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Watering Flowering House Plants

To ensure your houseplant's health, its important to remember to water it correctly. There a few factors that contribute to your plants watering needs.

a houseplant.

Photo: Paul Worthington

Its just as important to remember to not water your plant too much as it is to remember to water it enough.

Some of us receive flowering plants as gifts or buy them when it is too cold to keep them out of doors. Do you worry about how much water they need in heated homes? First we should read the label that is (hopefully) tucked into the pot. However, if its not there, there are other ways to find out how to water your plants correctly.

Prevent Soggy Soil

Remember, its just as important to not water your plant in excess as it is to not water your plant enough. Here’s why: Plants have little root hairs that absorb the water we give them. They can only absorb moisture if there is air in the soil as well. When soil dries out, oxygen can enter as the soil particles shrink, and the little root hairs can then access it. If we keep the soil soggy, the root hairs rot and we won’t realize that we are killing our plant until it is too late.

Thefore, what you should do is let the plant dry out and when the soil feels dry, water it deeply. The plant will signal it needs water by wilting, but it is best to water it just before it gets to this point. Plants that wilt occasionally will perk up, as long as they aren’t repeatedly deprived. Start by watering well once a week, check plants regularly and remember those root hairs.

The Container Matters When It Comes To Watering

You should watch your plants to become attuned to their needs, however, the container you use may affect the amount of watering your plant needs:

  • Small pots dry out faster than big ones
  • Porous clay pots dry out faster than plastic ones.
  • A plant with buds needs more water than one in full flower
  • A plant in a cool sunless spot won’t need as much to drink as a plant in a warm sunny place.
Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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