Watering Indoor Plants

In a two-week-before frenzy to add color to a family celebration, I repotted a flowering tropical plant into a pot without holes in the bottom. (With a drill not handy, I will remedy that later.) I watered the plant extra, figuring it would be forgotten in the rush. Days later, noting some bloom drop and graying leaves, water was added. By the celebration, the plant would not recover.

Plant watering is straightforward but only sometimes easy for any of us. Plants need water to make food. If the potting soil surface is watered a little and frequently, roots grow near the surface, making the plant more susceptible to stress. Need to water the plant? Put a finger in the soil to see if the soil is dry or moist beneath the surface. Humidity and room conditions change over time, and plant needs vary. Determine a pattern for the frequency of watering each plant. 

Each time, provide enough water, so that excess water drains into the saucer below the container. Soggy soil suffocates roots and makes them susceptible to disease. Checking the soil for moisture before watering prevents over or under-watering when plant growth changes, along with water needs, over the year. In the photo, each plant requires a little different watering.

Once a watering pattern is established, check plants for other changes that affect water needs. Moving a plant to another area may change available light and water needs. This umbrella tree has been in added light for about a month. Reducing water for a while with some plants encourages more consistent growth. Succulents slow growth in winter and need less water. 

The Zz plant (Zamioculas zamiifolia) is an easy-care tropical African ornamental. It requires infrequent watering because it stores water in a rhizome at its base. I didn’t check online for special conditions for the new plant. It nearly died from water beyond its needs. Note the stems were removed at their base in the photo. Now recovered, after reduced water under a grow light for several months, the foliage grows again. 

Trying to get watering indoor plants right!

When we work with plants, watering mistakes can occur. Luckily plants are usually resilient. We learn along the way and make changes that sometimes help.

Thanks for visiting Plant Exchange Blog. Hope to see you when it posts next week!

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