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!

Garden writer and blogger, author of more than 60 gardening books, the laidback gardener, Larry Hodgson, lives and gardens in Quebec City, Canada. The Laidback Gardener blog offers more than 2,500 articles to passionate home gardeners, always with the goal of demystifying gardening and making it easier for even novice gardeners. If you have a gardening question, enter it in Search: the answer is probably already there!

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