This article was written in collaboration with Nicolas Wayne, a lawn care and gardening expert.
Link to his blog: https://nicolaslawn.com/
Errors with watering are the most common cause of problems with indoor plants. Fearing a drought, trying to give the plants the best care, it is so easy to overdo it! But overflows or too frequent watering can lead to nutritional problems, problems with air access, and rot. Only a few indoor crops will survive waterlogging. But even those species that require a stable “mode” of humidity will not cope with souring. For most of your favorite plants, it is much better to under-water than Vice versa.
Waterlogging – too abundant or frequent watering-does not allow the substrate to dry out, disrupts the structure and air permeability of the soil, creates an ideal environment for the development of pathogenic microflora and, as a result, leads to rotting roots and shoots. Stagnation of water in pallets, lack of normal drainage, corking with puddles at the top-for the soil is equally dangerous.
One or two mistakes of the plant may not be noticed, but the more and longer these problems continue, the stronger the damage. Loss of elasticity, fading, falling of healthy leaves, brown or black spots are quite obvious symptoms.
But it is much easier to understand everything by the soil itself (acidic or mildewy, sometimes ammonia smell, sticking, release of drops when squeezed).
For most indoor crops (except Cyperus and aquatic species), under-watering is better than over-watering. And although a complete drought will also appeal only to cacti, the risks of waterlogging the soil are much greater than from more careful watering.
Bulbous, cacti, and succulents – from fat women and aloes to sansevierias and hippeastrums-have become famous for their fear of overflow. They rot at the slightest excess of moisture. But among the “normal” houseplants, there are many crops that will not cope with dampness. Low resistance to too much watering is not always obvious, because many plants like constant humidity and do not tolerate complete drought.
Let’s take a closer look at 6 popular indoor plants, for which it is better to treat watering with caution.
It is difficult to say that this rather large and bright shrub is more attractive – wrinkled dark leaves with thick light veins or bright spike-shaped inflorescences with unusual bracts. Afellandram need a cool winter, but with it to avoid problems without moderate regular watering even in summer will not work.
Stagnation of water for afellandra is disastrous, saving plants with a strong waterlogging of the substrate will only be possible by re-rooting the tops.
There is little that can compare with the flowering of clivia. Blooming the more luxuriantly the older it gets, it is no accident that clivia has earned the nickname of the Kaffir Lily. Luxurious tubular flowers in racemes of inflorescences over lush fans of tongue-shaped leaves require special care and conditions. But the biggest mistake in growing clivia will be inattentive watering.
This plant categorically does not tolerate stagnation of water in pallets. Drain excess moisture should be immediately after watering. And before the next procedure, you must make sure that the upper 3-4 cm of the soil is completely dry.
3. Decorative pepper.
Flaunting a scattering of colorful fruits that change color as they Mature, compact and very attractive decorative pepper is strikingly sensitive to excessive humidity. It is worth a couple of times to pour pepper-and the bushes can die within just a few days.
For decorative pepper, you need to maintain a constant, but light humidity of the substrate. Stagnation of water in the pan is much more dangerous than strong drying of the soil.
Fire violet episcia seems to be one of the simplest indoor plants due to the love of warmth and modest care. But despite its sensitivity to complete drying of the substrate, even more frightening for this amazing indoor plant with velvety leaves, thin flexible shoots and bright scarlet tubular flowers is the stagnation of water and too diligent watering.
Health episcia needs an easy uniform humidity. Any soaking during sloppy watering, stagnation of water in the pan or too generous watering leads to a rapid spread of rot not only on the roots, but also on the shoots of the plant.
The Christmas star with its upper bract leaves that look so bright in winter interiors is rarely saved for the next year. But even when grown as a seasonal plant, poinsettia requires more careful care than is commonly believed. And it’s not just about the cool, stable lighting and the correct dressing, but also constant monitoring of the moisture content of the substrate.
Water stagnation is the main cause of leaf shedding. Even with light overflows, poinsettia will lose its decorative appearance in a matter of weeks.
Exemplary luxury flowers with inimitable textures and beautiful dark leaves of this indoor legend more than pay for the complexity of growing and the need to find a cold place to bloom. Despite sufficient moisture-loving properties and recommendations for stable soil moisture, Camellia does not tolerate overflow.
For Camellia, it is worth giving the upper layer of soil to dry out between watering. And when the period of rest begins-and flowering – the substrate must be dried by half. You can check the humidity manually or using special indicators.
Other plants that do not tolerate overflow
Plants that better “last” than waterlogged include saw, clerodendron, bryophyllum, calceolaria, philodendron, cypress and spruce, Gardenia, Hoya, ixora, Jasmine, haemanthus, justice, fremontia, anredera, saloma, fatshederu, aspidistra, alocasia, anigozanthus, Allamanda, Campanula, Catharanthus, peperomiya, zamioculcas, vriesea plant, pandanus, banana, Myrtle, kriptantus, dieffenbachia, cordyline, Yucca and dracaena, calathea, Cissus, ekzakum, Gloriosa, eucharis, pachystachya, Saintpaulia, Anthurium.
What should I do if the plant is “overfilled”?
To prevent excessive dampness of the soil, it is enough to remember the three basic rules of reasonable watering:
- Study what humidity is needed for a particular species and carefully follow the recommendations for watering (differences at different stages of development, the degree of drying of the substrate, the method of watering, etc.)
- Always check how dry the soil is before watering again.
- Check the water quality and temperature.
- In any doubtful situation, you should choose the safest option – a little more careful, sparse watering, than Vice versa.
- No matter how frightening the consequences of too much watering, they are not irreversible. Overflows will lead to the death of the plant only if the situation is “triggered”.
If the mistakes with watering were not permanent, a simple correction of care will help. Before the next watering, the soil should be allowed to dry deeper, carefully loosen it at least in the surface layer, put the pot on moisture-absorbing materials (sand, perlite, towels, etc.) to quickly “remove” excess moisture from the lower layers of the substrate. And to change the frequency in the future.
If there are signs of damage to the roots, moldy soil, simple measures can not get off. An emergency transplant is a complex and often disastrous procedure, but it is also the only way out of the situation. Pruning of all damaged areas after washing and inspection of the roots, treatment with fungicides and drying of sections with planting in a new disinfected substrate are typical for any emergency transplant.
If the rot has reached the points of growth and shoots, you will have to save the plant by propagation — re-rooting the top or cutting cuttings to obtain healthy offspring.