When do I need to water my plants? A few good tips to help you out

For those unfamiliar (or even familiar) with gardening, even the simplest activities can be littered with question marks — like watering.

How much do you water your garden? How often do you water your garden? How do you know if your garden has enough water? Do you water differently during the winter or summer?

These are all questions that plague the common homeowner. So let’s take a few minutes to answer the first and most important question, “How do you know when to water your garden and plants?”

Does the soil stick?

How do you know if you need to water your plants or garden? There’s a simple trick to answer this question. Dig down into the soil a few inches, take a handful of that soil, and roll it up into a ball in your hands.

If the soil doesn’t remain in a ball (and instead, falls apart), then you probably need to water your garden. If the ball of soil feels squishy, then you most likely have too much water. And if the ball of soil remains a ball of soil, then, as Goldilocks put it, the soil is just right.

Does the pot pass the test?

Gardeners.com says

“When it comes to watering, there are no hard or fast rules. It’s a judgment call that depends on the type of plant, the soil, the weather, the time of year and many other variables.”

And we couldn’t agree more. However, there are still many indicators that will help you answer the question, “Is it time to water my plants?” For example, Gardners.com says you should try the “lift test” for potted plants.

“Over time, you get to know how heavy a pot should feel if the soil inside the pot is thoroughly moistened. If it’s not heavy enough, water slowly until all the soil in the pot is moist and water runs out the bottom. Then, lift the pot again to check that it feels right.”

Are the leaves okay?

It’s been said that plants talk, and they like to start the conversation with their leaves. If your leaves are turning brown from the tip inward, then it’s usually a sign that you need to water your garden. But as we’ll discuss in the next section, you need to consider the big picture before you bust out the watering can.

Are your plants or leaves wilting?

If your leaves are wilting, crisp-to-touch, and falling off, then it might be time to water. However, you must be very careful. If your entire plant is wilting and if your leaves are falling off but not crisp-to-touch, then you might actually be overwatering your plants. In this case, check out the soil before you jump the gun and water some more. Wilting plants inside moist soil usually serves as a surefire sign that overwatering is happening.

You probably have a bunch of watering questions left unanswered, like how much to water and do things change depending on the season. And that’s to be expected. To keep learning, please feel free to check out our leanring center.

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