The age old question(s) of how much water should I give my plants?, what is the best time of day to water?, and how should water be applied? does not have to be a brain rattler. While it is true that each individual plant and where it is sited is unique, we should always give our plants as much water as they need to thrive and survive. This is accomplished by monitoring your plants for signs of wilt and checking soil moisture levels to see if they are either getting enough water, not enough, or too much. A general rule of thumb for watering new plant material is to imagine the container in which the plant was grown in and fill that container up while watering. If it’s a one gallon plant, then water enough to fill that one gallon container and so on. To further answer the questions presented at the beginning of this blog and allow each and every one of us to think critically about watering, let’s use ourselves as the example to help us get inside ‘the mind’ of our new plants.
Consider the Plant’s Environment
First, think about how you spend your day. Do you work outside all day in the sun and heat, inside at a desk next to a window or in a shady spot, or a little bit of both? Do you move around a lot during the day and exert a great deal of energy or are you more of a move around when you get home type of person? Whatever the case, we are all similar in the sense that we need water to survive, yet different in the individual environments we create and lifestyles we live. If we spend enormous amounts of time outside and are constantly perspiring, we will need extra water to maintain homeostasis. If given this same amount of water while working inside and sweating infrequently or never, we may begin to feel a little off kilter or have the need to make frequent trips to the restroom because our bodies have to work overtime. The same holds true for not consuming enough water. Whether working inside or outside, if we do not consume enough water for what our bodies needs we may begin to feel sluggish, tired and not functioning at our maximum capabilities…need I say “wither and die”?
Water in Early Morning or Late Evening
Next, let’s reflect on when we consume water during the day. Our first instinct may be to only drink water as we become thirsty. While drinking water when you are thirsty is definitely a good habit, being proactive about hydration will allow the body to be less stressed and make you more prepared as conditions wax and wane. Like our own water needs and intake, plants absorb the most water in the early morning or late evening when conditions are mildest and use this water throughout the day as they transpire. Again, while chugging a glass of water after going on a jog or mowing the lawn feels amazing, we are often only replenishing what we lost and not using it for other important functions. It is much better to be preemptive than reactive when it comes to watering your plants, so, water in the early morning or late evening. Your plants will thank you!
Water at the Roots
Lastly, we need to understand how we consume or apply water to our bodies and how this correlates with watering our plant material. While humans can and do absorb water through their skin, it is minimal. Our most efficient way to transport H20 to other areas of our bodies that use it is through the mouth. A plant’s mouth is their root system while the leaves create the fuel for the plant through the process we know as photosynthesis. The best way to give a plant what it needs is directly at the source just as drinking a glass of water with your mouth will quench your thirst better than dumping that same glass of water on your head; therefore, the right pursuit means watering at the root!
Again, the best way to get to know your plants is to pay attention and monitor them. They will tell you if they are thirsty or have had enough. If you would like additional watering tips, please visit our website at: www.greenleafkc.com under the resources tab: Plant Watering. Or click this link for direct access to the Watering Guide pdf. Enjoy the remainder of the season and stay hydrated out there!