How can you tell if your plant has enough water, or getting too much? Does your plant leaves droop, yellow leaves, brown tips, or leaves drop? Plants actually let you know what they need by how they look. Most people think they have to constantly water plants so they won’t die. Quite the opposite is true. Most plants prefer to be a little too dry than too wet. Once you start paying attention to how your plant looks, you will become more proficient at the watering process.
Let me go over some DIY tips of indoor plant watering. Indoor plants are different than outdoor plants. The number one rule is to check the soil medium before ever watering. Most residential indoor plants are not very large in size. The easiest affordable tool to use for checking the soil is a metal BBQ skewer. You are probably thinking what the heck is she talking about. Usually with larger plants you need a very heavy, thick soil probe to go to the roots of the plant. A BBQ skewer is much easier on the roots because of how thin it is. You still need to be very careful not to puncture any roots. When you pull up the skewer it will either be dry, damp, moist, or too moist when you touch it. Soil will pull up on the skewer if it is moist. You do not want to water at all when it’s moist. Wait ten to fourteen days before watering. Checking the soil with the skewer also aerates the plant. This allows the water to go completely down to the tips of the roots.
The second rule of watering is to water all around the pot with lukewarm water. Full coverage of watering is very critical to the overall health of the plant. If you dump the water only where the base of the plant is, not all of the roots will be watered properly. This will result in an area of the plant dying. A rule of thumb is to have the water room temperature as you would to bathe a baby. Too cold or hot will cause your plant to get root damage.
The last rule of watering is dump out any excess water. You want to pour in enough water to run through to the saucer, or drainage portion of a decorative container. This is called leaching. Leaching removes excess soluble salts and minerals that can build up and damage a plant. It also washes away stale air from the pores of the medium and pulls fresh oxygen to the soil. Plants sitting in too much water will cause root rot. The best trick to pull out excess water is a food baster. The one you use for cooking your Thanksgiving turkey. Yes, it’s another kitchen gadget. Pull out the water with the food baster and empty.
I hope these few watering tips will help keep your plants thriving a bit longer than they use to. Time to go out and get your BBQ skewer for your plants. It is the handiest tool you’ll use.