Greening your home is most definitely on-trend in terms of interior design concepts. But there are other reasons to have pot plants in your home. They are said to remove pollutants from the air, reduce stress, and encourage creativity. But if you don’t have green fingers, are you going to be able to keep your gorgeous houseplants alive?
The most common way we get it wrong with our houseplants is watering, well, overwatering. All it takes to kick this bad habit is a little knowledge about your plants and what their watering needs are. Unfortunately, the symptoms for underwatered plants is the same for overwatered plants which can result in additional water being applied to already overwatered pots.
You also need to consider the container your plant is in, the weather, the season, and where you’ve placed it in your home. Because each plant will need different care, you’ll have to adapt how you water each one.
This article looks at the general watering needs of pot plants and the importance of your plant roots to have access to oxygen.
A little research goes a long way
Some plants will wish they were in a rain forest while some won’t need watering for weeks, and others will be somewhere in the middle. Chat to your local nursery staff or do some googling to find out what each of your pot plants water requirements are.
Remember that your container, how much sun and light your plant gets, the indoor temperature and humidity, will all play a role in how much watering you need to do. Also, if your plant is in a dormant or growth phase, its water needs may change.
Generally, when the soil feels dry to the touch, it’s time for watering—test by sticking your finger in the soil up to your knuckle. And if your plant’s leaves are wilting. Just make sure your plant’s not saying it’s overwatered. Also, try not to wet the leaves too much as this can encourage disease and fungus. If you water in the morning, leaves will have time to dry out.
Of course, during spring and summer, you will most likely need to water more than autumn and winter, when the plant is in a dormant phase.
Tips for watering your house plants
Water from below
Watering from the bottom is a more uniform way to water your plants, and your chances of overwatering are reduced. Also, you’re less likely to drain the nutrients out of the soil and ensure the roots are watered. Guaranteeing roots are watered when watering from the top is much trickier. To remove excess salts from the soil, topwater your bottom-watered plants once a month.
How to water from below?
- Put a saucer with freshwater underneath the pot. Let it soak over a few hours, and then empty the saucer.
- Soak your plants in a large tray in a larger container, like a sink or even your bath. You can water many at the same time this way.
- Buy self-watering pots. These have water reservoirs that you fill. These will save you time, and the plant draws the water as needed, doing your work for you.
You can place a layer of pebbles or gravel on top of your soil to help slow down evaporation.
For dry pot plants
Because plants like cacti, succulents, and some others like dry soil, you don’t need to water them as much. Once or twice a month will be fine.
For moist pot plants
For plants that prefer more moist soil, manage the water requirement by shortening the intervals that you give water in, instead of increasing the amount of water you give at each interval. Plants that are sensitive to dry soils will want water the day after their soil is dry.
Aerate the soil
Oxygen to your roots is even more important than water. Plant roots are similar to humans in that they can survive without water for far longer than they can survive without oxygen. When we apply water to our pots, we displace the air in the soil and reduce the amount of oxygen to the roots. If the soils in our pots stay waterlogged for too long, then the plants roots die and will in most cases result in the plant following suit. Remember that it is always easier to add more water than trying remove water from an overwatered plant.
Watch and learn
When watering your plant, add enough water to come out of the drain hole in your pot. You’ll find that arid soil won’t absorb the water well. It will instead run out the bottom very quickly. Try to rather water plants in this soil slowly so that the soil can absorb the water.
If you find the soil has dried up so much that there is a gap between the pot and the soil, push it back into place, so the water doesn’t just run down the sides. That means the roots will be getting wet, and salts are being flushed out.
Make sure your plants aren’t sitting in their water too long. Always check after about 30 minutes and pour out any lingering water. Sitting in water for long periods can lead to rotting roots and the plant absorbing salts back up. They want just the correct amount. If you don’t have drain holes, check your plant after about 30 minutes and pour out any water that’s just sitting on the soil surface.
The importance of adding oxygen
It’s vital that your plants’ roots have adequate oxygen for an overall healthy condition and the nutrient uptake they need. Oxygen helps contribute to healthier roots which means they become better at resisting plant pathogens. Also, oxygen content has a noticeable impact on how your plants develop, from foliage growth to the development of the roots.
Another reason oxygenation is so crucial is for the respiration of plant cells. Oxygen makes respiration more efficient. And although plant cells are always respiring, when they can’t access light, they take in more oxygen than they create.
Unfortunately, understanding and regulating your plants water and oxygen requirements can be very tricky. But by using BIOGROW’s Integrate product solution you will be afforded far bigger room to maneuver. Integrate not only retains water in the root zone but also encapsulates oxygen at the same time making it available for the plants. This ensures that new healthy roots can be established to enable your plants to flourish. Integrate will reduce your plants water requirement by up to 50%, reduce leaching of water from the rootzone and increase oxygen levels in your soil.
Applying balanced nutrient feeds such as Biotrissol and Seabrix is also made more effective when used in combination with Integrate as the nutrients are held in the rootzone and not leached through your soil.