5 Signs It’s Time To Water

By Mary Ellen Ellis | August 10, 2019
by Mary Ellen Ellis
August 10, 2019

Watering is every gardener’s least favorite chore, but it has to be done. Even the toughest plants will ultimately succumb if you fail to water them. Watering is a chore because it’s time consuming and pretty boring, but it can also be hard to get right. Different plants have different watering needs, so how do you know when it’s time to soak the roots again? Here are 5 tell-tale signs to look for when it’s time to water:

1. If it’s drooping, it’s time to water. As the water content in the leaves and stems drops too low, your plant will begin to droop. Without water they don’t have the structure necessary to stay upright. Ideally, you will water your plants before they wilt and droop, but this is still better than overwatering.

Photo by Nikki Tilley

2. Check the soil moisture. To water your plants before they start to droop and before you cause more serious damage to them, check the soil. Stick your finger right in there, and if it’s dry two to three inches (5 to 7.6 cm.) down, it’s time to water.

3. Feel the weight. For your potted plants, check the weight to determine if watering is necessary. This can be a good substitute for getting your hands dirty. A well-watered plant will be heavy, while one in dry soil is much lighter. Over time, you’ll get a feel for how heavy each pot should be, so when it feels light, give it a soak.

Photo by 8ran.

4. Try a moisture meter. If you really struggle to determine when your plants need watering, or if you have one that is particularly finicky, you may want to try a moisture meter. This is a digital device that you stick in the soil. Simply read the display to find out when water content in the soil is getting low.

5. Do a visible health check. There are some important visual signs that your plant is getting thirsty and, in fact, these indicate you’ve probably been ignoring its needs for too long and need to get into a more regular watering schedule. These signs include: browning on the leaf edges, flowers dropping off early, severely drooping leaves.

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