In this next post we will give our humble opinion, providing information about our irrigation techniques in Carbeth Plants.
One of the main mistakes we make when watering plants is to treat them all the same. Never forget that each plant has its own needs and some need moderate watering while others need abundant watering.
Having said that, as soon as you buy a plant, check on the Internet or at the nursery where you bought it, what care it needs. Once you know what its needs are (abundant, moderate or scarce watering), you will be able to understand it and give it what it needs.
We could say -in a very summarised way- that there are three types of plants in relation to watering: those that need to be watered when the substrate is completely dry, those that need the substrate to be always wet and cacti and succulents that need long periods with dry soil.
Identify which of these three types of plant is yours and water accordingly. To do this, always look at the substrate and stick a toothpick, pencil or your own finger into the soil to see if the soil is moist or dry. If there is soil sticking to the stick or pencil when you pull it out, it is still wet.
In case you are not sure whether the soil is wet or not, my advice is to wait a few days, it is better to under-water than over-water!
The plant itself will tell you how often you should water it. Imagine you have a plant that needs to have a moist substrate and you water it every Sunday. In this case there could be three situations:
Come Sunday and the soil is slightly damp. This means that you have found the perfect days to water your plant.
We always insist that the best thing for our plants is to observe them to understand their needs. Don’t get used to watering them one day a week – the example above was just that, an example – because depending on the time of year their water needs will change.
In the summer the temperatures are higher and you will need to water your plants more frequently to keep them hydrated and cool.
In winter the temperatures drop, the substrate stays wetter for longer and the plants go into vegetative rest, so we will reduce watering (always progressively) and even stop watering them almost completely in some species.
This depends on many factors such as the size of the pot, the substrate, the type of plant (Ficus, Calatea, Succulent, Cactus…) or the temperature/time of the year.
However, in order to have an orientation that can serve as a guide, it is very useful to look at the drainage hole. In other words, water your plant until water comes out of the hole in the pot. When you see that water starts to come out, it means that it has reached the roots and that the amount of water is adequate and sufficient.
To avoid saturating the soil and overdoing it with water, it is advisable to pour the water into the pot a little at a time and see how it is absorbed by the soil and stop when you see that the water begins to run out of the drainage holes.
It is possible that when watering several plants you will notice that some absorb the water very quickly, while others take a few seconds to “swallow” it. Don’t worry about this, it is due to the amount and type of soil in each pot.
However, caked substrates, which usually have very compact soil, take a long time to absorb the water and you have to make sure that the water drains through the hole in the pot because sometimes, because the soil is so caked, the water cannot penetrate to the roots and the plant does not hydrate.
Not allowing the plant to drain is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to watering. What do I mean by draining? Always, always – I say it again just in case – always, always let the remaining water from watering drain out of the drainage hole before putting the plant back in its potting cover.
Likewise, don’t leave your plants with the saucer full of water as many species are prone to root rot and having stagnant water so close to them will lead to rotting or fungal problems.
If you are reading this and have just realised that your pot does not have a drainage hole… Please make one now! Or change the pot, because if you overwater it, it is very easy for your plant to rot.
As the popular saying goes: Every little master has his own way of doing things. In our case, We water our plants in the following way: in summer at dusk because it is very hot.
This way I make sure that they are well hydrated and cool during the hottest nights.
In winter We usually water them at midday. Why? Because this is the time when there is the most light and any excess water or humidity evaporates more easily. The important thing is to avoid watering them at the coldest times of the day so as not to generate excessive humidity.
We use three watering methods for watering my plants: traditional watering, immersion watering and spraying.
We use it for plants that need moderate or little watering. I simply pour water over the substrate with a watering can until it comes out of the drainage hole.
WATERING BY IMMERSION
We reserve it for plants that require abundant watering and that are sensitive to root rot. Why? Because this way We make sure that the plant absorbs the humidity it needs and that We don’t overdo it with the amount of water.
To water plants by immersion, what We do is put the plant in a container of water. After about five minutes We remove it, let it drain and put it back in the pot cover.
WATERING WITH A SPRAYER
Spray watering – a small spray bottle – is used for plants that require a lot of moisture or very little water, such as succulents.
For plants that require a lot of humidity (Marantas and Calateas) what We do is to water by immersion and then spray the leaves and the top layer of the substrate to make sure that it is always moist.
For cacti and succulents that require a small amount of water, what We also do is to water them with a spray bottle without wetting the aerial part of the plant, We just spray water on the substrate.
If you touch the soil and notice that it is too wet, take the plant out of the pot and wrap it in kitchen paper until you remove as much water as possible.
If you do this and the substrate is still wet, place the plant – without putting it in the pot – on the terrace or in an airy place so that the earth ball dries out as soon as possible.
In principle no, although there are plants with acidic soils such as Azaleas that do not like lime water. If the water in your city is very hard and has limescale, you can fill a bottle with water and leave it to stand for 24 hours. This will remove most of the limescale.
Watch out for this! Whenever you water your plants, always try to do so with water that is at room temperature. If you use water that is too cold or too hot, you can shock the plants and cause root damage.
The most common symptom is that the leaves of the plant start to yellow and eventually fall off.
Because the stems and leaves will look shrivelled or wilted. As soon as you water the plant and it is hydrated again, these symptoms will disappear. However, when the plant is over-watered, the consequences of dehydration do not disappear.
And that’s all for today’s post!
Last Edited: October 21, 2021
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