How to water your indoor plants the right way
and spend less time doing it. Everything you need to know about indoor plant watering!
Pre-requisite: make sure the plant's pot has drainage holes at the bottom to avoid damp that can create root rot.
Water from Below.
Watering from below is best. Although watering from above is still the usual way people water their plants, watering from underneath is more homogeneous, less prone to overwatering and there is no concern of draining nutrients out. Plus, you can be sure that the water does actually get to the roots.
3 techniques to water your plant from below
Use a saucer. Place a saucer underneath the pot and fill the saucer with fresh water when it's time to water. Let it soak during several hours. Empty the saucer and let the remaining water drip out. This technique is widely used by garden centers and plant nurseries to maintain humidity and keep nutrients.
Soak your plants in a tray, in a large container, in the sink or in the bathtub. Fill the bottom of it with a few centimeters of fresh water. Place you plant pots in and let them absorb water for a couple of hours. Advantage: you can water several plants at the same time. Let them dry before placing them back.
Self-watering pots. Self-watering pots are incredibly useful and time-saving. No more over-watering or under-watering, the plant does it all for itself. You just need to refill the water reservoir before it's empty, which is approximately every other month (but varies case by case).
When you are away or on holidays.
The garden twine technique
The damp towel technique
Find a full description of these techniques in the next article, Plants vs. Holidays
other watering TIPS.
Use clay pebbles to retain moisture. You can lay water-retaining clay pebbles (or regular pebbles or even gravels) as a top layer above the soil to slow down evaporation. These are easily found in a garden center or plant nursery, as well as online.
"Is soil moist?" To know if the soil is still moist inside, stick a finger (or a toothpick) in the top 2 cm (1 inch) of soil. If the soil sticks to it, it's moist.
"Is soil dry?" To know if the soil is dry, look at the edge of the soil. If there is a visible gap between the soil and the edge of the pot, it means that all the water evaporated out.
And last, but not the least, do water more often during the warmer months of summer.
Cacti & Succulents : Keep soil dry.
Cacti and succulents: keep the soil dry, PLEASE. Many people, including me, killed their succulent by overwatering it. Water approximately once a month and make sure that all the water is well drained out of the pot through the drainage holes. My first casualty was a succulent that I drowned. I wish I knew at that time that succulents prefer dry and well-drained soil, like cacti. So, don't water them as frequently as the other houseplants. Aloe Vera and Echeveria are among the most famous types of succulents, and therefore are no exception to this rule.
KNOW YOUR PLANT.
Know your plant's water preferences. Again, there are 2 types of houseplants: the Dry type and the Moist type. Members of the dry type are cacti, succulents (such as Aloe Vera or Echeveria for the most famous) and several others species (Zeezee plant, Snake plant, Dumb Cane, Rubber plant, etc.). They enjoy dry soil so no need to water them as much as the others. Watering once or twice a month can be enough, depending on the temperature of the room. I repeat this advice throughout the blog because overwatering is one of the main causes for houseplants to die.
The Moist type: once the soil gets dry, they like to be watered in the next days. Most tropical plants behave like this.
The Dry type: they can thrive on dry soil during longer periods. They're easier to care for and perfect for beginners.
And now, time to go on holidays!
BUT wait, what about the plants?
See holiday check-list and tips in next blog post.