How often should you water flowers? Which plants are watered from above and which from below? We reveal what you should pay attention to when watering plants in your home and garden. There are many myths and half-truths about watering. Although correct watering is essential for a plant to thrive, the watering instructions provided are often only very general and of little help.
The reason for this is that unfortunately there is no general answer to casting. And that’s exactly where the problem lies: In addition to the pot size, temperature, soil type, and solar radiation, there are many other factors that influence the amount of irrigation water required. Nevertheless, we will try to bring the topic a little closer to you. Because once you have dealt with the subject of casting more intensively, with a little experience you will quickly become a casting professional!
Properly water plants in the garden
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Watering the plants is one of the main tasks in the garden. And with good reason: In addition to the rays of the sun and nutrient-rich soil, water is one of the essential basic needs of a plant. In almost all plants, water is absorbed through the roots – there are rare exceptions, such as the tillandsia, which absorb moisture through their leaves. In addition to the water, nutrients also get into the plant via the roots. Since these can only be absorbed through the moist soil, watering plants also ensures the supply of nutrients.
It is therefore very important to always water the entire root ball when watering. In addition to the uptake of nutrients, the air supply is also a crucial point. If the soil is watered thoroughly and cannot dry off between waterings, there is a risk of oxygen starvation. Only aquatic plants can supply their roots with oxygen through special organs. Our typical garden plants cannot do this and die without sufficient access to air in the soil. Correct watering not only influences the water balance, but also the nutrient and oxygen uptake of the plant.
How often should you water flowers in the garden?
There is no general answer to the question of how often you should water flowers and the like in the garden. In fact, the frequency of watering is heavily dependent on all sorts of factors. The biggest one is the weather: If it is pouring rain anyway, no additional watering in the garden is necessary. In the case of prolonged dry periods, on the other hand, watering can be used. The season also plays a decisive role, because plants need more water and nutrients during their growing season than in winter.
In winter, watering should therefore only be used when there is prolonged drought and only during frost-free periods, otherwise the plants can be damaged. The nature of the soil, the type of exposure, and of course the type of plant can also lead to variations in watering. Deeply rooted trees often do not need any additional water supply, even in midsummer, while some types of vegetables should be watered additionally in spring.
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How often the plants need to be watered depends on many factors. But how do you find out how often you have to water your garden? Often, simple observation can give a gardener good information about the water supply in his garden: Crumbly and cracked soil, which also feels dry under the surface, is the first indication of a lack of moisture. If the plants also show drooping, sagging flowers or leaves, they should definitely be watered again. The following applies: Many plants prefer a complete watering of the entire root ball – so it is better to water once a week with a larger amount than just a little daily. It is, therefore, optimal to observe your garden and always adjust the watering individually to your own garden and the current weather conditions.
Summary: How often do I have to water flowers and Co. in the garden?
- No general statement possible
- Watering intervals depending on weather, soil conditions, plant species, etc.
- Signs of drought: Crumbly, cracked soil, and withered plants
- It is better to completely moisten the root ball instead of watering small amounts every day
- Watering intervals always have to be individually adapted to the garden and weather conditions
Should you pour when it is hot?
Especially in midsummer, plants depend on additional water from watering: long periods of drought cause a shortage of water in the soil, at the same time the heat ensures that the remaining water slowly evaporates. It is therefore particularly important that the plants are also watered in summer. But many gardeners fear watering flowers in the heat, as it can cause sunburn on the plants. In fact, plants should not be watered in the blazing midday sun: water droplets then have a magnifying glass effect on the leaves and can burn the leaves. It is, therefore, better to water in the early morning hours: here the temperature is significantly cooler and there is also less evaporation.
Tips for watering bedding plants
Bedding plants can root through a large volume of soil and therefore need less watering than potted plants. Nevertheless, the garden plants also need a little water every now and then in order to remain vital and healthy. Bedding plants should be watered well, especially after they have been planted: This closes the cavities between the root ball and the garden soil and the plant grows faster. After planting, the watering intervals should become longer and longer. This is the only way for the plant to “look” for water with its roots and develop a sufficient root volume. With well-developed roots, plants are more robust during longer periods of heat and generally need less watering.
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Whether and when the bedding plants have to be watered during dry periods depends to a large extent on the nature of the soil in the bed: heavy, humus-rich and loamy soil can store an extremely large amount of water. In contrast, sandy soils need to be watered much more often. If the soil is dry and the plants are withered, the bedding plants should definitely be watered. Many gardeners wonder whether the plants need to be watered from below or above. The answer is relatively simple: It is best to distribute the water evenly on the root of the plant, so it should be poured from below. If, on the other hand, flowers and the like are watered from above, the moisture on the leaves can promote fungal infections.
Tips for watering container and potted plants on the balcony
In contrast to bedding plants, potted plants have much less substrate available and can only root through a much smaller space. This limited space ensures that potted plants are watered significantly more often. The potted plants need additional water, especially in spring and autumn, as their tubs only have a limited volume. In summer, too, potted plants need more water because their pot warms up faster and so evaporation is higher. Similar to bedding plants, the condition of the soil is also a good indicator of whether watering is necessary for potted plants. In the case of smaller plants, the weight can also serve as an indicator of the water balance: If the plant feels unusually light, this may be due to the lack of water – so it is time to water the plant again.
Another difference between watering potted plants and plants in beds is their special substrate: potted plants are usually potted in potting soil made from peat and not in topsoil. Peat can store a lot of water and thus helps to avoid frequent watering. But be careful: you must never let peat dry out completely! Dry peat is water-repellent and can store water much more poorly – as a result, peat can even mean that potted plants have to be watered more frequently. For this reason as well as from a sustainable point of view, peat is being avoided more and more often. Biological alternatives are, for example, soils made from wood fibers and coconut fibers. The water storage properties are not quite as good here as with peat. On the other hand, alternative earth does not become water-repellent when they dry out and often has a better CO2 balance.
Does your potted plant consume an unusually large amount of water and has to be watered several times a day? This phenomenon can arise from an unfavorable ratio of the plant size to the pot size. If a plant, due to its size, needs more water than the limited substrate in the pot can offer, it requires more water. Repotting the plant in a larger container can quickly fix this problem and significantly extend watering intervals.
Watering indoor plants correctly: how and how often?
Indoor plants are completely dependent on the water supply from humans and therefore die particularly quickly if they are neglected. It is all the more important to ensure that the indoor plants are watered correctly. But how often do you have to water indoor plants? This is particularly dependent on the respective plant species: cacti and succulents, for example, have a particularly low water requirement and are allowed to dry out briefly between watering, while exotic indoor plants from rainforests have a particularly high water requirement and prefer uniformly moist soil. In addition, attention must be paid to the development phase of the houseplant. Plants need a lot of water when they are in bloom, but rarely need watering when they are resting. In addition, influences such as solar radiation, room temperature, and humidity can influence how often you have to water indoor plants.
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In order to determine whether it is the right time to water a houseplant, you should take a close look at the substrate of the plant: With your finger, you can penetrate one to two centimeters into the substrate and feel whether it is completely dry. If so, the time has come to water most houseplants. In addition, a low weight, a hollow noise when knocking on the clay pot, or the peeling of the substrate from the edge of the pot can be an indication of dryness.
If the houseplants are watered, it is important to find the right size here too. The root ball should be well moistened, but there should also be no waterlogging. After watering you should therefore wait a quarter to half an hour and check the coaster. If excess water collects in this, it should be poured away – this will avoid waterlogging.
Water plants with tap water
Everyone knows this myth. You should always water plants with rainwater or well water if possible. Just no tap water! But why? Many hobby gardeners and unfortunately also experts claim that tap water is too hard for our plants. It is true that many plants prefer a pH value of 6 – 6.5 – but tap water can also have a pH value of 8 and higher. The pH value of tap water is therefore often too high for our plants. However, it is often forgotten that plants release organic acids into the soil to absorb nutrients and thereby lower the pH value themselves.
The high pH value of the tap water is thus compensated for. It is therefore no worse for our plants if they are watered with tap water. Only in the case of plants that prefer very acidic soil and are sensitive to lime, such as azaleas ( rhododendron ) or blueberries ( Vaccinium myrtillus ), can make sense to forego particularly calcareous tap water and instead pour rainwater.
As you can see, we cannot offer any general solution proposals for correct pouring either. However, if the above tips are taken into account and you have a rough idea of the water requirements your plants have, nothing should go wrong. Most plants are more robust than you think and even if they are extremely limp, they usually recover quickly after watering.