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Gardener advises against common watering mistake that may harm your plants: 'Just learned this lesson this week the hard way'

"Great reminder and explanation!"

“Great reminder and explanation!”

Photo Credit: @theishoutofwater / Instagram

When novice gardeners first start their gardens, they may make the mistake of overwatering their plants without even knowing it. Aspiring green thumbs are often warned about overwatering indoor and potted plants, but incorrect watering habits can hurt your outdoor garden, too. Luckily, Ishmael Lowery (@theishoutofwater) posted a Reel with tips to keep your plants healthy and happy.

The scoop

Ishmael explained that gardeners should focus their watering downward on the stalk of the plant instead of spraying across the entire bed. By doing this, the roots are forced to grow downward to seek water. 

He also advises watering less often. He recommends watering once or twice a week, depending on the weather in your area. Generally, watering in the morning or night is better, so the sun doesn't evaporate too much of the water before your plants can drink it up.

Knowing how much to water can be difficult for new gardeners, but you can learn to read your plants. If you stick your finger into the soil to about a knuckle deep and the soil is damp, you know your plants don't need any more water. 

With more intentional watering, you can encourage your roots to grow deeper and stronger. "Think of less frequent watering like strength training for roots," Ishmael said.

How it's helping

Plants need only water, air, sunlight, and soil, so it's crucial they have the perfect amount of each component to be healthy. It comes with experience, but knowing what signs to look for can help you gauge whether to adjust your watering habits. Wilting leaves, yellowing, mold, and stunted plant growth are all signs of overwatering. If you see those, you want to cut back on your watering. 

You want your plants to have deep roots so they are stronger and the plants are more stable. Shallow roots that spread wide could easily be pulled up with wind or a strong storm

Ishmael's tips could save your plants from overwatering and a weaker root structure. You can also conserve water. It is estimated that 50% of outdoor water usage is wasted due to overwatering and improper irrigation.

What everyone's saying

People are loving Ishmael's tips. Commenters say this Reel is a "great reminder and explanation!" 

Many others are worried about the cadence of watering, especially in their specific region. It's important to remember that different regions may have different watering needs. You can check what plants and gardening tips are best for your location with the USDA Plant Hardiness Map.

One commenter has seen the consequences of overwatering, admitting that they "just learned this lesson this week the hard way."

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