The Basics of Gardening: Watering Schedules

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Planning a gardening watering routine for your indoor plants can sometimes be a challenge as many plants seem to be fickle about their water requirements. Most people, in response, seem to water their plants too much rather than not enough. Therefore, it’s good to keep the following tips in mind as you develop watering “schedules” for your particular plants.

Don’t Water Your Plants Too Much

Don’t defeat the purpose of watering by watering your plants too much. Many people tend to place all their plants on a schedule for watering without giving any thought to each plant’s specific watering requirements. Any plants you grow indoors or outdoors come from a variety of habitats. Therefore, watering should not be done on a prescribed day, at a set time, but should be undertaken when it’s necessary.

Check the Moisture Content of the Soil

Assess the moisture content of the soil of your plants on a regular basis. Check to see whether the soil is moist or dry by placing your index finger approximately an inch into the soil. Don’t wait until the leaves start to wilt to determine if your plants are in need of water. Inspect the soil every few days. If the top inch of the soil is dry, then you’ll need to add water.

Watering Plants

Once you’ve determined a plant needs watering, apply the water from the top and allow it to sprinkle down on the soil’s surface. Remove any water that runs out as excess into the plant’s saucer. If you don’t remove the water, especially if the soil is saturated, the air supply to the roots can become cut off, which can cause the roots to die. Likewise, if you allow the soil to become too dry, the soil can form a crust, which can also cut off the air supply to the plant’s roots. The best time to water plants is early morning. Don’t water them in direct sunlight as doing so can scorch the leaves.

Check the Water Temperature

Never use cold water when watering plants as this can shock their systems. Maintain the water at room temperature. If you use tap water, allow the water to sit for an hour before watering your plants to permit the chlorine to evaporate.

Salt Residue

The naturally occurring salt in tap water can build up on the soil and in the containers of plants. This can present a problem if you notice that your plants are not growing as they should, have droopy or wilted leaves or leaf tips that are brown. Unfortunately, too much salt in the soil from watering can draw water out of the roots of a plant and cause it to die. To stop this from happening, remove any of the white salt residue you see on the soil and pour a large volume of water through the affected dirt. Take the plant from the container, clean the container and repot the plant in new soil. Use distilled water and fertilize your plants less if salt becomes a persistent problem with respect to watering.

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