Watering: Some advice
will emphasise the plants' thirst without warning of the dangers
of over-watering. Over-watering may encourage root-rot.
not need to have the soil constantly soaked. Allow the topsoil to
dry out between watering. To help with this I tend to water
the plants from the bottom, that is, by adding water to the saucer rather than
pouring over the top of the soil. This gives the topsoil a chance to remain
relatively dry and not constantly saturated. The topsoil can be wetted
occasionally, but if it doesnít also get a chance to dry out between times youíll more
likely suffer from bugs (see 'unhealthy' signs section), not only that but mould and/or fungi growing on the
During the summer I usually water about
once a week, possibly more often during a hot spell. During the
winter I water every fortnight (approximately). This is based on my plants in
large pots (25-30cm), smaller pots will need watering more often, but if you are
forgetful then the plant will tell you it's thirsty by wilting. After watering it will soon perk up, without too much harm being done.
In fact, I use this as an occasional technique to ensure that the
roots are not (have not been) waterlogged for months on end. What I do, unless Iím going away on holiday or
something when I wonít be
able to keep my eye on them, is I sometimes don't water a plant until
it actually starts to wilt. When it does, then Iíll fill the saucer that the pot is standing in.
The water is quickly soaked up, so Iíll
fill it again until standing in a steady 3 to 4 cm of water. The plant quickly picks up
I figure that by occasionally leaving plants until they just start to wilt, the soil is
guaranteed not to become waterlogged long-term, i.e. you can be
sure the soil has dried out this way. Don't do this all the time
though, because you'll just stress the plant. Frequent moderate watering
is fine for most of the time. Letting the plant wilt is just an occasional
option to guard against a build up of water over a longer period, which could increase
the risk of root-rot. Thatís my theory anyway.
The technique of 'flooding' the plants is of course handy if you are leaving
the plants unattended for a while. If you especially saturate the soil and
leave them standing in a good depth of water, there is no reason why you can't
leave them for a couple of weeks. This assumes that you have them in a
fairly big pot with a fairly deep saucer.