Confused About How Often to Water Your Potted Plants?

Articles
November 15, 2007

Confused About How Often to Water Your Potted Plants?

Fix your problems getting the watering right, with a few pointers for happy house plants (and garden plants in pots as well).

Diana, an avid gardener for thirty years lives in Hampshire, England. She is a botanical artist and is a member and medalist of the Royal Horticultural Society and has exhibited pictures both with the RHS and the Botanical Society.

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Watering-can by Diana Greenwood MeadAmy, a good friend of mine, was bemoaning the fact that every plant she buys seems to die no matter how often she waters it, and as I walked around her apartment pressing fingers into this and that pot (and drying them off on a paper tissue) I had to come out with the old cliché about 'more plants die from over- than under-watering'. Each pot was soggy and each saucer had stale water standing in it. So for Amy, and anyone else who has problems getting the watering right, here are a few pointers for happy house plants (and garden plants in pots as well).

Of course, every plant needs water - but there's a world of difference in the amount, and the timing. The most; possibly every day, is a leafy, soft leaved plant in a warm room (or a hot garden), that is covered with flowers and growing new leaves and buds almost on a daily basis, in late spring or early summer; and the least, (setting aside cacti which are a whole different ball game ...), maybe once in ten days, is a sparse, dark green leaved plant in a cool room in the depth of winter. And there it is.

All you have to do is take into account the season, the amount of growth/leaves and the general temperature and give more or less water accordingly! Generally, water generously and add a smidge of liquid feed every two waterings or so. Don't let water stand in the saucer going stale, and don't let the poor plant get to the point of wilting before you come to its rescue.

Just one thing to say about those big pots of flowers in the garden that you think are getting a good soaking in that summer shower – feel the soil in the pot once it's over – dry as toast! All the leaves act like an umbrella, and the poor roots get nothing very much, so give it a can full of water and it'll look wonderful.

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