Rhythms Of Watering

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Blooming, Care and Culture, Growing Indoors, Growing Outdoors

The lingo used to describe routine watering practices includes these phrases: “lightly moist,” “moderately moist,” and “allow drying out between waterings.” These are general tendencies, open to interpretation by different plants.

Lightly Moist

This first moisture level means that the plant benefits from soil that is never truly wet yet never completely dry. To achieve this result, you simply provide water frequently and take care to distribute it evenly in the container. Many plants that came form forests (both tropical and temperate) like to be kept lightly moist at all times.

Moderately Moist

Plants that need moderate moisture often are fast growers with high light requirements. They include most of the indoor plants that produce beautiful flowers and a few robust foliage plants as well. Although somewhat demanding, these plants provide color and drama, and they often go into an annual recovery period of slow growth or dormancy when they need little or no water. The challenge is to provide ample moisture without getting carried away; because even plants that need abundant water can develop root rot or other problems if they are watered too much.

Allow To Dry Out Between Waterings

Many plants with succulent leaves or stems love to exercise their talent for hoarding moisture when water becomes available the same way they might if they were living in a climate where rains were few and far between. These are the plants that benefit from brief periods of dryness, and they often like their wet intervals to be short lived too. But all succulents are not alike in this respect, so it’s best to pay attention to your plants’ responses to watering and fine-tune your practices to please them. Aloe, for example, seems to thrive on moisture extremes, while holiday cactus likes consistent moisture in the summer and drier conditions in the fall and winter.

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