Are You Over Watering Your Houseplants?
It's sad to think that millions of houseplants across the UK are being killed by us plant parents and the most common reason for this is over watering! Are you guilt of this I wonder?
To be fair, it's quite easy to do. We want to look after our houseplants and quite often they can look sad for a myriad of reasons but turning to water is rarely the answer. In my experience, whilst under watering your plants is not uncommon, killing with kindness is. So lets get down to it.
The finger test...
I hear many talk abut the finger test which sounds fairly logical. Push your finger down into your plant soil - does it feel moist? If so, don't water it and if it's dry water it. For me, this is just so generic and could be one of the reasons why we have this issue with houseplants. What it doesn't consider is two things:
- How deep is your pot?
- Can you use this technique on all plants?
If your plant pot is 20cm deep, there's a high chance the top section of your soil is regularly dry. Afterall, the top area is open to the elelments where there is maximum evaportation. What we really should be doing is finding out how wet or dry the bottom section is (and I'll come onto that shortly). Because when plants rot, they always do this from their roots and surprise surprise, this is at the bottom of the pot.
And can we use the finger test on all plants?
Well no. Small pots are out immediately, because if you tried pushing your finger it, you probably wouldn't be able to and even if you did, you'd leave a gaping hole which won't look pretty! But what about succulents and cacti - when should we water those? I guess the finger test is out there too.
So what's the solution?
The good news is a bit of simple technology does the job and the finger in soil idea can be eliminated. Moisture meters are perhaps one of the best inventions for understanding when you need to be watering your plants. This simple device uses no batteries (result) and instead works by conductivity. You push the meter into the soil and it gives a reading.
So there's now no guessing. When the reading gets to 1-2, water your plant (from the bottom). We always ensure our plants sit overnight in nutrient rich water so they can take up as much juice as they want. Then in the morning, any left over water is disposed of and the plant has drunk as much as it needs. Simple as that.
Hope this helps!