Why Watering Can Worsen Wilting Gardening tips
Bbeginners, I understand. The world of gardening can sometimes seem riddled with vague, even paradoxical advice. Bright but indirect light, moist but well-drained soil… the list goes on. Yet perhaps the biggest paradox of all is that of wilting leaves, which can be a rather unnecessary sign of overwatering or watering, making their treatment a confusing problem. So here’s my attempt to break through the confusion surrounding what I think is probably the number one cause of houseplant failure.
It helps to understand some basics of biology. Plants are made up largely of water. In fact, their structures, no matter how complex, are all made up of thousands of cells that are basically like little water balloons. When these cells lose water in the air around them, they start to soften and shrink, eventually causing their structures to collapse. This is the classic withered look we all associate with water stress. So far everything has been fine, but why would overwatering also cause this reaction?
Well, plants get the water they need to keep their cells fleshy and hydrated from their roots. Still, these roots need a mixture of water and air in the soil to stay healthy. When overwatered for long periods of time, all air spaces in the growing medium become saturated with moisture, depriving the roots of the vital oxygen they need. The oxygen-poor environment also promotes the growth of anaerobic bacteria which can rot the roots of the plant and eventually die. This damage paradoxically hinders the plant’s ability to absorb water, leading it to show symptoms of water stress.
Since the overhead symptoms of overwatering perfectly mimic those of drought, the natural reaction of many growers is to pour even more water over them, creating a vicious cycle and you end up killing them with kindness. Most houseplant deaths, judging by the sorry specimens people show me, are from overwatering, usually the result of that confusing catch-22. The good thing is that once you know this is a common problem, it is very easy to avoid it.
As a general rule of thumb I would say when in doubt avoid watering, as it’s usually much easier to sort out a thirsty plant (most will return to normal within minutes of watering) than to coax an overwatered plant with water. damaged roots. edge. There are two ways to tell if a plant needs a drink. The first is to scrape the top of the growing medium and poke your finger in to see if you can smell any moisture. The second is to take a look at the color – most conventional potting mixes will be dark and crumbly when wet, and lighter brown and dusty when they need watering. If you need further confirmation, pick up the plant to feel its weight. If the pot seems light for its size in addition to these symptoms, it is likely that watering is necessary. Don’t trust the leaves alone!
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