To Water, or Not to Water
You may find yourself questioning whether you are giving your plants the correct amount of water. You find yourself thinking; How do I water my houseplants? Is this enough water? Is this too much water? What is moist soil like? What is dry soil like?
These are all valid and very common questions when it comes to watering your plants. Here at Grande Plants we want everyone to be a watering expert, so you can keep your plants healthy and thriving.
Soil Conditions and Signs
The tell tale sign of when to water is by looking at and feeling the soil. Dry soil is characterized by a light brown color and its crumbly, loose nature. On the contrary, wet/moist soil is darker in color, moldable and will stick to your hand.
When in doubt, dry it out! For the vast majority of plants being a little bit underwatered is not detrimental to the health of the plant. Allowing soil to dry out between waterings is a good way to keep the roots in an ideal environment.
You'll know when your plant is underwatered by looking at the leaves and the soil. Underwatering is normally characterized by brown, wilting leaves with a crispy texture. If you find yourself with an underwatered plant, thoroughly water until it drains from the bottom, wait a few seconds and give it another small soaking. This ensures that the water doesn't just go right through the pot and actually gets soaked into the soil for the plant to take up.
Overwatering kills!! The number one cause of plants dying is from overwatering. You'll know when your plant is getting too much water by how it looks and how it feels. Overwatered plants are characterized by a few different things, but all combined at once. If your plants leaves are yellowing and mushy to the touch you're looking at a plant who is slowly drowning. This is very much not ideal for the plant as it is suffering from a lack of oxygen, which leads to the death of roots and promotion of harmful fungus'. This will cause root rot and your plant will soon perish.
If you're in the position where you see this happening to your plant, heres a tip. Let the soil dry out almost completely, then thoroughly water until it comes out of the bottom drainage hole. To make sure you're not overwatering follow these next watering guides below!
Methods of Watering
There are three main methods of watering your plants. Choose your watering style based upon on your plant and the environmental conditions it needs to thrive.
1. Watering from underneath
Bottom watering is a very common practice. It is very simple, you place your plant in a saucer or bowl with water and just wait for it to soak up. It can be very fun to make timelapses of the process and watch the water be soaked up. The benefits of watering from the bottom of your pot greatly outweigh the drawbacks. Benefits include strong roots due to growing directly down to get water, avoiding overwatering by letting the plants take as much as they need, keeps the soil uniformly moist and avoids discoloring leaves. The only drawback is built up salts, but if you use filtered water this shouldn't happen. Be sure to not leave your plant standing in water for too long though as this can lead to too much moisture.
2. Watering frequently, with little amounts of water
This method is best for the plants who need constantly moist soil.
3. Letting the soil dry out in between waterings
This method is most popular because it is the safest way to water. By watering this way you are letting the roots dry out a little bit instead of being in constant moisture, which as I said before is a breeding ground for harmful fungus. Follow the guide below to know when to water and be sure to water thoroughly when you do!
Watering Guide by Pot Size
Sticking your finger in the top layer of soil is one of the best ways to gauge its moisture. The plant and the pot size will determine how far you will stick your finger down. Here is a quick guide of pot sizes and the corresponding amount of inches you should stick your finger in the soil. *Remember that not all plants are alike and many have specific needs. This is a general guideline, but I encourage you to research the plants that you have so they can thrive!*
If your pot is 4" you should wait until the top 1/2 inch of soil is dry to water.
If your pot is 6" you should wait until the top inch of soil is dry to water.
If your pot is 8" to 10" you should wait until the top 2 inches of soil is dry to water.
If your pot is 12" to 14" you should wait until the top 2-3 inches of soil is dry to water.
By now you should be an expert in watering your plants! Subscribe to receive more plant care tips in the future!