Watering House Plants – How To Get It Right

Watering House Plants – How To Get It Right


Houseplants come with mood-boosting qualities and the ability to brighten up any indoor space, yet so many people struggle and stress with the task of watering house plants and keeping them alive. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand how often to water indoor plants and share tips on getting the watering just right.

The importance of proper houseplant watering

We all know that plants need water. But different houseplants have different watering requirements, and there are several factors that determine how often you water your plants including watering method, plant species, humidity, sunlight, pot type, potting mix type and climate.

Houseplants thrive in summer and slow down in winter, just as we do. With less sunlight, shorter days, dry heated air and a chillier house in winter, their growth habits change, which means we need to adjust and reduce our watering.

How often should I be watering house plants?

Whilst it’s easy to stick to a houseplant watering regime at the same time and on the same day every week, it’s not ideal. A rigid watering schedule doesn’t take into account the individual needs of each plant, and some of them may suffer as a result of being watered more often than necessary. You should only water your houseplants as often as they need it, usually between 1–2 weeks—but this varies significantly.

It’s all about getting to know your plants. A plant is a living and breathing specimen, just like us, and it shows signs when it’s healthy, thirsty or sick. It’s a good idea to be engaged with your plant and check in on it every few days to see where it’s at. 

Overwatering and underwatering

The biggest killer when it comes to watering house plants isn’t actually underwatering, but overwatering. Many of us assume that a wilting plant needs more water, but chances are that more water won’t solve the issue and will likely make things worse. Obviously, a plant will wilt and die if it doesn’t get enough water. But it’s important to understand that whilst roots require water, they also need oxygen. If the soil is saturated with water, the air spaces in soil get choked with water, which means the roots can’t breathe and will eventually suffocate and rot.

Common symptoms in indoor plants are:

  • Underwatering: Wilting, crispy brown edges on leaves, leaves dropping, branch dieback
  • Overwatering: Yellowing leaves, mushy brown edges on leaves

Make sure your pots have drainage holes. This avoids “invisible” overwatering—allowing your plants to sit in water continually—and enables the water to drain out of the pot.

How to check if your plants need watering

Lift the pot

You can quickly gauge if a plant needs water by lifting the pot. A pot that feels a little light is about right for most houseplants, but if it feels very light, there isn’t much water content in the soil and therefore dry and requiring moisture. If it feels heavy, it’s a sign it has enough water and if you water it now, it may result in soggy soil and root rot. Again, it’s about getting to know your plants and their fluctuations in weight as their moisture content changes.

Feel the soil

To check if your plant is thirsty, dip your finger in the top layer of soil every few days. If it feels dry about an inch down, water the plant. If it feels wet or soil sticks to your fingers, come back in a few days. You don’t have to check every day, but it’s a good habit to do so a few times a week. This helps you get to know your plants individually and with time you’ll get better at predicting when they need water.

The golden rule is to do your research and check what your particular plant prefers. Tropical plants like to be quite dry before watering and desert plants need to dry out completely in between waterings, while ferns and forest floor dwellers prefer to be more on the moist side.

Use a soil moisture meter

We recommend using a soil moisture meter to get an accurate measure of how moist or dry your plant is. It takes the guesswork out of the process and you’ll know precisely when it’s time for watering house plants. It’s also particularly useful for plants that can’t be lifted easily.

To use the meter, you insert the prong into the soil and read the gauge about a quarter way down into the pot. Usually a wet reading at this point means you should wait before watering. For cacti and succulents, take a reading about halfway down in the pot as they want to dry out considerably between waterings. The meter will give you a clear reading of moisture levels, which you can use to decide if your plant is ready to water.

Houseplant watering methods

There are two methods for watering house plants: from the top or from the bottom.

To water from the top, gently lift your plant’s foliage, pour tepid water over the soil slowly until it trickles from the drainage holes at the bottom and leave the water to drain away. This leaches away excess fertilizer salts that build up in the soil. These salts can burn roots, resulting in dried leaf edges and wilting plants even though they seem to be getting adequate water. Don’t let your plant stand in the water as it will reabsorb these salts it’s trying to get rid of.

For bottom watering, place the plant on a saucer and let the plant drink as much water as it needs. If it drinks it all within a few minutes, fill it up again. Continue topping it up until the water is no longer draining. You can also fill a sink or bathtub with water and leave the plants to soak for around 10–20 minutes depending on the size of your plant.

Should I be watering house plants from the top or bottom?

Both methods come with their uses, advantages and disadvantages. Here is a list of the pros and cons of each method:

Pros of top watering:

  • Convenient
  • Helps wash away pests
  • Flushes excess salts
  • Good for plants needing urgent watering

Cons of top watering:

  • Can cause damage to leaves
  • May encourage fungus and pests that thrive in damp conditions
  • Causes soil to become compacted

Pros of bottom watering:

  • Doesn’t damage leaves (some plants like African violets don’t like their leaves getting wet and suffer water damage)
  • Topsoil remains dry and discourages pests
  • Harder to overwater

Cons of bottom watering:

  • Salt deposits can build up (we suggest watering from the top once every 3–4 months to combat this)
  • Takes longer, particularly for big plants

Ultimately, which method you use for watering house plants depends on how much time you can spare, and what your plants prefer or need.

Knowing how much and how often to water indoor plants is a challenge for all plant carers. By accepting and understanding each plant’s preferences, learning how to diagnose their water needs by checking their weight or soil, and watering house plants adequately, you’ll be able to find that perfect balance and keep your plants looking green, healthy and happy.

How Do LED Grow Lights Work?

How Do LED Grow Lights Work?

Artificial lights, such as LED grow lights, have served as reliable sunlight replacements for indoor succulents, and other vegetation, for many decades. If you’re new to the concept and utilization of LED grow lights within indoor gardens, you may be confused as to how they actually work and operate. 

While LED grow lights are not the only type of grow light available on the market, they are definitely one of the most popular choices when it comes to indoor gardening. However, before you immediately purchase one for your own indoor garden, it is very important to not only learn about how LED grow lights work, but also how to use them appropriately and effectively.

Light and plants

We all know that it is crucial for plants to have access to sufficient sunlight in order to grow successfully. This is due to the fact that plants require sunlight in order to photosynthesize. Photosynthesis occurs when the chlorophyll, which is found in the leaves of plants, absorbs the sun’s light energy along with carbon dioxide and water in order to produce oxygen and glucose. 

However, many indoor living spaces may not allow for the required amount of sunlight needed to facilitate this process among plants.  Thankfully, grow lights are a great remedy for indoor gardeners who wish to provide their plants with a sufficient light energy source. 

Different types of light

It is important to note that grow lights are not the same as the normal everyday light bulbs found in households. This is due to the fact that grow lights emit light that is of a different wavelength compared to the light emitted from standard light bulbs. While the light emitted from normal household lights tend to look white, grow lights emit light that are of a specific wavelength within the visible electromagnetic spectrum.  Unfortunately, plants may not be able to utilise the ordinary white light — emitted from normal household lights — for their much-needed photosynthesis process.

Amount of light needed

Another important detail to note about grow lights is that plants should definitely not be exposed to their light for 24 hours. While grow lights ultimately benefit the growth of plants, much like the sun, your plants should not have access to it for all the time. 

As a general recommendation, grow lights should be left on from anywhere between 12 to 16 hours of the day. However, the safest bet would be to mimic the general hour patterns of the sun. Ultimately, all forms of vegetation also require rest and darkness, in order to grow successfully.

Types of grow lights

The wavelength of lights that can be used by plants for photosynthesis is known as Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR), and the visible light within these specific wavelengths amount to different colors — violet, blue, cyan, green, yellow, orange and red. While normal lights usually only give off non-PAR white light, grow lights act as an artificial light source that plants can use, as if they were photosynthesizing with normal sunlight.

There are actually three main types of grow lights:

  • High Intensity Discharge (HID)
  • Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)
  • Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

All of them accomplish the same task, however, LED grow lights are the most modern, and are therefore more technologically advanced compared to CFL and HID grow lights. 

LED grow lights vary in sizes and while they are used in commercial greenhouses, they are also perfect for those who are looking to successfully grow their own vegetables, herbs, or decorative succulents at home. 

Best light for vegetative growth

The PAR light emitted from the individual diodes of LED grow lights allows plants to photosynthesize and grow healthily.

While all of the visible light within the PAR range — of the electromagnetic spectrum — can be utilized by plants, there are a few colors that are known to be more effective than others. 

For example, blue light contains shorter wavelengths and is the recommended light to use during the germination or vegetative phase of plants. 

Best grow lights for vegetables

On the other hand, the visible orange and red light contains longer wavelengths, and are both recommended to promote the flowering and possible fruition of plants.

Why LED grow lights are preferable

Ultimately, HID, CFL, and LED grow lights all work well in sustaining and promoting the growth of indoor plants. In that case, why should you pick LED grow lights, instead of a CFL or HID one?  

The truth is that LED grow lights have many advantages when compared to the other two options. 

Full spectrum light is best

While both CFL and HID grow lights do provide light that are within the PAR range of the electromagnetic spectrum, one bulb is capable of only shining one specific light wavelength. Unfortunately, different colors are more effective for different plant growth stages. This means that indoor gardeners will most likely have to purchase two or more different grow lights when it comes to using CFLs or HIDs.

On the other hand, while LED grow lights can consist of only one color from the spectrum, consumers can also purchase those which feature colors from the full electromagnetic spectrum.

LEDs are known to emit more light while consuming less power. 

This means that LED grow lights are extremely energy efficient and last longer compared to CFL and HID light bulbs.

H3: LEDs provide for a safe grow light option; especially around the house. 

They are also different compared to HID or CFL grow lights, as LEDs produce light electrically through a circuit — without requiring the presence of gas, mercury, lead, or any other harmful elements.

Unfortunately, CFL and HID lights are likely to shatter if knocked or dropped from a height. This poses as a huge health risk, as shattering the bulbs of these two types of lights will result in the release of dangerous gases. Hence, LED grow lights are the safest option for household indoor gardens. 

Cost effective setup

Despite the fact that LED grow lights are usually the more expensive option, the total price of the entire set up may actually be cheaper than a system which utilizes CFLs or HIDs. This is due to the fact that both CFL and HID grow lights actually require a ballast, which controls the electrical current of the bulb, as well as a reflector, as the light emitted is often wasted and needs to be reflected onto the plants. On top of all of that, both of these grow lights are also known to have a short life span, and need to be replaced much more frequently compared to an LED grow light.

Things to Consider When Buying an LED Grow Light

  • Keep in mind how big or small your indoor garden is
    • The LED grow light should be of similar size to your indoor garden area. If the LED grow light shines on a much larger area, you risk wasting PAR
    • light. Alternatively, if the LED light isn’t big enough then some plants will not receive sufficient light.
  • Make sure the LED grow light comes with a cooling fan
    • While LED lights are known to produce very little heat, certain environmental factors may cause it to produce too much heat. 
    • It is important to avoid this, as heat can dry out your plants.
  • LED grow lights provide a lot of light
    • While this is great for your plants, the vibrant colors may conflict with your living space. With this in mind, you may wish to make sure that you have a designated space for the grow light before purchasing it.
  • Consider what light your plants need
    • Do they need blue light? Red light? Or something else?
    • Quite a few LED grow lights come with a full spectrum of colors, which can be a great option if your plants are at different stages of growth.

‘Full spectrum’ LED grow lights are essentially capable of emitting most, if not all, of the visible PAR colors from the electromagnetic spectrum. These types of LED grow lights are particularly useful for gardeners who require both blue light and orange or red light for their plants’ growth process. Most ‘full spectrum’ LED grow lights allow users to alter the color of the light, or wavelengths, to best suit their plants’ needs.The Best Artificial Light for Plants

Artificial light sources are a great solution if you’re looking to successfully grow vegetables, herbs, flowers or any other plants indoors. While there are many options to choose from when looking for a great grow light to suit your indoor garden needs, LED grow lights are definitely one of the safest and most energy efficient choices that works well to support the healthy growth of plants.

How An Indoor Smart Garden Works

How An Indoor Smart Garden Works

Do you struggle to grow plants indoors? With an indoor smart garden, you don’t need to have green fingers to care for your indoor greenery.

Thanks to technology, there are a variety of self-tending indoor gardening systems that help you grow fruits, salads, herbs and flowers at home easily and successfully with little effort. Let’s take a closer look at what an indoor smart garden is, how it works, its typical features and components, and what plants you can grow with it.

Benefits of an indoor smart garden

Not only do indoor plants add a touch of green to your home or office, but they’re also proven to provide a range of physical and psychological health benefits such as reducing depression, anxiety and fatigue as well as helping to purify the air.

However, not everyone can easily grow plants indoors. That’s why indoor smart gardens are great for anyone wanting to grow plants but don’t have the right growing conditions (e.g. lack of sunlight), a large yard, sufficient knowledge, or the time to tend to plants regularly. These smart indoor gardening systems combine clever design and technology and are an eco-friendly, hassle-free way of gardening without needing sunlight, continuous care or watering. They do all the work for you!

They’re able to regulate the plants’ environment, which means you can place them anywhere you like—on the kitchen counter, patio or study desk, regardless of whether it’s a sunny spot or not.

An indoor vegetable garden kit also lets you grow home-grown, fresh and organic ingredients from the comfort of your own space, no matter what time of year it is. You can sure that not only will be they free of any chemicals or pesticides; they will also be bursting with flavour. On top of that, you’ll always have fresh herbs on hand to add to your dishes.Do you find yourself throwing out old, unused herbs all too often? The indoor smart garden is the perfect solution to this—there’s no wastage since you only harvest what you need while the rest of the plant continues to grow and thrive as opposed to wilting in your refrigerator.

How does it work?

Typically, an indoor smart garden is a small indoor garden that takes the guesswork out of growing plants. It can automate many of the things needed to keep your plants alive, such as self-watering the plants and delivering nutrients using sensors, and providing light needed for growth using timed LED grow lights. More advanced indoor gardening systems can also connect you via an app that provides you with information about the status of your plants and monitors their growth, health and life cycle.

Due to the controlled environment and optimized soil, plants typically sprout faster and grow healthier leading to abundant harvests.

Features and components of indoor gardening systems

Different indoor gardening systems and indoor vegetable garden kits each offer different benefits, so here we list some popular features and components often seen in these systems.

Growth medium

Either a nutrient-rich soil or soil-free structure helps water and nutrients be distributed to the roots evenly.

Easy-to-plant plants

Choose from a catalog of seeded or seedling cartridges that are designed to slot perfectly into your indoor smart garden.

LED lights

Energy-efficient, adjustable grow lights imitate natural sunlight by emitting wavelengths, and turn on and off automatically so that the plants get the sufficient nutrients they need from light.

Self-watering and self-feeding

Built-in water level, soil and light sensors ensure the plants receive enough water, oxygen and nutrients, and tell you they’re ready to be watered or fed. Some systems utilize hydroponic technology where they will water the plants for you.

Eco-friendly

The concept of indoor vegetable garden kits is that you reduce food wastage since you only harvest what you need. To further minimize environmental impact, some designs are also constructed with eco-friendly or recycled materials.

Smart pots

The plant pots are designed to be low maintenance with drainage holes, along with an integrated water reservoir that captures excess water.

Humidifier

A built-in humidifier delivers moisture to the plants evenly.

USB hub

Taking technology a step further, some indoor smart gardens come with USB ports that allow you to charge your electronic devices while keeping your plants happy.

What comes with an indoor smart garden purchase?

Indoor smart gardens are all-in-one kits that provide you with everything you need to get started. It typically includes the container to house your plants along with all the built-in technology needed to grow the plants, along with pre-seeded or seedling pods, plant food, and instructions for use.

How to set up indoor gardening systems

A kit is designed to be set up with ease—even in seconds! It’s as simple as choosing a desk or counter-top to place your container, dropping plant capsules of your choice into the container, filling up the water reservoir, plugging in the unit to turn the lights on, and waiting for your plants to spring up in no time!

Can you grow more than an indoor vegetable garden?

With your indoor smart garden, you can grow fresh herbs, vegetables, fruit or flowers all year round. Here are just some of the popular options for plants to grow.

Herbs

  • Basil
  • Bay Laurel (produces bay leaves)
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme

It’s a good idea to choose herbs that you plan to use in your cooking.

Fruits

  • Wild strawberry
  • Mini tomato

Vegetables

  • Alfalfa
  • Arugula
  • Scallion
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Shallots
  • Spinach

A counter-top indoor vegetable garden kit isn’t ideal for growing larger fruits or vegetables due to its compact size, but small vines, leaves and microgreens will work great.

Flowers

  • Baby tears
  • Begonia
  • Chinese money plant
  • Cornflower
  • Fern
  • Fittonia
  • Oxalis
  • Peperomia
  • Petunia
  • Purple shamrock
  • String of pearls
  • Succulents & cacti
  • Sweet alyssum

Ongoing maintenance for your indoor smart garden

After you’ve set up your smart garden, it’s a good idea to check in on your plants regularly to see how they’re doing. Are all the components working as they should? Are your plants getting enough water, light and food? Do they look happy and healthy? You may need to adjust some settings, such as tweaking timer settings on your light timer, for example, to get the right balance.

Once your smart garden has stabilized, it will revert to low maintenance and you will only need to tend to it on occasion, such as checking water levels and topping it up along with plant food if and when needed—unless your indoor smart garden does it for you, in which case you can sit back and watch your plants grow!

The indoor smart garden is perfect for those of us with a busy lifestyle but still want to enjoy having some greenery indoors. Its smart technology means that you don’t have to worry about it all the time, where it’s placed, or when it needs watering—it takes care of everything for you.

With all the hardest parts of indoor gardening tended to, the only thing you need to worry about is choosing what plants you want to grow and cook with!

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