Plants for Dummies- Water
So, you've just started your journey with plants. Where do you begin? It seems like there are a million directions to go when you just begin with an interest in plants. To tell the truth, there are. I learned that when I went to school for horticulture technology. After we finished with the basic plant knowledge there were so many directions to go in, it was mind boggling. But- there was a basic place to start. That's where I'm starting with this blog. My ultimate goal is to show the world there is no such thing as a black thumb!
Let's start with the rule I live by to this day: "Right plant right place." This rule can be applied everywhere- indoors, outside, planters, window boxes... The list is endless! Let's break this down into four main parts separated into different blog posts; light, water, soil, and size.
Water is something we all need to survive. I think we all know that some plants like lots of water while others like a lot less. The key is understanding at what level your plants thrive. I like to think of watering being in 5 separate levels. Level 1 being bone dry. Think pot left in the garage all winter and pulled out in the spring. Level 5 is bog-like conditions. Most plants do not want to be in the extremes, though there are always exceptions to the rules. Most houseplants want to dry to level 2. Proper watering would be allowing water to run through the pot which will bring the soil to level 5, then allow the plant to dry to its preferred level.
I know it sounds like I just contradicted myself, but hear me out. Level 5 will quickly dry to a level 4 if the pot is allowed to drain. I know there are some people reading this that are thinking something along the lines of, "isn't that what over watering is?" The answer is no. Over watering is the frequency of which a plant is watered, not how much water is used during each watering. So if you water a plant a little bit every day, that is over watering. So what about following a schedule?
Anything that has a scheduled watering program is unreliable. It could take one day for a plant to go from level 4 to level 2 depending on its environment. In addition, plants don't run on time like we do. They will never know if you last watered two days ago or two months ago. Plants kept in hot dry conditions, like those of a greenhouse or a desert will need watered much more often than those kept in the house or in the shade. It is always important to check the soil before watering. Scheduled watering programs have the potential to be helpful. I have seen more harm than good come from stickers that say "water once a week" or something of the sort. The important lesson here is to always check the soil before you water. This could be with your finger or with a moisture meter.
Specific plant species will have their own requirements and the environment has the potential to alter those requirements. I hope this post helped you to understand some things with watering! Leave in the comments plants or groups of plants that you would like to hear more specific techniques about.