Plants are water drinkers.
Watering is the most critical part of raising plants and it takes a long time to learn about plant habits as the frequency and quantity differ with plant type, size and growth stage.
Watering provides turgidity to plant parts, most plants take nutrition and essential supplies from the soil through the water.
It regulates plant temperature and helps it to overcome heat shock.
Water is an essential element for photosynthesis and making food for plants.
When to water?
Plants don't talk or move when they feel thirsty but they show signs of being thirsty.
Growing media index
The prime source of water is through growing media. Check the growing media for moisture by simply looking for cracks and crevices on it. The dried and hydrated soil media shows cracks but soilless media may not show the same.
The soilless media like cocopeat, peat moss, and soil rite may not show cracks instead you may observe the change in colour from darker shades to lighter.
The pot-mix media containing more than one or two ingredients is difficult to judge for watering simply by visual observation. To check these media for water, simply poke figures into it and check the moisture level. The wet fingers indicate no need to water the plant.
There should be an adequate gap between two consecutive watering cycles. Wet growing media hampers plant growth and choke nutrient intake. Allow media to dry in between two watering cycles.
Drooping of leaves and branches
The water-stressed plant shows sagging leaves, and withered young leaves, it is caused due to dehydration and loss of turgidity. The drooping of leaves is very common among Drama plants like Calethea, Peace lily, Stronanthe, Impatience and Azaleas - these plants also respond very well once they are watered thoroughly.
Yellowing of the leaves
Yellowing is an advanced stage of dehydration, the stressed plant turns leaves into yellow colour due to no photosynthetic activity and advancement of senescence.
At this stage, few plants may recover but the leaves which already turned yellow may grow older and faded away.
Take and dip pot plants thoroughly in a bucket of water, if not possible water the plant and spray the foliage with water for faster recovery.
Premature leaf/ flower/ fruit drop
Few plants take water stress as climate drought and start shedding their leaves, flowers, and even fruits. Water these plants immediately.
Browning or burning of the growing tips/ twigs
The browning or burning of the growing tip or branches is characterized by extreme water stress. These plants require special attention to recover.
Based on water requirements, plants can be grouped as follows-
High or regular water-loving plants-
These plants require water almost daily or every alternate day.
Examples - Calathea, Stromanthe, Azalea, Impatience, Peace lily, Seasonal flowers, Money plant, Philodendrons
Moderate water-loving plants -
These plants can be watered twice a week or at intervals of 2 to 3 days
Examples - Aglaonema, Dieffenbachia, Dracaena, Palms, Croton, Syngonium etc...
Low water-loving plants-
These plants can be watered once a week or at intervals of 4 to 5 days.
Examples - Sansevieria, Rubber plants, Zamia or ZZ plant, Succulents, and Cactus etc...
The interval of the watering can be changed as per season, and climatic conditions like winds, temperature, and air humidity.
You can increase the frequency of watering during summer and lower it during the summer season and vice-versa. During the winter season, the frequency of watering can be kept moderately to a lower side.
How to water?
Most gardeners and plant parents prefer watering their plants manually.
If you are watering pot plants with a hosepipe, keep water pressure on the lower side. Fill the pots and let the water drain through the pot.
Using a water can for pot plant watering is the most preferred method of watering. You can easily adjust the discharge and flow of the water and let it drain through the media to water it properly.
If you have more than 50 pot plants in a single place, drip irrigation can be installed with or without a timer to save on time and energy.