It may sound like the most simple task, but in reality, watering plants has a lot of aspects that need to be taken into account. You must consider the type of water you’re using, the time of the day you’ll be watering them, the kind of pot, the different types of soil, and, of course, the specific requirements of your plants.
So for your convenience, we will take a look at all those important factors so you can give your plants the best possible life.
What kind of water to use for your indoor plants?
Most people don’t pay that much attention to the water they use for their plants, but it’s actually quite important. There are several factors to keep in mind like the level of pH and the contents of the water. When it comes to pH levels, we recommend aiming for neutral, which are from 6,5 to 7,5. You can use a simple test kit to determine those levels quickly.
The most simple question you can ask yourself is, would you drink this water? If the answer is no, then why would you give it to your plants? They are more sensitive than people think, and using the wrong water might have disastrous consequences. It’s also important to use room temperature water so you don’t burn or freeze them by accident.
So what should you use to water your indoor plants? Here are all the options:
This is the most common choice when it comes to watering plants. It’s right there waiting for you. However, tap water is also the most dangerous option because it can contain harmful minerals, especially if you live in a hard water area. And if you’re thinking, okay, then why not use softened water? Also not an option because of the added salts. So basically, if you use tap water, it will be easy for you, but you will probably damage your plants to the point where they won’t be able to recover.
Logically, if tap water it’s not good, just purify it, right? Well, that is also not recommended because even if it doesn’t harm your green babies, it would also be utterly useless for them. Distilled water is stripped from both it’s beneficial nutrients and harmful minerals, so it really doesn’t do anything. You can use it when you don’t have access to other sources, and you need to water them.
Now, this is precisely what your green children need. Melted snow, not the yellow one, and rainwater have all the nutrients to give your plants the best possible life. If you have a way to collect this water, certainly do so, and your plants will thank you for it with fast growth, beautiful blossoms and long life.
When is the best time to water plants?
This is a very often asked question, and the most common answer is early in the morning. Plants have these pores called stomata, that they use to take in water and that close during night time. So in the morning, those pores open back up, and the plant is ready to receive its dose of life.
Another thing is that the temperature in early mornings is moderate enough to give them the optimal conditions for absorbing the needed nutrients. In the night it might be too cold while watering them around noon, when it’s the hottest, might result in the water evaporating before they even get a taste for it.
How often to water your plants
This is where people make the most mistakes and end up killing their plant babies. The truth is, every plant has different watering requirements, and you should really do your research for the specific flora you’re looking after so that you do what’s best for them. However, there are other factors, as well, that can help you determine the frequency, and they are the following:
- The type of soil. There are many different types of soils, and each one of them has varying levels of drainage. Those with increased drainage will use up a lot of the water faster, so they have to be watered more frequently. However, clay soil, for example, is quite dense and holds up the moisture quite good.
- The type of pot they’re in. Bigger pots need more time to get dry because of all the soil they have in them while the smaller ones are, logically, just the opposite, and require more frequent watering.
- Your plant’s origin story. Depending on the nature and home area of your plant, you will see that some of them prefer to be constantly moist, while others prefer to wait between waterings so that the soil is thoroughly dry.
- The age of your plant. Older plants and the ones that are pretty rich in the leaf department usually require a lot more water, mostly because they are bigger.
How to water potted plants properly
Before quenching the thirst of your potted plants, you have to check if they actually need water. The best way to do it is by using your finger. Just stick it in the soil knuckles deep, and if it feels dry and sad, then it’s time to water the plant. If the soil is still moist, then the time is yet to come, and you should wait a bit more.
So if it’s time to water them, how to do it exactly? There are two main ways – bottom-up watering and top-down, so now we will take a look at both so you can decide which is better for your situation.
As the name suggests, with this method, you pour the water either in the saucer of the pot, or you use a reservoir in order to water multiple plants. It’s quite popular since it feeds the roots directly, but it’s not really recommended for plants that prefer to have their soil dried out in between waterings. If you put the water in the saucer, you just have to keep filling it until the soil stops taking in the water. Dump the rest and leave it be. If you’re using a container to water multiple pots at once, do it only with plants that like having moist soil all the time and their leaves dry.
This method is the one maybe 90% of plant newcomers tend to use. However, at least 70% of those actually do it wrong and end up killing their plants. Top-down watering it’s just about pouring some water in your plant’s pot and leaving it there to ponder. Each flower needs a different amount of water, and you have to be careful not to mix them up. You can put little stickers on each pot to remember how much to put there. Do it slowly and wait that the water reaches the bottom of the pot and water starts leaking from there. When about 10% of the water has leaked, you can stop pouring it, throw away the one in the saucer and leave your plant. When watering, go around the plant so that the soil gets equally moist and your plant doesn’t dry out.
Are you watering your plants the right amount?
We’ve mentioned a few times already that it’s imperative not to overwater or underwater the plants and that you have to get to know each kind and its needs to avoid this. However, there are some common signs that you can watch out for to see if you’re giving your plant too much water, or not enough. It’s important to mention that for plants, it’s way easier to bounce back to life if they have been underfed for a longer time. However, if you’ve consistently overwatered them, root rot has probably settled in, and there is no chance for your green child to make it. In summary, like everything else in life, balance is extremely important, and we will help you find it. At least when it comes to watering plants.
So here are the main signs you should look out for:
Signs of overwatering
- Brown, mushy leaves;
- Falling leaves turned yellow;
- Root rot;
- Wilting with wet soil;
- Slow growth;
- Growths on the leaves that look like warts.
Signs of underwatering
- Brittly, dry leaves and leaf tips;
- Curled leaves;
- Slow growing and small leaves;
- Wilting with dry soil
Author bio: Samantha is a Content Creator Coordinator at Paul’s Mowing Melbourne and a gardening expert who loves sharing their experience with the world.. She loves writing, gardening, and travelling. She adores the ocean, good music, her dog and, of course, her two children.