Irrigation is one of the most basic and important care for plant growth. Thanks to water, plants can absorb all the necessary nutrients from the soil. Hitting the right amount of water they should receive is not an easy task, either we go too far or we fall short, and although most of the time they tend to die from excess watering on several occasions, it is difficult for us to determine if a plant dies due to lack or excess water, since the symptoms are usually similar.
We want to help you become a true plant expert and we have created a guide to teach you how to water your plants so as not to kill them out of love or grief. In addition, we will tell you some tricks to take care of your plants during the summer holidays.
1: Understand the biology of your green friend
One of the most common mistakes is to treat all plants equally. Each plant belongs to a family that has specific needs for water, light, temperature, and humidity. To know how much water each plant needs, it will be essential to familiarize yourself with your plant, its origin, and it’s needs. For example, the plants of the Cactaceae family (cactus) are very resistant and easy to care for, while those of the Marantacea family (calatheas) require more constant watering so that the soil always remains moist. The key is to always remember the origin of your plants and try to imitate it so that they feel at home.
2: Adapt your irrigation according to the different seasons of the year
Although there is no fixed irrigation time, there are stretches of the day in the different seasons of the year that are more convenient for your plant.
- Summer: In the hottest months, irrigation should be abundant and deep, especially in drier areas such as Madrid. In summer, we should avoid watering the plants during the hottest hours, since the water will evaporate more quickly and the sun could burn the leaves. We recommend watering first thing in the morning, after sunset, or at night.
- Autumn: After the summer, we must adjust the frequency of watering to help your plants survive the transition between the high amount of summer water and the low temperatures of winter. The plants will gradually begin to enter “plant hibernation” and therefore will not require as much water. We recommend watering mid-morning.
- Winter: Indoor plants do not need as much water during winter and therefore the frequency of watering will have to be reduced (depending on the type of plant). We recommend watering in the morning so that the water has time to evaporate during the day, preventing it from freezing on the plant.
- Spring: This time marks the beginning of the flowering phase of most plants and therefore the need for a greater supply of water. We recommend watering mid-morning.
3:Know the different types of irrigation
Oddly enough, there are also different types of irrigation. The most common and used by almost everyone is irrigation above the plant. With this method, we must be careful that the leaves and even stems do not get wet since lime marks, and slight burns, and may even lead to mold and fungus. If you decide to use this type of irrigation, make sure that the water reaches the roots.
Irrigation from below it is ideal for delicate plants, such as orchids. Use a deep dish wide enough to fit the entire bottom of the pot, fill the dish halfway with water and place the pot on it for 10-20 minutes. In this way, the plant will only absorb the water it needs. And finally, immersion irrigation consists of immersing the pot in water and letting the soil get completely moist. We only recommend this type of irrigation for plants that are very dry and have had a hard time due to lack of water.
4:The quality of the water you use does matter
Mostly all plant parents already know all houseplants require a sufficient amount of water but it is crucial to know what quality of water is ideal to stay plants healthy and energetic because it has very deep effects on the health of houseplants. It is not just important to know about the frequency of water but the quality of the water itself.
The quality of the water we get from our taps varies depending on the city we live in. Water that has more lime, calcium, and fluoride will be harmful to your plants, so you have to make sure that the water you use is as natural as possible. The most recommended water to water your plants will always be rainwater, followed by distilled water or bottled water.
5:Don’t forget your plants when you go on vacation
The vast majority of plants will easily survive a long weekend without water. Many cacti and succulents will be fine for a couple of weeks, but for all other plants, you’ll need to have an action plan before you go, especially if you don’t have anyone to water them. There are 3 tricks to prevent your plants from dying:
- Drip irrigation with bottles: One of the best ways to reuse your plastic bottles this summer is by using them to water your plants when you go on vacation. Cut the bottom of the bottle and make a hole in the cap. Place the bottle upside down, near the plant, and fill it with water. The water will slowly leak out of the plug hole as the soil dries out. In specialized stores, there are special mouthpieces that we can use and put in the mouth of the bottle.
- Irrigation with cotton rope: Take a cotton rope and bury one of its ends in the pot and the other in a bucket with plenty of water. Be sure to place the bucket of water on a higher plane than the pots. The plants will absorb the water when they need it. This method is ideal for very large plants that cannot be easily moved from one place to another.