a best-case scenario, the plant looks unhealthy and droops or wilts as root rot sets in. But in many cases, the roots literally drown in too much water and the plant dies.
Caring for a plant means more than making sure it has water. It needs the right amount of water, delivered at the right interval. Want to do right by your plant? Here are methods to avoid and one that will ensure you take care of your plant, no matter what type you choose.
What Doesn’t Work
Finger test. It’s a common method, but also inaccurate and often dangerous. Sticking your finger in a plant’s soil to determine whether it needs water is common, but certainly not the best way to keep your plant alive and thriving. Our fingers are not designed to be accurate soil moisture tools. You can tell if it’s damp or bone dry, but in between are a host of moisture levels that will determine if your plant needs watering. Also, your fingers don’t usually reach down to the roots, where the plant draws its nutrients and is in jeopardy of rot or drowning. There are better ways to check for moisture.
Rigid schedule. In our busy lives, it can be hard to make time to check everything around the house as necessary, so we make schedules for routine chores and maintenance. That can include watering your plants, but if it’s too rigid, it can carry risks to their health.
Plants are living things, of course, and they all have variables that can affect when they needs water. Your plant’s age, height, and overall health will all play a role, as well as the current season, the climate in which it lives and the sunlight it receives. Any schedule needs enough flexibility to take these changes into account, so adjustments can be made to keep your plant in optimal health.
What Does Work
Know your plant. Knowing the special needs of the plant you choose is essential to making sure it’s watered properly. When you buy from Plantz, we make sure you have all the knowledge and tools to give your plant a great head start. You can also supplement with your own research and understanding the differences between your plants will help ensure they all receive the proper care and attention.
Different plants also react differently to overwatering. While it’s never a good thing, some plants are more sensitive than others. Knowing the impact that overwatering has on that particular plant will help guard against making that mistake.
Know the environment. Knowing your plant includes knowing the circumstances in which it lives. As previously mentioned, temperature, climate and sunlight can have an impact on water needs, so recognizing when those factors change (perhaps as seasons change, depending on where you live) will help you water properly. The more variables you consider, the better the watering schedule and the healthier the plant. You’ll also be less likely to underwater or overwater.
Look for changes. While a plant can’t tell you when it receives too much water, it can show you. It’s always a good idea to recognize the physical signs of overwatering and inspect your plant for signs of damage. You might see discolorations as cells burst, or leaves turning brown and wilting. Unfortunately, the latter can also be signs of underwatering, so plant parents might mistakenly make the situation worse if they misinterpret the signs. Again, knowing your plant and how much water it normally needs is key.
What Always Works: Soil Sleuth
For fast, accurate information to ensure you’re only watering, when necessary, we recommend the Soil Sleuth, which you can get right here at the Plantz website. The Soil Sleuth is an easy-to-use tool that can reach deep into the soil and let you evaluate moisture at five separate levels. Simply push it into the soil, turn, and bring it back up. The notches collect a small soil sample you can evaluate to gauge what the moisture level is like closer to the roots. It’s fast, accurate and actually aerates the soil as it works. It’s great for indoor and outdoor plants and is sturdy enough to work in whatever type of soil your plant uses.
Best of all, it takes the guesswork out of watering your plants. You get a real-time evaluation of the moisture each time you use it. Knowing your plant’s unique needs and using a tool like the Soil Sleuth will eliminate the common problem of overwatering.
If you have more questions about watering plants or other topics, we’re here to help. Just use our contact page for a prompt response.