Nothing could seem simpler, but watering is one of the most difficult things you can do in a nursery – and in your home garden.
An obvious example would be the world of succulents, where it is common knowledge to avoid watering and let your plants live. As you know, one plant can have quite different demands than another. As a nursery person or a gardener, you have to keep your wits about you. And knowing not all plants are equal is really only the start down the path of watering correctly.
So, why do I think that watering is an art and needs to be approached with some thought? Here are some reasons:
• if the plant is not metabolizing (it is too young or too sickly and challenged) it can’t use the water you would like to give it and, in fact, if you continue to blindly water the poor thing, you will encourage rot.
• your potted plants need air as much as they need water – maybe they need it more than water. If the water pushes the air out of the spaces between the soil particles, then the chemical reactions that would normally occur there are impended. It could be your plant is yellow not because it is missing nitrogen, but because it is too wet for chemical interactions. Wait until the soil is dry down to your first or second knuckle before watering.
• The quickest way to kill a potted plant is to over water it. Hey, you might think, “It looks sick, I think I’ll give it some water.” Stop and consider. Constantly wet, as opposed to moist, soil dramatically increases the likelihood of fungal disease and soil insect infestations… Fungus gnats – oh, those fungus gnats.
• oh, did I mention under watering? This is as bad as over watering and many people’s first response to an over watering issue is to over-react and under water. But without moisture throughout your root ball, your roots will begin to wither – dead roots invite disease and insects.
Getting worried yet? Well, don’t. Just study your plant and its needs and apply same. Use the good old internet to give you more information than you want to know 🙂