Water is at the heart of what keeps flowers and plants thriving, but too much or too little can have a detrimental effect on your green friend’s wellbeing. Incorrect watering can also leave your plants vulnerable to all manner of diseases as pests.
How often should you water plants?
Specific watering schedules depend on the variety of plants you have. Before watering your plant it is important to understand how much hydration it needs and how often it likes to be fed.
As a general rule of thumb, most plants like to be watered around once a week. A good way to tell whether or not your plant is begging for hydration is by checking the soil. This works for potted plants as well as those in the ground.
You should be watering your plants when the soil feels dry. However, in order to avoid drowning the roots, you can stick your finger into the soil up to knuckle depth (or use a chopstick) and feel for moisture. If it feels dry to the touch it is time to water, if it’s wet then don’t bother.
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5 rules for watering flowers and plants
Keep them evenly moist
Most plants depend on even moisture, so water in a targeted way using a thin-nozzle watering can or even a wine bottle.
Make sure you allow your plant plenty of time to dry out between watering. This will promote root growth of the plants, so it’s best not to be too heavy with the hydration.
Water in the mornings
According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), many outdoor plants prefer to be watered in the mornings, especially during the warmer days of summer.
The RHS explained: Water in the mornings, if you can, as this is when the sun comes up and plants will start to use water. The foliage and soil surface is also likely to stay drier for longer than evening watering, discouraging slugs, snails and mildew diseases.
“Plants start to transpire in sunlight, drawing water from the soil, through their roots, up their stems and out through tiny pores on their leaves called stomata.”
Evening watering is fine, however, though should be done once the temperature is a little cooler to reduce evaporation.
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Water less frequently but more thoroughly
Plants and flowers don’t necessarily need watering every day, so long as they get enough water throughout the week.
In the flower bed, one to two watering sessions a week are usually more than enough.
Fewer watering sessions with lots of water are much better than overdoing it with daily watering.
Keep the leaves dry
As with houseplants, you should try not to get the leaves of outdoor plants wet. This can increase the risk of disease and, if left overnight, we leaves can begin to develop mould.
During the day, wet leaves can be at risk of developing slight burn marks.
Avoid water logging
Although your plants rely on water, too much of a good thing can actually do irreparable damage. Waterlogging means leaving your flowers to sit in water.
According to Bristol Botanic Garden: “When soils are waterlogged, the air spaces between the particles are filled with water and the movement of gases within the soils is inhibited preventing the roots from respiring properly.”
This can negatively impact root growth and increase the risk of disease.