Managing water is essential for successfully establishing your plant. Ensuring your plant has sufficient water will help in growing its spectacular flowers. If your plant goes for long periods without water, you may see the flower buds turn brown and fail to produce flowers.
If you are growing a Proteaflora plant in your garden, it will have slightly different water requirements to those being grown in a pot. This watering guide will outline the differences and will provide some handy tips on how to check if your plant is in need of watering.
Watering Plants in Pots
When you are growing a plant in a pot, its roots only have a very small reserve from which they can draw on for water. This means that they are more at risk of drying out than plants in a garden. Some materials such as ceramic pots also increase the risk of plants drying out. If the pot is in a position where it is protected from the rain, it will rely entirely on you for water.
Plants in pots will need water nearly every day, though the amount of water you give it will decrease during the cooler months. Your plant will also need more water when it is in flower, as it takes a lot of energy to produce these beautiful blooms.
It can be tricky to get the balance right between too much water and not enough. However, there is an easy method you can use to see if your potted plant has received enough water.
Firstly, you can perform a visual assessment of your plant to see if it has any signs of stress or wilting. It is useful to take note of how heavy the pot feels.
Secondly, you can carefully tip you plant upside down, holding the stems between your fingers. Gently tap the pot of the plant to expose the soil, keeping the plant secure between your fingers.
When you can see the soil, observe how dry it is. If the soil is crumbly or looks patchy, your plant will need a drink.
Ideally, the soil should be evenly moist. If you touch the soil with your opposite hand, it should feel just wet, and leave a small amount of residual water on your hand.
Alternatively, if the soil is glistening and feels very wet to the touch, you may be giving your plant too much water.
As you do this more frequently, you will feel the difference in weight when your plant is dry and when it is wet. Eventually you may be able to feel if your plant is in need of a drink simply by its weight.
Watering plants in the Garden
Many of our plants are classified as low water use plants. However, when the plants are small, they will still require generous watering to ensure they successfully establish. As they grow, the amount of additional water they need will decrease. Generally, plants will need water every day in the height of summer. While plants are establishing, they will require water twice a week. After a year or two, they will have a lower water requirement, and will only need additional water from you in hot and dry weather.
Plants in the garden are less susceptible to drying out than in pots as the roots have a large volume of soil to draw moisture from. However, this does not remove the risk of drying out completely.
It is a bit trickier to check if a plant in the garden needs a drink. You can use a small hand tool such as a trowel to check the soil moisture near the plant, taking care to avoid the roots. Sink the clean, dry tool into the soil and pull it back out again. If the surface of the tool is still dry, the soil around your plant is dry and is in need of watering. If there is damp soil on the surface of the tool, then there is moisture in the soil for the plant to access. If the surface is muddy, then soil around your plant will be very wet and will not need any additional watering until it had completely dried again.
Soil type is very important when planting in your garden. Most Proteaflora plants will thrive on acidic, well-draining soils. However, most will not tolerate heavy clay soils as these are susceptible to water-logging.