The Great Indoors Part 3 – Water & Humidity

Guest presenter Craig-Miller-Randle shares all the indoor watering tips you need to be a responsible plant parent.

All plants need water to live and grow, and indoor plants are totally reliant on you as they don’t have access to rain. Not enough water will slow their growth, too much and they could rot. Consistency and the right amount are key to keeping the majority of plants happy and healthy.

Craig’s proven method for knowing when to water is to go by feel. Simply use your finger to scratch into the soil, about 2cm deep. If it feels dry then it’s time to water, if it looks dark and feels moist then wait and try again in a few days.

Craig also says to “resist the urge to go around and give each plant a little water in-situ. Instead, take your plant to the sink or bath and give it a good, solid drink. The force of the water sucks the oxygen down through the potting mix, flushes out any stagnant water, and also gets rid of any fertiliser build-ups.”

If it’s not convenient to use this method every time, then try it every fourth watering to give the plants a refresh. It’s also an opportunity to clean off dust or grime from leaves and stems, which could be hindering sunlight intake or harbouring pests and diseases. As it’s important to keep the plants in a consistent environment, Craig suggests using warm water rather than cold. Dousing a plant with cold water could shock the roots, especially during winter.

“Plants use water to take up the nutrients they need to grow and when you really flush the pot well you activate the pelletised slow release fertiliser you get in most premium potting mixes. To get really great results from your indoor plants you can also reapply this fertiliser to give them a boost of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.” Craig does this twice a year, at the beginning of spring when shoots start to appear, and a half-dose in early summer. These are the months plants will be growing the most, so Craig also applies a diluted liquid seaweed solution every 3-4 weeks for an extra boost.

About an hour after you’ve finished watering, it’s important to check that your plants aren’t sitting a pool of water, either in the saucer or in the bottom of decorative pots. “Leaving your plants soaking in water is one of the worst things you can do for it – makes it prone to root rot and other diseases.”

Accidentally left a plant in a puddle? Wrap an old towel tightly around the pot, covering the drainage holes, to help draw out excess moisture.
Plants don’t just love water at their roots – they also love it in the air! Heaters and air conditioners can dry out the air and your plants, but you can combat that with increasing humidity levels to recreate the rainforest environment most indoor plants come from. For some next level plant parenting, you could use a humidifier and a hygrometer to keep the levels consistently at 50-65% humidity, which is perfect for plants and people. Many plants, like Monstera, are very adaptable though and can still thrive without these gadgets.

It’s no surprise that plants need water but adding structure to your watering regime will have great results and prevent you giving them too much of a good thing!

Featured Plant:
Monstera Monstera deliciosa cv.

Filmed on Boon Wurrung & Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country

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