With over watering being the #1 cause of plant death, it's makes sense that watering day can come with some anxiety. Frequently, our plant doctors come across folks that are so scared to over water, they end up underwatering... sometimes severely.
Know that a tablespoon is definitely not going to cut it. Your plant will be droopy and parched, and you'll be sad and confused. Here's a secret: as long as your pot has drainage, you can use as much water as you want. What matters is the frequency in which you water. As long as the soil had the chance to dry properly in between watering days, go ahead and let it rain down.
We've answered some FAQs to help make sure you're quenching your plants' thirst going forward.
How much water should I use?The goal is to soak the soil each time. Slowly water in circular motions to ensure even saturation, and check that water is steadily trickling out of the drainage hole. If your pot doesn't have drainage, limit your water to about 50% of the pot. For example, if the pot is 1 gallon, use 1/2 gallon of water. This will ensure saturation, but won't create a root rot-causing pool at the bottom of the pot.
How do I make sure my soil is retaining moisture properly?If water quickly drains out of your pot, pools on top soil, or dries within a couple of days, you may be experiencing an issue with moisture retention. This basically means your soil is not holding onto water long enough for the roots to take what they need. Old or dry soil can become compacted and hydrophobic over time. In this case, it’s best to repot with fresh soil or loosen/aerate the soil before watering. This can help with absorption.
How do I aerate my soil?
If you’re not quite ready to repot, but notice a retention problem, you can use a chopstick or pencil to carefully poke holes in the soil–this will temporarily loosen it up, allowing water to flow easier. Try to stick to the perimeter of the pot to avoid damaging roots. When you get around to repotting, use additives such as perlite, vermiculite, or sand to create air pockets. You can also grab a potting mix that already contains one or more of these components, and you'll be set up for success.
If you're still unsure about watering, don't be shy. Text our Plant Doctor Hotline at (646)430-8699, and we'll walk you through it. 💦