Thursday, 5 July 2012

How often should you water your chilli plants?

A lot of people - certainly when they're just starting out - don't really know how much water or how often to water their chilli plants.
For people just starting out, it's actually more common for people to over water their plants. So, how often should you water them?

A simple, general rule of thumb that I go by is if the top of the soil is dry, then I'll water them a little. This pretty much applies for most of the plants life - from seedling to flowering.

If you know where your plants are (ie, if you've got them growing), you can feel the top soil and see how damp it is. Carefully push your finger a little way in to the soil and check how dry it is.
If it feels damp at all, there's still water in the soil and the plants probably don't need any more.

When I first plant my chillis, I tend to gently water them every 2 or 3 days.

Like I said - it's actually more of a problem if you overwater them. Too much water can actually cause the roots of the plant to rot, which is clearly a bad thing.

If you've left it too long, your plant will tell you - it'll start to wilt and droop. If that happens, just water it and it'll be happy again.

How much water?
Again, it's not too important. I'll give a smaller amount to seedlings, just enough to keep the soil slightly moist.
If the plants have been potted out, I've got another simple rule I go by - I pour enough water on top of the soil for it to reach the top of the pot. I like to do this because it scales nicely with the plant size.

And use a mister!
I like to use a little mister - one of those little hand held sprayers that makes the water really thin and, well, misty. I'll use this to give the leaves a little water if they look like they need it.
There's probably a lot more I can say about using hand held mist sprayers, so I'll write up a longer article about that on its own.

The only time this doesn't apply...
Is if your chilli plant is all big and growing fruit. At that point, you can hold back from watering your plant. My biggest plant - a scotch bonnet - I generally only water once a fortnight at the moment, but that's because it's growing fruit.

This generally makes the chillis grow larger and - more importantly! - hotter.

Any questions, or if you're not sure about something, feel free to add to the comments.

1 comment:

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