Watering plants is not a one-way process. You can have an abstract guideline to when the perfect time is, but it is kind of like you. Think of your feeding patterns. Do you feel hungry at the same exact time every day? Of course not! It depends on the activities you did that day, the place you are at and the mood you are in. It is kind of the same way for plants – a lot of variables. This blog will help you understand how each variable is tied to the other so that you get a better idea on this age-old question – “When should I water my plant?”
Most Plants sustain themselves using light but the photosynthesis reaction also uses water. So for the layman “more light = more water usage” and vice-versa “less light = less water usage”. Always do keep in mind that day length and daily weather patterns affect how much light reaches your plant.
It is quite self-explanatory that when it is hotter, evaporation of water and other chemical reactions move faster. This means that “higher temperature = more water usage/loss by evaporation”. Don’t forget that this happens at the soil surface but also from leaves. If you remember anything from your grade school biology textbook, this process is called transpiration.
Big surprise here – Humidity affects the rate of evaporation and transpiration. Sarcasm aside, “More humidity = less evaporation” and vice versa. Transpiration may still occur because plants do this thing where they keep their pores (“stomata”) open for other survival reasons (like gas exchange).
The composition of soil and the physical structure of the container has been observed to have profound effects on the water available to the plant. Your usual houseplant soil is typically a mixture of peat (holds water), sharp sand (drains water), perlite (drains water), vermiculite (holds water and drains water). Go ahead and mix these in different ratios to allow the grower to optimize the overall soil moisture for each type of plant. Did you know that some moisture-loving plants will have mostly peat while cacti grow best in mostly sand? To add to these factors, the container material and drainage characteristics greatly affect soil moisture. Its a known fact that plastic nursery pots hold moisture better than clay pots; a drainage hole allows excess water to leave the container when there is a sudden increase. Although this may be obvious, I can’t stress the fact that the more soil there is, the more water it can hold. So basically the overall pot size affects the watering frequency. Remember that every time, your soil will become compacted as roots repeatedly absorb moisture. Compacted soil has poor water retention ability. This is why it is important to gently loosen it occasionally to restore optimal soil structure.
Every plant is unique. They all have their unique characteristics and needs to be tended to differently. This is mainly because different plants have different abilities to store or release water. All these abilities are adapted for each of their native environments. Keep watch of how you
Now that you have learned about the variables that plant watering is base on, you know that there is no simple yes or no answer to your question. Now you can appreciate the myriad of factors affecting your watering habits. Make sure that you understand the importance of choosing which factors are worth taking control of and which ones you will simply accept.