How to Properly Water Your Plants
Are you a new plant parent trying to learn the ropes? Or maybe you’ve been around the block with a few plants and are convinced you have a black thumb. If you’re just starting out or want to become a better plant parent, one of the most important things you need to know is how to properly water your plants. Watering is a vital part of plant care, and it can be the difference between a thriving plant and a wilted one. In this blog post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about watering your plants, from the importance of proper watering to the best ways to water indoor and outdoor plants. So, grab your watering can and let’s go!
The Importance of Watering Your Plant Properly
Watering your plants properly is critical for their survival. Plants, like humans, need water to survive, but too much or too little water can be harmful to them, again just like humans. Overwatering can cause root rot, which can be deadly to your plants. On the other hand, underwatering can cause wilting, yellowing of leaves, and even death. Understanding your plants’ needs and ensuring you are using proper watering techniques is necessary to keep your plants healthy and happy.
One of the most important things to remember when watering your plants is that not all plants have the same needs. Some plants, such as succulents and cacti, require less water than other plants. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand your plant’s specific watering needs before you start trying to quench its thirst. Of course, there are tools that will help you take the guess work out watering your plants. If learning how to tell naturally whether your plants are thirsty, never fear, PLANTZ’s Soil Sleuth is the perfect way to take the guesswork out of your plants’ thirst level.
The Best Ways to Properly Water Your Plant
Now that we know why proper watering is essential, let’s dive into the best ways to water your plants. The following are some of the best practices for watering your plants:
- Water Where the Roots Are: When watering your plants, it’s essential to water where the roots are. Most plants have roots that are concentrated near the base of the plant, so it’s important to water there. Avoid watering the foliage, as this can lead to fungal diseases and other issues.
- Check the Soil Before Watering: Before watering your plants, it’s essential to check the soil’s moisture level. Most people will tell you to stick your finger into the soil about an inch deep. If it’s dry, then it’s time to water. If it’s still moist, wait a few days before checking again. That process really isn’t that accurate and can lead to overwatering, which can be just as harmful to your plants as underwatering. This is where the Soil Sleuth becomes an essential tool.
- Water in the Morning: Watering in the morning is the best time to water your plants. The temperature is cooler, and the soil has time to absorb the water before the sun comes up. Watering in the afternoon can lead to evaporation, and watering at night can lead to fungal growth.
- Water Slowly: Water your plants slowly, allowing the water to soak into the soil. If you water too quickly, the water will run off and not penetrate the soil. Watering slowly also helps to avoid disturbing the soil and the plant’s roots.
- Make Every Drop Count: Make every drop count when watering your plants. Don’t waste water by watering areas where it’s not needed. Instead, focus on watering the roots of the plant, where the water is needed most.
- Don’t Overwater: Overwatering can be just as harmful as underwatering. Too much water can lead to root rot, which can be deadly to your plants. Remember to check the soil’s moisture level with a Soil Sleuth from PLANTZ before watering and only water when the soil is dry.
- Don’t Let Them Go Dry: On the other hand, letting your plants go dry for too long can be harmful as well. It’s important to water your plants when they need it to keep them healthy and happy. Again, not all plants need to be kept moist. Make sure you learn your plants’ preferences before you opt to “forget about” your plant.
- Use Mulch to Conserve Moisture: Using mulch around your plants can help to conserve moisture and prevent the soil from drying out too quickly. Mulch also helps to regulate the soil temperature, keeping it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
The Dos and Don’ts of Watering Plants
Outdoor plants and indoor plants are not living the same lives. Outdoor plants are constantly exposed to the elements, while indoor plants have access to temperature controls and artificial light. Read on for some dos and don’ts of watering plants for both outdoor and indoor plants.
- DO hydrate plants in the Morning: As mentioned earlier, the best time to water outdoor plants is in the morning. Due to their exposure to the elements, watering in the morning allows the plants to soak up the water they need to get through the day.
- DO water plants at soil level: When watering outdoor plants, water at soil level, right at the base of the plant. This ensures that the water soaks into the ground and goes directly to the roots and doesn’t just run off the surface of the soil.
- DO water outdoor container plants at least once per day: Container plants need more frequent watering than plants in the ground, especially during hot weather. Water outdoor container plants at least once per day and check the soil often to ensure that it stays moist.
- DO use a wand to water container plants: A wand is a great tool for watering container plants. It allows you to water at soil level, right at the base of the plant, and helps ensure that the water goes directly to the roots.
- DO check the soil’s moisture level: Before watering outdoor plants, check the soil ‘s moisture level to ensure that you’re not over or underwatering. As we mentioned earlier, sticking your finger about an inch into the soil is not really an effective way to determine your plants moisture level. Using a Soil Sleuth is a simple and quite effective way to check the moisture level. By checking the soil’s moisture level regularly, you can adjust your watering schedule to meet your plants’ needs and promote healthy growth.
- DON’T water too frequently – or not frequently enough: As we mentioned earlier, finding the right balance between watering too frequently and not frequently enough is crucial for plant health. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases, while underwatering can cause the plant to wilt and eventually die. Be sure to check the soil’s moisture level regularly and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
- DON’T use broadcast sprinklers: Broadcast sprinklers can be wasteful and inefficient when it comes to watering outdoor plants. They can also increase the risk of fungal growth and disease, as they water from above and can leave leaves and flowers damp. Instead, opt for a drip irrigation system or hand-watering with a watering can.
- DON’T forget that trees need water, too: It’s easy to forget about watering trees, especially if they’re well-established, but they still need water to thrive. Young trees, in particular, need regular watering to help establish their root systems. When watering trees, it’s best to water slowly and deeply to encourage deep root growth.
- DON’T water container plants with a jet-type spray nozzle: When watering outdoor container plants, it’s important to avoid using a jet-type spray nozzle. These can be too forceful and can damage the plants. Instead, use a watering can or a hose with a gentle spray nozzle to avoid soil erosion and damage to the plants.
- DON’T rely on rain: While rain can provide some water for outdoor plants, it’s not always reliable. Depending on your location and the time of year, you may experience droughts or periods of heavy rain. It’s essential to monitor your plants’ soil moisture level and supplement with watering as needed.
As you can see, proper watering is essential for the health and growth of outdoor plants. By following these dos and don’ts, you can help ensure that your plants thrive and flourish. Remember to check the soil’s moisture level regularly, water at soil level, and avoid over or underwatering. With a little attention and care, you can be a successful plant parent with a green thumb and enjoy a beautiful outdoor garden.
Indoor plants are different beasts. Over or underwatering can cause a variety of problems, including root rot, wilting, stunted growth, and may even create a happy habitat for pests. Let’s take a look at some dos and don’ts of watering indoor plants, so you can keep your green babies lush and happy.
- DO use a watering can for houseplants: When it comes to watering indoor plants, a watering can is your best friend. It helps you to control the flow of water and target the soil without getting water all over your furniture and floors. It’s also more efficient than using a cup or glass to water your plants, which can be messy and time-consuming.
- DO choose the right soil: Choosing the right soil medium is critical for the health of your indoor plants. A high-quality potting mix that’s designed for indoor plants will provide the nutrients and drainage they need to thrive. Avoid using soil from your garden or yard, as it can contain pests and diseases that can harm your plants. Keep in mind that different plants flourish in different types of soil. Standard indoor plant soil may not be right for succulents or cacti, while your popular aroids (for example, philodendron, aglaonema, and monstera) will benefit from a chunkier, well-draining soil. Read up on your plants’ soil needs and pot accordingly.
- DO invest in a soil moisture gauge: A soil moisture gauge, like the PLANTZ Soil Sleuth, is an inexpensive tool that can help you determine when your plants need watering. It measures the moisture level of the soil, so you can avoid over or underwatering. If you don’t have a soil moisture gauge, you can also stick your finger about an inch into the soil to check the moisture level, but this method is not advisable as it is rather inaccurate.
- DO water less in winter and more in spring: The amount of water your indoor plants need depends on the time of year and the conditions in your home. In the winter, when the air is drier and cooler, plants typically require less water. In the spring and summer, however, plants get very thirsty! When temperatures and humidity levels increase, plants will need more frequent watering. Keep an eye on your plants and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.
- DO wick your plants while you’re away: If you’re going to be away from home for an extended period, wicking your plants can help ensure that they stay hydrated. To do this, fill a container with water and place it next to your plants. Then, insert a wick (such as a piece of cotton rope) into the container and drape the other end over the edge of the container and into the soil. The soil will absorb the water through the wick, keeping your plants hydrated while you’re away. If this sounds too complicated for you, let PLANTZ do the system set up with their PlantAssure Sub-Irrigation System.
- DON’T water houseplants with treated, softened water: Water that has been treated with a water softener or contains high levels of minerals (such as from a well) can be harmful to your indoor plants. These minerals can accumulate in the soil, causing root damage and nutrient imbalances. If you have no choice but to use softened or well water, consider investing in a reverse osmosis filter or use distilled water for your plants.
- DON’T use a potting mix that’s too water-retentive: While it’s important to choose a potting mix that provides adequate drainage, using a mix that’s too water-retentive can lead to overwatering and root rot. Look for a potting mix that’s designed for indoor plants and provides a good balance of moisture retention and drainage.
- DON’T put houseplants in pots that don’t have drainage holes: One of the most common mistakes new plant parents make is putting their indoor plants in pots that don’t have drainage holes. Without proper drainage, excess water can accumulate in the soil, leading to root rot and other problems. Always choose pots with drainage holes or drill your own if necessary.
- DON’T forget to dump the water collection tray: When you water your indoor plants, excess water will drain into the collection tray underneath the pot. It’s essential to dump this water regularly, as it can become stagnant and create a breeding ground for pests and diseases. If left unattended, it can also cause the soil to become waterlogged, leading to root rot. So be sure to check the collection tray after watering and dump any excess water.
- DON’T overwater: Perhaps the most crucial rule of watering indoor plants is not to overwater them. Overwatering can lead to root rot, which can be devastating to your plant (and to you!) and is difficult to reverse. Remember, it’s better to underwater than overwater your plants. If you’re unsure whether your plant needs water, use a soil moisture gauge like the Soil Sleuth to check the moisture level.
By using these dos and don’ts as a guide, you can ensure that your indoor green babies receive the right amount of water and stay happy and healthy. As with outdoor plants, remember to choose the right soil, invest in a soil moisture gauge, and use a watering can for precise watering. And most importantly, don’t overwater your plants! With a little bit of love and attention, you can enjoy thriving, beautiful indoor plants for years to come.
Remember, watering plants is not a one size fits all scenario. Different plants use water at different rates, and it is important to be aware of how to properly water your plant. Our guide on the best ways to water your plants and the dos and don’ts for both indoor and outdoor plants are there to help you get your feet under you and ensure your plants remain lush and lively. If trying to keep tabs on your plants’ watering schedule is causing you to feel overwhelmed, invest in the Soil Sleuth and the PlantAssure Sub-Irrigation System from PLANTZ to take the guesswork out of watering your plants.
At PLANTZ, the mantra we believe in goes something like this:
Wet it. Let it dry down.
Wet it. Let it dry down.
Wet it. Let it dry down.
Wet it. Let it dry down.
We know this will work for you.
Are you ready to take the first step and become a plant parent? Check out the shop at PLANTZ and find the right plant for you! They offer a wide variety of plants at different sizes and have planters to go along with them. Choose the one that will work best in your available space. Shop online with PLANTZ today and Invest in a new plant best friend!
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If you’re a new plant parent, it’s normal to have questions and concerns about watering your plants. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions to help address some of the most common issues and provide you with additional information.
- How often should I water my plants?
The frequency of watering will depend on the plant’s specific needs and environmental conditions. Some plants require more water than others, while others prefer to be on the drier side. As a general rule, you should wait until the soil is dry to the touch before watering your plant, or better yet, get a more accurate reading by using a Soil Sleuth to help you determine if your plant is thirsty.
- Should I use tap water or filtered water for my plants?
Tap water is usually fine for most plants, but some may be sensitive to the chemicals and minerals present in tap water. If you’re concerned about the quality of your tap water, you can use filtered or distilled water instead.
- Can I water my plants with ice cubes?
While it may seem like a convenient way to water your plants, using ice cubes can actually be harmful. The cold temperature can shock the plant’s roots and cause damage. It’s best to use room temperature water instead.
- Is it better to water plants from the top or bottom?
It’s generally better to water plants from the bottom, as this allows the roots to absorb the water directly. However, some plants may benefit from overhead watering, especially those that require high humidity levels.
- Can I overwater my plants by using a self-watering system?
Self-watering systems can be a convenient way to water your plants, but it’s still possible to overwater them. Be sure to check the soil’s moisture level regularly and adjust the watering frequency as needed. One way to ensure your plants are always getting the water they need when they need it without being overwatered is with the PLANTZ PlantAssure Sub-Irrigation System.