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It may seem a bit silly to have whole post about when and how to water your plants, but watering your plants is important, so bear with me. 🙂
How do I know when I need to water my plants?
All plants need water to survive and grow, but too much water can be just as bad as not enough water. In fact, the biggest mistake most gardeners make is over-watering, which will drown your plants. This is especially true for many herbs, which are Mediterranean plants that are used to dry, hard climates.
You can’t actually tell if your plant needs water just by looking at the soil. The visible soil could be very dry, but the deeper layers of soil could still have plenty of water. One easy way to tell if your plants need water is the finger test. Stick your finger into the soil near the plant up to the second knuckle. If the soil near your fingertip is dry it’s time to water. If you can’t really tell, pull your finger out. If there is soil stuck to the tip of your finger then it is still pretty moist down there.
Another way to tell if a plant needs water is to pick the pot up to feel the weight. The pot will be heavier if it has been recently watered and lighter if it’s about time to water it again. You might not be able to tell right away, but pick up the pot and weight it in your hand right before you water next time, and again right after. You’ll notice a difference and soon you’ll be able to tell if it needs watering just by picking the pot up!
You can also use a watering meter. There are tons of different types and they can purchased at most hardware stores.
How do I water my plants?
First, make sure you water the soil and not the leaves. Most plants don’t like to have wet leaves; it can increase the chance of fungus or other diseases or even sunburns on the leaves. Second, when you water the soil make sure to put the spout of your watering can near the soil. Don’t water from high up as the weight of the falling water can make holes in the soil and upset the roots. Third, when you water, make sure you water thoroughly. Water until water starts draining out of the hole at the bottom of the pot. This helps encourage roots to grow towards the bottom of the pot, which is good for the plant, and also ensures that the roots near the bottom get adequate water.
A few other important things to note regarding watering:
- Not all plants have the same watering preferences. Some plants like drier soil, some like a lot of water. Read up on your specific plants and make sure you know what’s up.
- Don’t let the soil dry out completely. If it does it will get caked and hard, and then next time you water it will have a lot of difficulty absorbing the water.
- The best time to water is in the morning. Apparently roots soak up water better in the morning or evening (don’t ask me why, it gets all science-y), but if you water in the evening there is the chance that all the water won’t be absorbed and it will just sit on and around the plants overnight, which can cause fungus etc.
- Don’t assume anything; if you’re unsure, check the plants’ moisture level. Don’t assume that just because it rained your plants don’t need watering. Don’t assume that just because you watered them this morning they don’t need a little more in the evening. Just check them if you’re unsure.
Do you have any other tips related to watering your garden?
This post is part of a series about growing herbs indoors. You can see the rest of the posts in the series here.
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