Watering Houseplants

This Maidenhair Fern (Adiantum) houseplant is being killed with kindness by the family waterer. Too much water kills quicker than too little.This plant likes humidity from a mister or being stood on a damp gravel base but doesn’t want to be flooded.

Watering Houseplants

  • Plants that transpire lots of water from large fleshy or soft leaves need more watering.
  • Plants with frail, rubbery or sticky leaves are generally conditioned to survive with less water. Look at the leaves to learn what works best.
  • Most cacti & succulents with juicy leaves are often able to survive dry spells.
  • Plants that are actively growing need more water and the converse is true in winter when growth is slow they need little or no water.
  • Try aim for evenly moist soil from top to bottom after watering
  • Good drainage in needed for the majority of houseplants so if in doubt err on the side of an open compost
  • Stagnant water is a no-no causing chills, decay and harbouring potential pests.
  • The tepid water with no chemicals is OK or try rain water.
  • Ailing plants should be given only little water and no fertilizer.
  • Gloxinia like other hairy leaved plants dislike water on the leaves as the sun’s heat can be magnified and damage the leaf.

Expert Watering

  • Consider each plant as an individual and treat it according to need.
  • Plants from desert regions generally need less water than jungle plants
  • The same variety near a heater or in a smaller pot will dry out faster than its twin.
  • Clay pots dry faster than plastic pots. Pots in urns dry slower.
  • Large roots can fill a pot leaving no room for moist compost so soak these plants well or consider re-potting. I have just put an Azalea pot inside a wet & larger pot.
  • Moisture meters are available to check the moisture content of soils.
  • Drip watering is popular in greenhouses and can be used for houseplants combined with capilliary matting if desired.
  • Do not be too regimented as to time tables and quantities but do what seems to suit the plant
  • Watch the plants to see how they react and adjust your actions in the future.
  • If all else fails read the instructions on the label.

One Response to Watering Houseplants

  1. Jack December 3, 2008 at 16.03 #

    Some great tips about watering. Truly, plants are individuals and their needs are affected by their location and environment.

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