We’re coming into a hot and dry Summer here on the NSW Central Coast and without much rain, we need to have some water wise tips for houseplants and the garden.
The good thing about most houseplants is that they generally don’t need that much water and often prefer to dry out between drinks. This incoming weather however, is likely to mean less relative humidity, so it’s likely our houseplants will dry out quicker over the summer.
Grouping your plants together means they create a microclimate where they can share humidity, through their normal process of transpiration, resulting in less water loss overall.
So how can we be water wise with our houseplants indoors?
Water wise tip #1: Harvest water from other household tasks for your houseplants
Do you turn the shower on and wait for it to heat up before you jump in? Place a bucket in the shower to catch the excess water. Save water from boiling eggs and pasta or steaming vegetables. Use a bowl in the sink to catch water used for washing fruit and vegetables.
Water wise tip #2 Use a good quality potting mix
Good quality premium potting mix can be helpful in retaining water for your houseplants. Making your own potting mix is also beneficial so your houseplants have adequate drainage and access to water when they need it. I use a mix with both perlite and premium potting mix so my plants don’t retain too much water initially, but can access water from the perlite if they are left to dry for a bit too long.
Water wise tip #3 Choose water wise houseplants
Choosing indoor plants that require less water is an easy way to be water wise with your houseplants garden. Succulents such as the snake plant (mother in laws tongue, sansevieria) ZZ plant (Zanzibar gem, Zamioculcas zamiifolia) and Rhipsalis species of plants have succulent stems and rhizomes that store water and therefore need less frequent watering.
Water wise tip #4 Always check your plants before you give them a drink.
There is no point in guessing here, as the seasons change, so will your watering frequency so always check whether your plants are ready for a drink first, and then water them only when they are ready. That way you are less likely to waste water and overwater your houseplants.
Water wise tip #5 Group your plants together, water your plants thoroughly & less often
So how do we get watering right? I always suggest giving your plants a decent soak, saturating the surface of the potting mix and allowing the water to run through the drainage holes. If your plant is super dry to the point it's not soaking up the water (its hydrophobic) then submerging the plant in a bucket of water until all the bubbles rise to the top, allowing it to soak for an hour and then drain. Grouping your plants together also means they create a microclimate where they can share humidity, through their normal process of transpiration, resulting in less water loss overall.