The frequency of irrigation is not the same whether the plants are indoors or outdoors, since the conditions of light, air and humidity are very different. For this reason, it is one of the tasks to which more attention must be paid so that we can get to control it as soon as possible, avoiding both excesses and mistakes.
Although those who are going thirsty can be saved more easily than those with flooded roots, it is always better not to go to extremes. So if you’re wondering how often to water outdoor plants, to answer your question it is necessary to first talk about the factors that will determine said frequency.
What determines if you need to water more or less?
Plants need water to grow and perform their functions, such as breathing or photosynthesis. However, not by adding more quantity we are going to get them to be betterRather, the opposite will happen: the roots could die asphyxiated, in a literal sense, and when not, they will be attacked by fungi, microorganisms that love humid environments. In any case, the consequences will be the same: rot of the root system, then of the stem, and finally death of the leaves.
If, on the other hand, we water less than what would be necessary, the affected plants will consume all the water they have inside, starting by ‘removing’ that of the newer shoots. For this reason, when we see that the newest leaves are dry, we should ask ourselves if we are watering them with the appropriate frequency.
Then, How can we find the balance of good watering? Taking into account what we are going to tell you now:
What is the climate in your area?
This is the most important. The same is not going to be watered in Mallorca, for example, where the climate is typically Mediterranean with droughts that last for months, as in Asturias, where the climate is more temperate and it rains more frequently. Besides, you should know that even within the same province, there are microclimates: some warmer / cooler, others more humid / drier. Knowing the climate in your town or city is key to knowing which outdoor plants to grow, and how often to water them. And for this, a home weather station.
Is it in the sun or is it in the shade?
If a plant gets the sun, it will need more water and more often than another that is protected from the sun.. Why? Because the sun’s rays will make the soil, or the potting substrate, dry more quickly, especially if it is summer and / or the area is already warm and / or dry.
Is it in soil or in a pot?
The plants that are growing either in the garden or in the orchard, will have a different irrigation than those that are grown in pots. And it is that the soil of the soil stays humid longer. Instead, those that we are growing in a container, as there is much less soil, it can dry out completely in a matter of days (or hours, in the middle of the summer season if it is in the sun).
Are you young or old?
At first, you should know that if the plant is young you will have to water it more often than when it is adult. Being smaller in size, it will need water to grow, even if it is a cactus or succulent, plants that are said not to need much watering. Also, you have to take into account that, for example, a small plant in a small pot, if you are not aware of the watering, can die soon.
Is it indigenous or exotic?
This is not really too important when it comes to watering, but it is interesting to know. The autochthonous plants, that is, those that are typical of our area, are adapted to the climate of the place, and therefore, once they are planted in the ground, we will only have to take care of them a little the first year. But the exotic ones, or allochthonous if you prefer, generally want more water. For example, a wild olive (Olea europaea var. sylvestris), originally from the Mediterranean area, will live with 350l of water a year; but a tropical bromeliad, like a Aechmea fasciataIt will require almost constant watering.
How often to water outdoor plants?
Apart from everything we have said so far, we are going to see how often you have to water them depending on the type of plant it is:
- Trees and shrubs (including vines): it will depend a lot on the species. The Brachychiton for example resist drought well and, once they have been in the soil for at least a year, it will not matter to water them if at least 350l of water falls a year; Ulmus also do well in low water. But the Populus, the Passiflora, the Wisteria, the Acer or the Fagus are great ‘drinkers’, especially the former, since they live near fresh water courses, like many Salix.
- Carnivores– These plants are grown in plastic pots, so watering will be frequent. If you have sarracenias, you can put a plate under them and keep it full; the rest are watered 3-4 times a week in summer, and less in winter.
- Palms: the same thing happens with them as with trees and shrubs: there are species that endure drought, such as Phoenix dactylifera or the Washingtonia, but there are others that you have to water from time to time so that they do not dry out, such as ravenea, Roystonea or Dypsis.
- Vivid and seasonal flowers: these are plants that need frequent waterings, but without overdoing it. During the summer, the irrigation will be more followed, every 2 or 3 days, but the rest of the year we will not have to be so pending.
- Bulbous: these are only watered from when they are about to sprout, until their flowers wither, about 2-3 times a week. It can also be done afterwards, occasionally, to keep the soil a little moist, but it is not necessary.
- Garden plants: both fruit trees and those that are herbs want a lot of water, especially during the summer. For this reason, it is not advisable to have the soil dry for more than two days in a row. Of course, this does not mean that you have to water every 2-3 days; in fact, if there is a forecast of rain, it will be better not to do it until the soil dries a bit.
What is the best irrigation water?
The rain, as long as it is not contaminated. That is the one that all plants do well. But it is not always easy to get, so you can opt for bottled water suitable for human consumption, or tap water if it is sweet and does not have lime or chlorine. In the case that you have carnivores, you have to water them with distilled water. And if what you grow are acidic plants, like japanese maples or azaleas, you have to make sure that the pH of the water is low, between 4 and 6.
Is water from boiling vegetables good for plants?
The truth is that yes. It will not only serve you to water, but also as compostas it contains the nutrients that these vegetables have lost when boiled. Of course, let it cool first before giving it to your plants, otherwise the roots will burn.
Important: do not apply it to carnivorous plants or orchids. These are two types of plants whose roots would suffer irreversible damage if fertilized. In fact, specific fertilizers are sold for orchids, which help them grow and bloom normally.
With regard to carnivores, they are NOT paid, ever. They are only responsible for getting their food.
What are the characteristics and care of carnivorous plants?
Is dryer water good for plants?
We do not advise itUnless the water is soft and there is no trace of a product you used to wash your clothes. And in any case, it is better to test on the most robust plants, and see if it is really worth using it or not. Prevention is better than cure.
How to water outdoor plants?
It will depend on whether they are in the ground or in pots. We will start with the first:
Watering plants from the garden or orchard
If you have a garden and / or orchard, it is interesting that you decide which irrigation system to have: the hose and drip irrigation They are the most popular, but they have their advantages as well as their disadvantages:
- Hose: it is comfortable, and fast, but uses a lot of water. In a climate where it rains little it is not recommended, unless a hose gun is connected that allows you to regulate the water output.
- Drip irrigation: you can water all the plants you want, so that the water will be absorbed by the soil without being lost. This allows you to save. The ‘downside’ is that the price of a kit and the installation is higher than that of a hose, but it is definitely worth it.
How much water to add? The answer is simple, the practice not so much: until the earth is soaked. Sometimes it is complicated, because we do not see what is happening in the innermost layers of the soil, so you have to make a little use of intuition. If we have, for example, a young palm tree that is 1 meter tall that has been planted for a few months, we can remember how big the pot it was in was, and based on that, add a little more water than we used to give it; that is, if we added 2 liters to it, now it will receive 3l as we are interested in its roots expanding and the plant growing.
Watering potted plants
Plants being grown in pots they are more easily watered with a watering can or with a drip irrigation system. But there are several ways to do it:
- Flood irrigation: or irrigation with a plate as it is also said. It consists of filling the plate or tray underneath, so that the soil will begin to hydrate from the drainage holes of the pot upwards. This method is interesting for the Sarracenia, the aquatic or riverbank plants, and also for the seedbeds.
- Irrigation ‘from above’: It is when the water is thrown on the surface of the substrate. Do not wet the leaves or flowers. This method is used to water the vast majority of plants: cacti, palms, trees, shrubs, …
If you want to know how much water to pour, the quantity will be the one that leaves the entire substrate wet. You can tell if you take the pot before watering it, and after you have done it, which will be when you notice that it weighs more.
And with this we are done. Has this topic been useful to you?