BENGALURU: Are you watering your plants right? Water is used for transpiration; it carries nutrients from the soil to the green plant tissues. Plants can synthesise food through photosynthesis only in the presence of water in their system. The water pressure in a plant is what makes it stand up erect. But the dos and dont’s of watering can be tricky.First, understanding your plant’s needs is important. Not all plants need the same amount of water. The weather also plays an important role in deciding the quantity of water needed. One must also have an understanding of the right time of the day to water and how much water needs to be given.
During summer, make sure that no mater what, your plants are watered daily. On the other hand, in monsoon or winter, go easy with watering but do not dehydrate the plant. Monsoon can be tricky weather so study the soil’s moisture. Some parts of the garden may not have received rainwater, so check every plant and then decide which ones need water. Excessive watering cuts off the air supply, causing the roots to suffocate, rot and eventually die.
Knowing when to water your plants is also equally important. The best time to do so is early morning or early evening. Avoid watering during peak sunny hours as the droplets left on the leaves will work as a prism, causing the sun’s rays to burn the leaf. Do not water late at night as the plant breathes at night, so the soil needs to be semi-dry and not wet by then.
A misconception during summer is that watering in small quantities several times a day keeps the soil cool for the plant. This is wrong. The way to do it is water once but water well till the entire soil content is wet and the excess water drains out. You should know roots go only as deep as it can find water. So shallow watering will cause shallow growth of roots leading to weaker plants. At any point, if you notice the leaves drooping, it’s a clear sign the plant is thirsty.
Protecting your plants from the scorching sun is a must. If your plants are exposed to harsh sun on the terrace, it would be a good idea to create some shade using a shade net. You could also mulch the soil.
Lastly, watering the foliage is equally important. Remove all dead leaves, dried flowers and dead branches daily and spray the foliage to wash away any accumulated dust on leaves to stimulate better breathing.
The author is a landscape designer, architect and founder of Sunshine’s Nest & Gardens.
When to water plants
■ During summer, water your plants daily
■ In monsoon or winter, go easy with watering but do not dehydrate the plant
■ Avoid watering during peak sunny hours as the droplets left on the leaves will work as a prism, causing the sun’s rays to burn the leaf
■ Do not water late at night as the plant breathes at night, so the soil needs to be semi-dry