Under watering plants is probably one of the most common gardening problems. Over watering them can be just as detrimental though. It is important to be aware of your plants and pay attention to them. All of your plants will tell you if they need more water and they will also indicate to you when they need less water too.
As you work more and more with your plants you will begin to understand them. You need to be keenly observant to notice subtle changes in their conditions that act as indicators of what they need. Eventually you will get a feel for reading these signs and you can change your gardening practices accordingly. This will help you have impressive flowering plants as well as healthy and delicious vegetables. The signs of over watering are very much the same from plant to plant no matter the specific plant and there is definitely such a thing as too much water.
Beginning gardeners are inclined to water their plants too much because they are nervous about not watering them enough. There are a couple good rules of thumb for plants in the ground as well as potted plants when it comes to knowing when to water and knowing how much to water.
Clues To Look For If You Are Watering Too Much
Over watering is going to be indicated by yellowing leaves that begin to turn brown at their tips. It is not rocket signs, but you do not want to mistake this for signs of under watering, which are typically drooping leaves.
When To Water And How Much
You should always water your plants in the morning and water them around their bases. This gives the water a chance to seep down into the soil and minimizes evaporation from the sun. Plants absorb water through their roots so you want to give it a head start by putting it on the ground and not onto the leaves. Watering the leaves can actually cause some plants to burn and become scorched in the sun as the water evaporates.
Potted plants are the most likely to be watered too much. This is because the drainage in a pot is not going to be as good as if the plant is growing in the ground. Each morning you can use what is known as the finger test. Simply take your index finger and stick it into the soil at the base of the plant. If your finger comes out dry and free of dirt it means that the plant needs to be watered. If your finger comes out feeling moist then you should wait and perform the finger test again the following day.
You can also use the finger test for shrubs, flowers and vegetable plants. It is a very basic way to assess the water level of the soil. You can forego watering if rain is forecasted during the day also. You may even be able to skip a watering if you received significant rainfall the previous day.