10 main rules for watering indoor plants
For any indoor plant, the correctness or incorrectness of care is almost always associated with the quality of watering. The ability to find a balance, to approach the process of moistening the soil reasonably, not to go to extremes and to “listen” to plants is the main rule of correct watering. But not the only one. After all, finding a middle ground between scarce and excessive watering is not at all easy. The basic rules for watering indoor plants will avoid basic mistakes with this important procedure. Get to know them better.
1. Quality watering begins with water quality
Indoor plants should not be watered with water with unverified characteristics, especially tap water, not settled, cold or hot. The water temperature should correspond to the air temperature in the room. It must be defended before watering for at least 2-3 days.
Ideal - melt, rain (subject to a favorable environmental situation) or filtered "drinking" water. Indoor plants should not be poured with boiled water (with rare exceptions), and mineralization is generally strictly prohibited. Distilled water may be needed for individual plants.
2. Watering should be carried out only when they are necessary.
Checking the degree of drying of the substrate and control of the rate of moisture consumption by the plant at different stages of development will help to avoid gross irrigation errors. Whatever the standard recommendations, you need to judge the need for watering only by soil.
Before embarking on a watering can, it is worth checking whether the plant needs watering:
- Check the humidity of the upper layer of the substrate (superficially and at a depth of 1 to 2 cm, slightly rubbing the ground between the fingers;
- Compare whether the pot has become easier (the weight of the pot before and after watering is significantly different).
3. No watering immediately for everyone!
Allocating a certain day / days of the week for irrigation and watering all plants indiscriminately at one time is the biggest mistake. So, of course, more convenient. But indoor plants are all different, and it is also worth watering them at different times.
Indoor plants can be grouped according to the degree of hydrophilicity (hydrophilic, moderately hydrophilic or drought tolerant) and even by origin (desert, subtropical, tropical). But it’s better to check the individual recommendations of the variety and species and make a schedule for each plant.
A good strategy is to keep simple records or tables or use tags and tags on pots with information about:
- how often and plentifully need to water the plant at different stages of development;
- how much water can be left in pallets;
- what should be the water.
Always highlight with special “markers” plants that are watered through pallets, in a wick way, pouring water into the funnels of leaves, or by immersion.
4. Extremes are unacceptable
Drought and waterlogging are two poles in identifying irrigation watering. And both are considered unacceptable. The substrate for no indoor plants should not be wet in the upper 2-3 cm longer than a few minutes after watering.
Even for hygrophilous species, it is necessary to allow the top layer of the substrate to dry before the next watering. And for drought-tolerant and requiring minimal watering plants, you should not bring the matter to complete drying of the substrate at the bottom of the pot (except for bulbous and tuberous plants that can withstand dry cacti wintering in full dryness).
Emergency situations, including departures, occur at all growers. But if regular care is careless, to allow constant overflows or to underfill plants, then you should not expect health and beauty from them.
In irrigation of indoor plants, one rule always works: a little topping is always better than going too far with the amount of water.
5. Frequency and abundance of irrigation are equally important
Watering is frequent (daily or every other day), medium or moderately frequent (after 2-3 days) and rare (not more than once a week). But besides the frequency for all indoor plants, the quality of soil wetting is also important.
How much the substrate will be saturated with water - the abundance of irrigation - is determined by several upper centimeters of soil. Abundant or generous watering immediately makes the soil very wet, after a couple of minutes moist, and only after some time wet.
With standard moderate irrigation, the soil is never wet: after sputum, it should become evenly moist after a couple of minutes. And light irrigation - those in which the soil with a little moist immediately becomes wet.
The degree of humidity is determined tactilely:
- wet soil “drips”; when the substrate is compressed, drops of water appear;
- damp soil easily creases and sticks;
- wet rolls, wrinkles, but does not stick to the hand;
- dry - crumbles when squeezed.
Any watering is considered correct only when the amount of water allows you to soak the entire earthen lump evenly, to the very lowest layers - so that a little water is not released from the drainage holes immediately, but some time after watering.
Drainage too fast or lack of water in the sump, indicating waterproofness or inability to hold water with the substrate, are equally undesirable.
For high-quality watering, it is better to divide the water into several runs and observe the impregnation of an earthen coma, giving the water a chance not to spill immediately, but evenly distribute.
6. Jet dispersion and accuracy - the best watering strategy
It is impossible to water in one place with a strong stream of water, which compacts and erodes the substrate. For watering, it is advisable to use convenient, specially designed for indoor plants watering cans with dispersing nozzles. Water should be directed along the perimeter of the pot, low, avoiding the formation of pits, slowly, without "puddles" and water accumulation over the soil.
Particular attention should be paid to accuracy: not all indoor plants are sensitive to getting wet, but none will thank you with decorativeness when carelessly watered. Water should not be directed to the trunks and under the roots, to the root necks and growth points, soak and spray the leaves.
If there are signs of soil compaction, corking, poor soil penetration, immediately loosen the soil. If heavily soiled or moldy, change the topsoil.
7. Watering should not be carried out at the height of the day
Indoor plants are best watered in the early morning or evening in the warm season and only in the early morning in the cold seasons. Watering can not be carried out in direct sunlight at the height of the day.
8. Water must not stagnate in pallets
Even for plants requiring immersion or watering through a pallet, the time for which water should be left in an external container should be limited. With the classic top watering, any remaining water in the pallets should be drained after 5-8 minutes.
Even 10 minutes of stagnation of water in the lower part of the substrate and supersaturation of drainage water can lead to the beginning of negative processes for species sensitive to rot.
9. Irrigation correction at the slightest change
Watering is rarely possible with a steady frequency. If the weather is hot, heating works stronger, air humidity drops, the plant is actively developing, watering needs to be increased. But not in abundance, but in frequency, compensating for all factors.
It should always be remembered that other numerous factors influence the irrigation schedule:
- pot size (the larger the container, the less watering should be);
- pot materials (plants in ceramic containers are watered more abundantly);
- size and density of leaves;
- the location in the room and the frequency of airing;
- air humidity level;
- the degree of substrate filling with roots;
- drafts, etc.
10. Using smart assistants
Today, both low-cost and elite systems have been developed for indoor plants to avoid difficulties with watering. The simplest and most affordable indicators, flasks for automatic irrigation, double-walled containers, and hydroponics installations will reduce watering efforts to a minimum.
Even a simple indicator of the moisture level eliminates the need to constantly check the soil by touch. And if there are difficulties with determining whether a plant needs watering or is it better to wait, be sure to get such smart helpers.