Watering Your Perennials
The way you do it can make a big difference to these exquisite plants!
Proper watering is a crucial element of growing and maintaining perennials, or for any garden variety for that matter. But when is the best time to water them and how often should you do it?
For the majority of perennials, watering is only required when the top of the soil dries out. However, do not wait until they are dry as a bone before giving them water.
Watering is required before any visible signs of drought stress appears. If you are growing perennials in an arid environment, it is ideal to prolong the time between watering. On the other hand, if your plants are located in a wet habitat, it is best to not let them dry out completely.
Watering Problems Can Be A Disaster…
Getting too much or too little water on the soil for long periods of time causes several problems for your perennials. However, determining whether your plants are getting too much or too little can be a bit tricky since both conditions show the same symptoms. When perennials are under-watered or over-watered, their leaves turn yellowish with brown edges. They look dull, droopy, limp, and their growth is suppressed. Their leaves and flowers also begin to wither and drop off, and the plant eventually dies.
It’s Best To Test The Soil…
It’s hard to tell if you are watering too much or not watering enough by simply looking at these symptoms. So before reaching for the watering can, you must first check the soil to see if it’s too dry or too wet. When you check the soil, don’t just look at the surface to see if it’s wet or dry, because the top of the soil will be different once you go several inches underneath. When you start to see symptoms of stress from your plants, dig a tiny hole a few inches deep and touch the soil. If it feels wet, reduce the amount of water. If it’s dry, you need to water more often.
If you have clay soil, it’s a little more complicated to figure out if you’re watering too little or too much. This is because clay has tiny particles that hold in the moisture and restrict the water from getting to the plants. Therefore, the soil may feel moist but the plants are still not getting enough needed water. To solve this problem, the clay soil should be amended with organic matter.
In addition to manually checking the soil, you can also purchase an electronic moisture monitor that indicates when it’s time to water. Another simple alternative is to use a long screwdriver and probe the soil. You know that your plants are getting enough water if you are able to penetrate the soil with the screwdriver.