For any houseplant, proper care is always related to the quality of watering. The ability to find a balance, to approach the process of moistening the soil sensibly, not to go to extremes and "listen" to the needs of plants are the main rules of correct watering. After all, finding the golden mean between sparse and excessive watering is not easy at all. Some basic watering rules can help to avoid common mistakes.
1. Use proper water
Do not water the houseplants with tap water (neither cold or hot). Boiled or mineralized water is also under strict ban. The water temperature should match the temperature of the air in the room. Let the water stand still for at least 2-3 days. Melted, filtered water or rainwater is a perfect choice. For some plants, distilled water may be necessary.
2. Water only when necessary
Checking how dry the substrate is and controlling the rate at which the plant consumes moisture at different stages of development will prevent gross irrigation errors. Whatever the standard guidelines may be, you should only judge the need for checking by the soil.
Check the moisture level of the top layer of the soil (put your finger 1 to 2 cm into the soil).
Compare whether the pot is lighter (the weight of the pot before and after watering is significantly different).
3. Choose right time for watering
During the warm season, water in the early morning or evening.
During the cold season, water in the early morning.
Try not watering the houseplants in the middle of the day or under direct sunlight.
4. Establish unique watering routine for every plant
Choosing a certain day of the week for watering all the plants at your home is the biggest mistake. Potted plants are all different; thus, need to be watered at different times.
You can group houseplants by watering degrees (water-loving, moderately water-loving or drought-tolerant) or by origin (desert, subtropical, tropical). Still, we advise to check individual variety and species recommendations and make a schedule for each plant.
We also love to keep simple tables or labels on pots (with all the information about the plant).
Over time, you will be able to tell if the soil is dry by lifting the pot: a pot with dry soil is much easier than one with a sagebrush.
5. Choose the watering method
Suitable for almost all indoor plants. Use soft room temperature water and pour it gently. The soil should dry out between waterings.
Watering in a tray
The best choice for gloxinias, violets, streptocarpus, epicycles, cyclamen. The delicate, velvety leaves of these plants don't like to be watered. Pour water into the pot tray, wait 30 minutes for the soil to take up the water, and drain the excess.
Suitable for ferns, orchids, azaleas cyperus. Dip the pot for 5-10 minutes in a deep bowl of water so that the water covers the soil in the flower pot. Take the pot out of the water and let it drain. The immersion method is also a great first aid method when you want to resuscitate a plant that has not been watered for a long time; or, if the soil in the pot has dried up.
6. Be careful
We advise using special watering cans with nozzles. Let the water pour round the perimeter of the pot, avoid the formation of holes, slowly, or the accumulation of water over the soil. Do not direct the water to the trunks or under the root necks of plants; also, do not soak or splash the leaves.
7. Use smart helpers
Today, both budget and high-end systems have been developed for houseplants to avoid the hassle of watering. Simple and affordable indicators, auto-irrigation flasks, double-walled containers, and hydroponics units will keep watering efforts to a minimum.
Even a simple moisture level indicator will eliminate the need to constantly check the soil by touch. If you're having trouble determining whether your plant needs watering or is better off waiting, be sure to get some clever helpers.
How to soften the water?
An effective way to soften water is to add oxalic acid to it (the normal acidity of irrigation water should be 5.5 ph). Plants in hanging pots, baskets, on tree trimmings are watered by immersion in water until saturation. Check the soil surface - in winter once a week, in midsummer - every day if possible. If the soil surface is dry and resembles dust, water the plant or clog your finger to the depth of your fingernail; if the finger remains dry, the plant also needs watering.
What is wrong?
Not enough water:
- Wilted and blighted leaves,
- Slow growth or its absence,
- Flowers and buds dropping off,
- Withered, yellowed lower leaves,
- Brown leaf tips,
- Old leaves fall off first.
Too much water:
- Leaves drooping,
- Soft areas showing signs of rot,
- Stunted growth,
- Brown roots,
- Brown spots around edges and center of leaves,
- Young and old leaves fall off at the same time.