Watering Rules For Indoor Plants

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Watering Rules For Indoor Plants
Watering Rules For Indoor Plants

Video: Watering Rules For Indoor Plants

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Video: How to Water Indoor Plants: The Basics 2023, February

Watering is one of the most important factors affecting the growth and health of our green pets. After all, it is with watering that the plants receive the water necessary for their life, which carries them nutrients. Water takes part in photosynthesis and in all other metabolic processes of the plant. It is important to add enough water so that the plant does not experience a lack of moisture, but it is equally important not to overmoisten the earthen ball, which can lead to decay of the roots. Each plant has its own moisture requirements, and they can vary depending on the external conditions and the state of the plant itself. Often novice flower growers ask the same question: "How many times a week and how much water should the plant be watered?" There can be no definite answer to this question.


Watering frequency depends on many external factors:

Illumination. The brighter the light (according to the needs of a given plant, without going beyond the adaptive boundaries), the more intense the photosynthesis and the higher the growth rate, the higher the plant's need for moisture. Consequently, the clod dries out faster and the frequency of watering increases. If the plant does not have enough light, it stops growing, the need for water decreases, and it will have to be watered less often.

Ambient temperature. The warmer, the more intensively all life processes of the plant proceed, the higher the need for water. However, with the onset of heat at a temperature above 28 to C in many plants may be suspension of growth, the need for moisture at the same time can also be reduced. As the temperature drops below the optimum, the metabolic rate and intensity decrease, and with this the need for water - accordingly, fewer irrigations are required. At temperatures below the soil 10 about C roots of many indoor plants practically not able to consume water.

Composition and volume of soil. The larger the volume of the soil and the less its porosity, the longer it will dry out. It is very important to plant the plant in the optimal soil suited to the needs of the particular plant and to give no more volume than is necessary for normal growth. Only under such conditions will it be possible to correctly select the irrigation regime. If the earthen ball much exceeds the volume of the roots and the soil is very dense, this often leads to stagnant water and waterlogging.


Air humidity. The drier the air, the more the plant loses moisture through the leaves, the more it needs root moisture. In an atmosphere of humid air, evaporation is reduced.

Air exchange. With a strong air current, the leaves evaporate more moisture, and the watering needs increase.

Plant condition. If the plant is in a resting state, its need for water decreases. Before the dormant period, it is necessary to gradually reduce watering, and when leaving it, gradually increase it. In the case of disease (especially roots), the plant consumes less moisture.

These factors are very mobile, they can change not only from season to season, but literally within a few days, so it is necessary to be observant.

In order not to be mistaken with the frequency of watering, one should focus on the condition of the soil, the degree of its moisture.

The amount of watering depends on the same factors. It is advisable to add the minimum amount of water that will maintain the desired moisture content of the substrate and will not lead to overdrying and loss of turgor by the leaves. Excess water that has leaked into the sump after watering must be drained 15-30 minutes after watering. Poor and frequent watering is dangerous when the water does not reach all the roots - this can lead to drying out of the coma inside the pot and dehydration of the plant.

It is equally important to provide air access to the plant roots. If watering is so frequent and abundant that the pores of the soil are almost constantly filled with water, then the roots, in the absence of air, will not be able to absorb water, and very favorable conditions are created for root decay. Plants tolerate slight overdrying much easier than regular waterlogging.

When purchasing a plant, be sure to pay attention to its water needs at different periods of the annual cycle. It is useful to read about the natural conditions of its growth in order to understand how moist the soil is to keep . The plant is watered as needed, not just regularly. It itself will tell you the watering time by absorbing water by the roots and draining the soil to a certain extent.

Plants that require constant moisture should be watered frequently and abundantly, leaving the water in the pan. There are few such plants; they include marsh inhabitants adapted to live in stagnant waters - for example, cyperus, the mangrove plant brugieru (see Mangroves grow in your house).

Plants that require moderately moist soil and do not tolerate overdrying should be watered immediately after the top layer of the soil dries. This group includes many indoor plants - most palms, aroids, ferns, myrtle, azaleas, hibiscus, etc. Regular and moderate overhead watering will keep the clod always slightly moist. For such plants, you can use self-watering pots.

Plants that prefer partially or completely drying out soil are rarely watered, but abundantly, so that the water reaches all the roots, and the plants can replenish their water reserves. These include cacti and succulent plants, dracaena, yucca, nolina, zamiokulkas, many types of orchids. Depending on the stage of growth and time of year, they may require varying degrees of drying of the substrate, from a few centimeters from the top to the very bottom. It is not recommended to use self-watering pots for such plants.


To water properly, you need to correctly assess the degree of soil drying. The easiest way is to try its surface with your hand and how deep it goes. This method is suitable for plants in which only the top layer can dry out. In plants in small pots, the degree of moisture can be easily estimated by weight by lifting the pot - dried soil is much lighter than wet soil. For control, at first, you can gently remove a lump from the pot without violating its integrity. For large plants that require thorough drying of the soil, it is convenient to use wooden sticks, piercing a lump with them to the bottom of the pot. There are also special devices on sale for determining the degree of soil moisture.

The water temperature for irrigation should be approximately equal to the room temperature or 2-5 degrees warmer, but not higher than +30 o C. Watering with too cold water is a great stress for the plant, it can serve as a signal for unfavorable conditions and cause leaves to drop. Sometimes you can observe the loss of turgor by the leaves and with a damp coma, as a result of hypothermia in the coma, when the roots are not able to absorb cold water.

Plants that are dormant in cool conditions are watered with cool water so as not to cause them to awaken early.

Watering with hot water is sometimes practiced to stimulate flowering. But this is also too much stress for the plants, which can result in their death.

Water quality is also an important factor in plant health. Drinking tap water is fine for watering most plants. For species especially sensitive to calcium salts, watering with boiled water can be recommended. The water is boiled for several minutes, allowed to cool in the kettle and carefully drained from the sediment (calcium salts partially fall to the bottom when boiling). You can use clean rain or melt water. You should not use bottled table water for irrigation - it often has a high content of salts, which are useful for humans, but harmful to plants. It is necessary to treat water from wells and wells with care, it is advisable to first make its chemical analysis.

Tap water must be defended to free it from chlorine. Carbon filters can be used to remove chlorine from water. The use of ion-exchange filters is not recommended, since the water is saturated with sodium ions that are harmful to plants. Boiling also removes chlorine from the water. For irrigation, you can use replaceable water from aquariums - it is warm, settled and enriched with fish waste products, which are good organic fertilizers.

Use aquarium water to water your indoor plants
Use aquarium water to water your indoor plants

Use aquarium water to water your indoor plants.

Water the plants correctly on top of the soil. Plants in nature receive water with precipitation. With overhead irrigation, the water evenly wets the soil, dropping down by gravity to the absorbent hairs of the roots, carrying dissolved salts with it. When watering from above, it is easier to assess the degree of soil moisture, while watering from below can lead to waterlogging of the lower roots and drying out of the upper ones.

There are a number of plants that have very water-sensitive growth points, tubers or leaves and are often recommended to be watered from a pan. But even these plants should be carefully spilled from above every few waterings. Bottom watering is acceptable for plants planted in small pots, for which watering from above is difficult, for example, miniature Saintpaulias. For such plants, special irrigation mats are often used.

Saintpaulias on mats
Saintpaulias on mats

Saintpaulias on mats

When watering, distribute water evenly over the entire surface of the earthen clod, do not pour in one place. It is undesirable to wet the trunk or base of the plant, get on the leaves.

Signs of improper watering and how to fix them

Often, external signs of dryness and waterlogging of the soil appear on plants in the same way, since in both cases the roots suffer.

Loss of turgor by leaves can be caused by both insufficient watering and waterlogging. Another reason is watering with too cold water or cooling the coma. When dry, spill the plant abundantly several times, sprinkle the crown with warm water. If the soil does not absorb water, then pour in small portions at intervals of several minutes and leave the water in the pan for half an hour. If the peat substrate is very dry, when water is not absorbed, the clod should be soaked by immersing the entire pot in water for several minutes.

In case of waterlogging, carefully remove the lump from the pot, wrap it in paper towels or newspaper to absorb the excess water. Leave the lump to air dry for a few days, then return to the pot.

If hypothermia occurs, move the plant to a warm place, water and sprinkle generously with warm water.

Brown spots on the leaves can also appear both from drying out of the roots, and from their systematic waterlogging and decay. With the restoration of the normal watering regime, if the disease has not gone too far, the roots can gradually recover, and new spots will not appear, but the old ones, of course, will not disappear. For the early restoration of roots, you can apply Zircon at a concentration of 4 drops per 1 liter of water, under the root and on the leaves, but not more often than once a week.

Complete replacement of the soil in mild cases is not recommended, it is enough to carefully remove the visible rotten roots without destroying the coma and powder abundantly with crushed charcoal. In case of severe root damage, it may be necessary to thoroughly prune rotten roots and replace the soil with perlite and place the plant for resuscitation in a greenhouse with high air humidity. But such drastic measures should only be used in extreme cases.

Proper watering is the key to the health of your plant!

Photo: Natalia Semenova, Nina Starostenko

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