Water: Easy Does It
On our rounds of caring for plants at different accounts, we are pleased to find that many people are hosting tabletop plants at their desks. Plants that are personally cared for by the employee and lovingly cared for at that. We see Peace Lilies, Snake Plants, Schefflera, Spider Plants, and Anthurium peek up above the cubicles eagerly growing in the abundant artificial light of the cozy office space. It is clear that plants are having a moment and many of us are eager to jump in! Plants are for everyone to enjoy and we all have a claim to them.
We also see plants with blackened, yellowed, drooping leaves sitting in their own water just about to overflow onto the desk. You might be curious as to why your plants are perishing when you “water them all the time!”
First off, no shame. I just drained an Anthurium full of water from my dining room table. It is so dark in there I just kept adding water every week without looking or touching the soil. It happens. There certainly was no intentional neglect,—but I just about damn near killed it. Sorry Anthurium sweetie!
Indoor plants are not exposed to the natural environment and are for the most part trained to take water in relatively moderate amounts every 7-10 days. Their soil doesn’t dry out as easily because they are indoors.
Water is the number one killer of your plant. Too much water can lead to the roots drowning (suffocating without oxygen) and then will cause root rot, as seen by, yellowed or blackened leaves. Many of us like to nurture and truly enjoy giving our plants water. It just feels good to water them!
Instead of incessant watering, try talking to your plant and adopt this method instead:
1) What kind of plant is this and how do they like water? Peace Lilies enjoy very moist soil. ZZ plants prefer to dry out a little before a fresh watering.
2) Assess the soil: Not sure what’s going on in there? With your finger, touch about an inch or two into the surface of the soil. Dry or not?
Purchase an electronic soil moisture meter. Probe halfway down the pot and in between the stem and the rim of the container. You will get an accurate reading and know how much water is being held in the soil. I highly encourage you to purchase one. They range in price from $9.99-$40 and run off of batteries.
Does the container have proper drainage? Your container should have three-four drainage holes to allow water to flow into a cachepot or saucer. Otherwise, the water will collect in the bottom of the pot and cause root rot.
3) Water naturally finds pathways through soil and will sometimes drain out before reaching the roots. Ensure that you are watering all areas of the surface so that you can reach all of the roots.
4) If your plant is already dying and sitting in water, grab a turkey baster and suck out the water from the saucer.
5) Again, know the plant you are watering and what moisture it prefers. Typically, unless it is a large broad leafed plant, easy does it with the watering.
Good luck and keep growing!