Friday, July 6, 2012

Perils of Watering Houseplants

For those who choose to beautify their home with house plants, here are tips to help avoid some of the common causes of plant death.

Some people under water their houseplants.  This is not disastrous; the plants won’t grow as vigorously as well watered plants. And if the plant is wilting, adding water, in most cases, will revive it.

On the other hand, overwatering can often be the death of a plant.  Many people gauge watering by looking at the surface of the soil.  The problem is that the surface may be dry, but down a few inches and more, where the roots are, the soil is still wet.  This is especially true with nonporous containers.  Digging with a small trowel or even a finger will indicate if the soil is moist below the surface. 

Worse yet, some people will irrigate on a schedule. The water requirement of plants, however, will vary depending upon temperature (winter/summer), humidity (rain/shine), drafts (open windows), and the use of heaters, fans or air conditioners. The soil is the best indicator not the calendar!

After watering, the excess water needs to be disposed of.  Leaving standing water can lead to serious root rot.