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The Plant Watering Finger Test

KalamainDec 31, 2017, 2:02:54 PM

Many people ask about when or how often they should water their indoor plants. The trite and easy answer is 'When they need it', but when is that?

Well... Obviously this will vary from plant type to plant type, how warm/dry your house is and what time of the year we are talking about. 

The first thing to do it to look up what your plant generally needs. Some plants like Roses, Amaryllis and many others like the soil to dry out between waterings. Some other plants such as the umbrella palm and Kraus’ spikemoss need to have their soil stay moist at all times. 

You can look up your plants here via the RHS site.


Once you now what your plant generally wants you can move on from there.
I want to teach you all a simple trick I learned a few years ago, it's known as "The finger test". 

Very simply, clear a small patch of soil where it is loose. If the soil is hard-packed on the top it may be a good idea to rough it up a little to allow the water to soak easier. you want to push your finger down so that you are about a half inch from the soil top. If the soil feels damp then you can leave it. If it feels dry there then it will need a watering. 

If your plant likes to dry out then you can leave the watering till tomorrow, but plants that need to be kept moist cannot wait and need watering. 

Remember that you should always err on the side of caution... Don't over-water your plants!

One more thing to note is that over time you will likely learn that your plants may not follow exactly what the "norm" is. This is fine, just like people, plants can be picky buggers!
Just make a note when you water and how they respond to it. 

One small thing to note is that some plants should be watered from the bottom due to their delicate leaves. The African Violet (Saintpaulia) is a prime example of this!

Please, when watering your house plants, don't use water straight from the tap. In most cases this will be too cold for them and will impact the roots. Stick your feet in cold water and tell me how you like it!
Allow the water to sit for a good hour to get to room temperature before watering. 
If you can, try replacing tap water with rain water. This will be far better in any case.

#Plants #Gardening #Houseplants #Watering #Soil