How to water plants? Do's and Don’ts
Updated: Nov 3, 2022
As we all know, for sustainability water is a vital need of every living creature. Water is life-giving for everyone, be it humans or plants. Without water, where humans become victims of dehydration, while trees and plants die or become weak due to lack of water.
We often have to face such problems; when our plants do not grow properly despite providing all the essential care and nutrients on the time. What could be the reason? Where are we all lacking? Do you know that this can happen even by giving water improperly? Yes, water could be the reason for the malfunctioning of your plants.
Are you following the correct method of watering?
What is the right way to water plants?
So, in this article, we will discuss some basic tips and methods to water plants.
"There is a big misconception among some people that
if they keep watering the plants as much as they want,
plants will grow and do not have any problems."
Importance of Water for the plants
Water is absolutely essential for plants. All the activities of plant life are driven by water. Let's understand more from the following points:
1. Water helps plants to grow
Lots of things like compost, seaweed, minerals, fertilizers, NPK and many more are added to the soil but plants do not absorb them directly.
When water is added to the soil, all these nutrients get dissolved into the water and the roots of the plants absorb them plus deliver them to other parts of the plants.
So, despite the fact how much fertilizer and nutrients are added to the soil, the plant would not grow without water.
2. Water is necessary for photosynthesis
Water also plays a big role in the process of photosynthesis.
Plants cannot survive without photosynthesis hence plants would not last for a longer duration without water.
Leaves get proper structure and become tight if watering is regular.
Without water, the leaves of the plant start to bend down and become loose or weak.
3. Right time to water the plants
The moisture of the soil, coco peat or whatever is surrounding the roots should be maintained. It should neither be too wet nor dry. Must follow the below steps to water the plants:
1. The basic tip to water the plants is to first check the soil of the pot.
When the topmost layer of the soil is dry, it means plants need water. Loose the soil and give water.
Otherwise water the next day. ; or if you have checked in the morning, then you can give water in the evening.
Sometimes just seeing it is not possible for us to judge whether the plant needs water or not. So, in such a case, it is better to check the top layer of the soil by touching it with a hand.
For this, dip your finger 1-2 inches in the soil to see if the soil is moist or not, this will give you an idea of how much moisture is.
If soil is sticking to the finger, water is not required at that moment.
If it is not sticking and completely dry then gradually give water to the plant.
2. Give water before the soil gets dry
The topmost layer of the soil is exposed to air and sun which makes it dry. If the top layer is dry then the inner soil also tends to dry soon.
So, before the core soil gets dry plants need to be watered.
3. Do not overwater
If the topsoil is wet and more water is given at the same time then the core soil will become muddier because of over watering and plants will get damaged. Some of the harmful effects on the plants, due to overwatering are mentioned below:
The roots of the plants are delicate and weak, overwatering might cause root rot. Due to this plants will catch fungus, infections and insects.
The soil becomes sticky and soggy, which can hinder plant growth.
Leaves start falling from the plant.
The leaves of the plants start turning yellow.
The leaves are not dark green in color.
Give water according to the condition of the soil not by the myth that plants need water daily.
It can be done once in 2-3 days or twice a day also.
4. The correct way of watering
1. Gardening in the ground: For ground gardening, use pipes to give water to your plants.
2. Container gardening: If you are doing container gardening then always use any mug, jug, can or utensils to give water to your plants.
Using pipes for pots is not a good option as water comes with force, it affects the soil binding the root of the plants.
Placement of the soil gets disturbed and sometimes it becomes messy also.
3. Give water in parts: Always give water in parts (especially in pots).
When soil absorbs the provided water completely then only add leftover water.
Keep on adding water till the point it starts coming out from the bottom hole of the pot.
4. Give water according to the size of the pot: The main roots of the plants lie at the bottom of the pot, so the amount of water required also depends on the size of the pot.
Big size pots need more water to reach down to the roots and small size pots need less water to meet the main roots.
If roots would not get water then requirements of nutrients also would not get fulfilled.
When the plant is transplanted from a small pot to a big pot, at that time also more water would be required to maintain the moisture of the soil.
When roots will grow towards the bottom they would need moisture not dry soil to grow properly.
Leave the monotonous habit of giving one mug of water to the plants, and keep watering till the point water comes out from the bottom of the pot.
It will keep the soil moist for a longer duration.
5. Water Requirements for Succulents and Bulbs
Succulents, Cactus, Bulbs, Xerophytes and such plants need very little water to grow.
Plants like Aloe vera, Jade, Sansevieria (Snake Plant) and many others, already have water stored in their leaves.
In fact, if the core soil of these plants gets dried up a bit then also it would not affect the growth of the plant.
Plants with bulbs like Caladium, Peace lily, ZZ plant and many other bulb plants might start decaying due to overwatering.
All these plants also need very less water. Hence, we should not give water to these plants on a daily basis but on a weekly or in a gap of 10 to 15 days.
Other factors to maintain the soil moisture
1. Soil Composition:
If the soil has coco peat and compost mixed in it then it remains wet for a longer duration.
2. Type of Pot:
The soil in the clay pots dries out quickly whereas in cement pots the process of drying out soil gets slow.
In ceramic and plastic pots soil stays wet for a longer duration in comparison to clay or cement pots.
Suppose the same plant is planted in different types of pots then the water requirements of the same plants would be differing.
3. Season and Weather
In winters and rainy seasons, plants need less water because the soil remains wet for a longer duration during these seasons.
In summers, plants might need water 2-3 times per day.
4. Location of the plants
Plants kept on the terrace need water very often because plants are exposed to continuous sunlight for 8-10 hours and the soil gets dry quickly there.
Plants placed on the balcony get exposed to sunlight for 3-4 hours, their soil can lock moisture for 1-2 days.
Indoor plants get bright light, they do not get direct wind or sun exposure. They stay wet for a longer duration
Preferably water the plants during morning time.
Love your plants!
Shower them regularly with your love and yes with water also.