Have you ever noticed that when you ask a professional how often you should water your plants, the answer is usually, “when they are dry.” Well please listen to that answer, as it is the most accurate, especially over “once a week.” The number one reason for the death of all plants grown at home is over-watering. Either they are watered too often or they are allowed to set in water, such as in a saucer full of water.
The correct phrase for watering your plants is, “water thoroughly, but do not allow your plants to sit in water.” This sentence does not ever say how often you should water because the timing varies. It varies because of many factors; such as how often the sun is shining and how long is the day length. In the winter the day length is very short, so your plants need to be watered less often. If your home is especially warm during the winter, then you may need to increase your watering.
Other factors can play a role in when to water such as, are you trying to grow these plants in a hurry or are you simply just trying to keep them alive until the spring and summer season. An example of the latter is in the case of a hibiscus tree or mandevilla, or even geraniums. Only water once a month, or less, just to keep them alive. Again, water thoroughly, but not often. It’s ok if these plants wilt a little.
Now in the case of blooming plants, especially African violets, you must keep these plants more on the moist side which means you need to be very careful with your watering habits. Also, tropical foliage plants in your home must be watched more closely, but again, allow them to dry out more during the dark winter days. And fertilizers should not be applied during gloomy weather as plant food gets eaten up best when the sun is shining.
No, you cannot simply say that you water your plants once a week. My favorite way to decide if my plants need watered is to pick them up and see how heavy they are. There is a rule-of-thumb for watering which goes like this; “During the winter, if your plants are dry, water them tomorrow…during the summer, if your plants are dry, you should have watered them yesterday.”
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