How to Water Plants

Who knew there were so many incorrect ways to do something as simple as watering plants? We address some of the common mistakes and tell you how it should be done:

Underwatering

Obviously, the worst mistake you can make is to neglect watering your plants completely! The longer your plant goes without watering, the harder it will be to revive once you realise it has died.  

Try to get into a routine with watering your plants. Adjust your routine depending on the season, but try to be as consistent as possible. If you’re a particularly busy person, setting reminders on your phone can help.

Plants that don’t receive enough water will begin to wilt – Source: Pixabay

If it’s too late for regular watering by the time you’ve realised that your plant is wilting, there are other measures that you can take. One method is to completely submerge the planter pot into a bucket full of water until there are no more bubbles, and hopefully your plants will set new buds again.

Products like moisture control gel increases the water holding capacity of your composts and reduces the need for you to water your plants as often and making it easier for you to keep your plants hydrated.

Overwatering

Ironically, the second biggest and most common mistake is overwatering! It’s important to try and find that happy medium. If you water your plants regularly and you’re in doubt as to whether or not your plants need watering- check to see if the soil of moist. If it is, you might be better to wait for the soil to dry out a bit more before watering again.

An easy way of checking whether the soil is moist is simply shoving your finger into the corner of your pot or container.

The effects of overwatering are actually very similar to underwatering, as flowers fade and the plants leaves begin to fall. This is why you need to be careful when trying to establish which problem you have before taking action, as if you mistake these indicators as signs of underwatering, you will naturally water the plants even more which will naturally make the situation worse.

The problem with overwatering is that when the plant becomes waterlogged, it blocks the air coming into the soil and roots cannot breathe and start to die. It can also be the cause of fungal diseases and/or nematodes.

Overwatering can be just as harmful to plants as underwatering – Source: Times Higher Education

One of the methods that you can use to revive a potted plant that has been overwatered is removing the plant and wrapping the root ball in newspaper. Once the newspaper has absorbed as much water as it can, remove it and re-wrap it in some fresh paper. Try to extract as much water as possible with this method, and after you’ve re-potted the plant, let it dry out for a while.

Timing

The times that you water your plants is another important factor. In the springtime plants should be watered mid-morning around 10 or 11 am after the frost has gone, but before the sun gets too high. Plants are put at risk of frost damage if watered late in the evening.

During the summer, water in the early morning around 8/9 am and in the evening try to water plants before it gets too dark, ideally around 8/9 pm.

Watering Plant Leaves

Undoubtedly one of the most common mistakes a first-time planter makes is watering the leaves of the plant rather than the root. Leaves absorb a very small amount of water, whereas the roots soak in the majority that is needed for the plant to survive. Leaves can act as an umbrella to the soil, where the water bounces off the leaves and deprives the soil of water.

Make sure to point the nozzle of your watering can to the soil rather than to the leaves. If water starts to run off, pause until it starts to soak in, and then resume watering.

Leaves soak in far less water in comparison to the soil – Source: Unsplash

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If you have any questions about watering plants contact us on social media- @CountryLifeGC (Links in footer). If you have a specific problem such as pest damage it’s really helpful to send us a picture- we’d love to help!