The ultimate conundrum: watering.
How much? How often? When?
Full disclosure – and I’m going to have to swear you to secrecy – I, too, have killed my fair share of plants. A shocking revelation to most my friends, who consider that to be the cardinal sin for a 3rd generation flower farmer. But, in the inevitable ill fate of plants that make their way to my office, their downfall is unequivocally due to underwatering. Work and life get in the way and, in the meantime, my plants wither away.
On the other end of the spectrum, are those that love their plants a little bit too much and end up unintentionally drowning them. So how do we find the happy medium? I would like to tell you there are hard-and-fast rules to follow, in order to ensure success. But the truth of the matter is that there’s no absolute truth, which can be infuriating for someone who revels in things being black and white. But fret not, the gray area is altogether more forgiving. And it gives way to several rules of thumb that should address all your watering woes. So, without further ado, tip and tricks amassed from years of trials and tribulations:
Tip 1: The first rule of thumb is to literally use your thumb. When stuck into the soil, it should feel evenly saturated. If you feel a dry spot, it’s time to water again.
Tip 2: Water early in the morning and avoid wetting the leaves as this can cause the spread of disease. Particularly hot days may require additional watering throughout the day.
Tip 3: For plants in containers, use pots with drainage holes. Otherwise you will have to be very careful that you are not waterlogging your plants since it has no outlet. In pots with drainage, water until it begins seeping out the bottom.
Tip 4: Take the environment into account, both the current one and the plant’s natural habitat. If your plants get rainfall, you will likely not need to water it. In the heat of the summer, you will need to increase your watering frequency and possibly the amount. And when in doubt, think of where your plant calls home. Is it native to the rainforest? Then it will need lots of water. Does it hail from the desert? Then water sparingly.
Tip 5: For the forgetful folks (à la yours truly), there are helpful apps that allow you to set watering reminders and are chock-full of information about every plant under the sun.
Hopefully these tips do the trick!