Watering plants: measure soil moisture for proper plant care
Here you will find a list of frequently asked questions about watering plants – indoors, container plants or other potted plants. But also information about the care of the lawn and plants in the yard or vegetable garden.
Indoor plants and watering: frequently asked questions about watering plants
- How much water should I give my houseplants?
- How high is the humidity level?
- When should I water my houseplant or potted plant?
- What kind of water do I give to my houseplant or potted plant?
- What temperature should the water of potted plants be?
- How do I water large potted plants such as balcony and / or patio plants?
There is no general rule of thumb for watering plants because every plant is unique: one plant has large leaves and comes from a tropical rainforest, while the other plant comes from a higher mountains area where it always rains, or from a desert where it is always dry for example. So each plant has its own water requirements.
However, the moisture content or the humidity level of the soil can be measured by smart instruments that keep you informed of the water needs of your plant. Ideal for plant lovers who want to take good care of their plants. You give water when needed.
Plants with large leaves consume a lot more water than plants with firmer, thicker leaves (such as succulents). Also, the size of the plant matters. A professional grower is able to calculate the water requirements of a plant, but that probably goes too far for you as an individual lover. However, you can measure the moisture content in the soil with the thirsty-light and the soil moisture meter to know when the plant needs water.
The season also plays a big role in the amount of water a houseplant needs. In winter (dormant), the water requirement is almost next to nothing. But during the growing season it varies from plant to plant. Some like lots of water and others don’t. With the thirsty-light, you can very easily set the water requirement, see also thirsty-light website.
Example, if you have a palm tree of 2 meters that is in a container of only 10 liters, it is fair to assume that this container plant is in a pot that is way too small and you’d need to water it continuously. If you have a large container of 50 liters with a banana tree of 30 cm, then you almost never need to water it. So, the size of a potted plant in relation to the size of the pot also plays a major role. The thirsty-light will immediately alert you here if water is necessary but also our soil moisture meter will keep you informed about the water needs of your plants.
The soil itself is also very important for watering plants, your houseplants! Can the soil retain enough water and yet still be airy? Or is your plant in clay soil which makes watering almost impossible? Or is it sandy soil, where the water runs through it? The soil should absorb the water well, and have a good buffer for food. In addition, an excellent drainage is important to avoid stagnant water and preventing root rot. Well aired potting soil for your indoor plant is of great importance. Many houseplants are in the same soil for too long (sometimes several years) that is often completely leached.
It goes without saying that a potted plant will consume more water in the sun than in the shade. It may be quite difficult to give it the right amount of water in these different conditions. For this, the thirsty-light and the soil moisture meter are handy gardening tools by using them permanently in the pot. They will notify you when you should water them.
Some plants (eg cactus) like dry air, other (many of tropical plants) prefer a much higher humidity level. Of course, more water is consumed in dry air. The thirsty-light and the soil moisture meter will measure the effects of humidity in the soil and indicate per plant whether or not watering is necessary.
When watering plants? The answer to the question of when water has to be given to potted plants, inside or outside, is generally simple. It is generally advised to water in the morning, and that indeed the right time, because it’s cool early in the day. This applies to both potting soil and for water. If you water patio plants with cold tap water in the late afternoon in summer, the thermal shock will be the greatest and many plants don’t like that. Citrus trees, for example, will get yellow leaves within a few days.
Rainwater is definitely the best water to give to your houseplants. It hardly contains salts (EC = minimal with low pH), so it must be fertilized regularly.
Tap or mineral water contain many minerals (high EC to 0.8 mS / cm) and calcium (high pH to 8) which causes rapid blockage in plants. Especially bicarbonates play a major role here. It is therefore advisable to mix rainwater with tap water
Houseplants or potted are container plants, which means they are in a pot with a limited amount of soil. The water that is administered, including all salts contents, end up right in the pot. The plant absorbs the salts (nutrients) that it needs in the form of dissolved salts, called ions. Water is how these salts are transported. If there are many unabsorbable salts in the water that the plant doesn’t use, then the salts remain behind in the pot and gradually accumulate. This is also referred to as salinity which is harmful to the plant.
The best temperature is room temperature, this is the same temperature that the plant itself has in order to avoid thermal shock. In the summer we prefer a cold shower, but plants don’t. Keep the thermal shock as minimal as possible. Tropical and subtropical plants suffer the most from thermal shock. That why these plants are often in a greenhouse, to prevent a change in temperature as much as possible.
How do I watering plants in large containers such as balcony and / or patio plants? Some plants are in large pots and end up on the patio in the spring, right in the full sun. Thus, a lot of water is required. So, you can water plentiful in the morning, not too quickly of course, until water comes out the bottom of the pot. This also immediately drains out the salinity, but don’t do this too intensely because otherwise you flush out the rich potting soil. Also make sure that the fertilization is done properly, because also fertilizers flush away. The frequency of giving the plant water depends greatly on the plant and the conditions.
With a thirsty-light in the pot of the plant, you will be alerted when the plant is thirsty. This gardening tool measures the moisture content of the soil every second.
A soil moisture meter measures the moisture content in the soil of your plant and indicates whether or not you should water the plant.