If you’re thinking of keeping a set of indoor houseplants, then it’s important you’re aware of how to take care of them. And if you do, they will pay dividends by keeping your home purified from toxins and also pest-free (from ants, anyway!) “But what else is there to know on how to water potted plants?” Actually, quite a lot! It’s not just the act of watering, but the preparation beforehand that makes sure that your plants have the right amount of water. Pouring too much or too little can be harmful to your plants, so learning how to take care of them before they even go into their respective pots increases their chances of survival. Here are 7 suggestions to bear in mind when you think of how to water potted plants.
7 practical tips on how to water potted plants
1. Understand your plants’ requirements
The first thing to acknowledge is that different types of plants need different soil depth and moisture levels to grow properly. While this isn’t an action point per se, it’s important to know which plants require more or less water.
Vegetable and fruit plants need a LOT of water, while flowering annuals only need some moisture in their soil. On the other hand, succulents prefer dryer and sandier soil.
2. Pick the correct type of soil
Before you even consider how to water potted plants, it’s important to get the right soil to match your plants’ requirements as above. Thankfully, botanists have created different soil composites that make our lives so much easier.
A rich and sandy loam in bags labelled as “general potting soil” is preferred by many plants. It’s most but drains well. But for plants that like dry soil, buy bags that are labelled as “cactuses and succulents”. Clay soil is perfect for vegetable and fruit plans as they’re heavy and don’t drain as well.
One tip is not to take soil from the garden and use it for potted plants. The bacteria in outside soil can be harmful to your indoor houseplants.
3. Picking the correct containers to hold the plants
Having the right home for your plants will allow water to drain quickly or hold. So it’s really important to not pick the prettiest pot to hold your plants because it matches with your decor. But how do you pick when there are so many on offer?
You may think of a pot plant that’s riddled with holes. However, too many holes can cause the soil to dry out quickly. And too few won’t let the water drain enough and flood your plant.
While the number of holes is important, a good tip you can bear in mind is buying a large container. This allows you to load more soil and in turn, let the roots grow further down.
If you’re unsure how much water you should pour in, then try this creative life hack and add some sponge to the bottom of the pot before loading the soil to help soak up additional water.
4. Make sure the water you add is neutral
Water from the tap is usually neutral in pH after being filtered and corrected for acidity and alkaline levels. But if you want to be extra cautious, you could use the water from boiling your eggs.
Now before you throw this idea (and the water) out the window, here’s why. Plants need a lot of calcium. And eggshells contain a lot of this nutrient. The leftover water is chock full of this lifegiving nutrient. Before you pour it into the soil, wait for the water to cool until room temperature.
5. Water the soil
So, now we get onto how to water potted plants! Actually, it’s very simple – water the soil, not the leaves. This is a common mistake many plant owners make can harm the houseplant since water magnifies the sunlight and burns the leaves.
6. Water the pot fully
Another tip on how to water potted plants is to pour enough so that the water reaches the bottom of the pot. A good indicator you’ve watered enough is when there’s an overflow dripping out of the pot’s holes. Even if you have plenty of soil that provides depth, roots won’t grow further down if there’s no water. And in fact, shallow watering leads to roots growing towards the top and can dry out quicker.
7. Check your plants and soil regularly
The last step is remembering to keep topping up the water. If you remember to hydrate your plants in the morning, then they’ll be set for the day. Plants more receptive to absorbing water when the sun is up. And you’ll also have a natural reminder to keep checking throughout the day.