Houseplants

Laidback Gardener Tip of the Day

A Long Soak for Wilted Plants

décembre 11You return from a trip to find one or two houseplants completely wilted, their stems bent and floppy and their leaves dripping to the ground? That’s because they have suffered a serious lack of water. When this happens, the potting mix often pulls away from the wall of the pot. So when you water to try and save the plant, almost all the water flows into the saucer instead of penetrating the rootball and the poor plant actually gets very little.

In such cases, watering is not enough. Instead, immerse the pot in water – completely! – and let the plant soak for 2 or 3 hours, until the soil and the plant are completely rehydrated. You can immerse the rootball in a sink full of water, in a bathtub, in a bucket, even in the toilet bowl: that’s of no importance. When the plant has recovered, let the rootball drain thoroughly and put it back in its saucer. It the plant lacked water for too long, your efforts may be in vain and it will die, but in general, it will recover very quickly and can go on to live a happy life.

Note that allowing a plant to nearly die from lack of water is not good for it. Try not to repeat this scenario too often!

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

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