Watering indoor plants can be a large project if there are many plants in the house. Watering is a simple chore, but there are many ways to water plants. Some people prefer to water plants manually, while others would rather have an automated system water the plants. Know the advantages and disadvantages of each type of watering system before choosing that system. Some people may find it best to switch between several different watering systems.
The two most common ways to water houseplants are with a hand-held watering can or a spray bottle. Watering cans pour water directly into the plant soil. Spray bottles water the plant from the leaves down and increase humidity. Automatic watering systems include glass globes filled with water, subirrigation systems that water the plants from the bottom of the soil rather than the top, and external mechanical watering systems.
Glass globes work by distributing the water throughout the soil over time because a vacuum forms which only breaks when the soil can absorb the water. A subirrigation watering system sits in a reservoir under the plant in contact with the soil. When the soil starts to dry out, the soil soaks up water from the reservoir, continually keeping the plant moist. Mechanical watering systems use a large tank of water connected to several hoses. A motor powers a small pump, which transfers the water from the tank to the plant containers once per day.
Hand-held watering systems allow you to easily control how much water each plant receives. This is beneficial for plants that require vastly different watering schedules. A water sprayer is ideal for plants that require constant humidity but little soil watering. Automatic systems have the advantage of working on their own. A subirrigation system protects the integrity of the soil and prevents nutrients from washing away from the soil.
Each type of watering system also has its disadvantages. Manual watering systems take a lot of time and energy, and they can spill onto furniture or flooring. Manual watering systems are also bulky and sometimes heavy. Water globes do not hold much water. Every week or so it is necessary to refill each globe. A subirrigation system can lead to root rot and other diseases. Automatic watering systems may give the plant too much water, which can damage or kill the plant.
Consider your lifestyle when choosing a watering system. A family always on the go will benefit more from automatic watering systems. A family which stays at home for a majority of the time may find manual plant watering an enjoyable activity. How much you intend to spend on a watering system will also help narrow down watering choices.
The cost of each watering system varies widely. According to Backyardstyle.com, a spray bottle is usually purchasable for less than £6. Automatic systems may cost upward of £65 per unit. Watering globes are inexpensive, but it is necessary to have one globe per pot, which quickly adds up. Sub-irrigation watering may take a specialised container or reservoir which can raise the price of watering. Overall, manual methods and subirrigation systems are the least expensive options, while watering globes and automatic watering systems are the most expensive.