Understanding Chlorophytum’s Watering Needs
Chlorophytum plants absorb moisture through their roots and leaves. Their water needs vary based on factors like temperature, humidity, soil type, and season. In general, allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out before watering. During active growth in spring and summer, most Chlorophytum varieties need moderate, consistent moisture. Reduce watering in fall and winter when growth slows down.
Mist your plant in dry weather to increase the water they absorb through their leaves. Only use room temperature, filtered, or rainwater for your Chlorophytum. Tap water often has chemicals like fluoride and chlorine that can damage the roots. Distilled water lacks nutrients, so avoid using only distilled water. If tap water is your only option, let it sit out overnight before using so chemicals can evaporate.
Water your Chlorophytum thoroughly until water flows out the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Discard any excess water from the drainage saucer. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out before watering again. For indoor plants, take the plant to the sink and water gently until saturated. Let the plant drain completely, then return it to its spot.
Choosing the Right Water for Your Chlorophytum
Chlorophytum plants should be watered with room temperature or lukewarm water. Using water that is too cold can shock the plant. Water your Chlorophytum with rainwater or filtered water whenever possible, as these options contain natural minerals and nutrients. Tap water contains chemicals like chlorine and fluoride that can build up in the soil and damage the roots over time. If using tap water, fill a pitcher and let it sit out uncovered for at least overnight before using so the chemicals can evaporate.
Avoid using distilled water or softened water for your Chlorophytum. While distilled water is very pure, it lacks beneficial minerals and salts that your plant needs. Softeners remove minerals from hard water using an ion exchange process, resulting in water high in sodium which can damage the roots.
|Water Type||Properties||For Chlorophytum?|
|Tap water||Contains added chlorine and fluorine||Only if allowed to sit out overnight|
|Filtered water||Removes impurities while retaining benefits||Yes|
|Rainwater||Natural and mineral-rich||Yes|
|Softened water||High in sodium, lacks other minerals||No|
During the growing season, fertilize your Chlorophytum every other week using a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer with equal parts nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (such as 10-10-10). Reduce or stop feeding in the fall and winter when growth slows down. Follow the directions on the product packaging and be careful not to overfeed, as this can burn the roots. Fertilizer builds up in the soil over time and won’t evaporate like chemicals in water, so monthly leaching during the winter may be necessary.
Misting the leaves of your Chlorophytum in between waterings provides humidity and refreshes the foliage. Use filtered or rainwater for misting. Avoid misting with tap water since water spots caused by hard minerals can damage the leaves over time.
Watering Techniques for Chlorophytum
The best way to water a Chlorophytum is to soak the entire root ball thoroughly until water flows freely from the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot. Do not leave the plant sitting in excess water after watering, remove any water that collects in the saucer under the pot. Allow the top inch or so of soil to dry out between waterings. During the active growing season in spring and summer, most Chlorophytum varieties need moderate, consistent moisture and soil that remains lightly damp but not soggy.
For indoor plants, the easiest method is to take the plant to the sink and slowly run room temperature water over the surface of the soil until saturated. Let the excess water drain completely, then return the plant to its usual spot. Never leave a Chlorophytum sitting in excess water, as this can lead to root rot. In areas with low humidity, misting the leaves with a spray bottle in between waterings provides extra moisture for uptake by the stomata. Avoid misting with untreated tap water since hard water spots can form on the foliage.
The water needs of a Chlorophytum vary based on factors like temperature, humidity levels, the type of pot it’s in, and the season. Reduce watering frequency in the fall and winter when growth slows down and the plant is dormant or semi-dormant. Allow the top few inches of soil to dry out between waterings during this time. Increase watering again in spring and summer as growth resumes and temperatures rise. The following table provides a recommended watering schedule based on season:
|Spring/Summer (Active Growth)||When top inch or so of soil is dry|
|Fall||When top few inches of soil are dry|
|Winter (Dormant or Semi-Dormant)||When top few inches of soil are dry|
For best results, water your Chlorophytum regularly and fertilize every other week during the growing season. Use a balanced, all-purpose fertilizer at half the recommended strength, and always follow the directions on the product packaging. Reduce or stop feeding in the fall and winter when growth slows down. Regular watering and balanced fertilizer will keep your Chlorophytum healthy and encourage new growth.
Signs of Overwatering and How to Fix Them
The most common signs of overwatering in Chlorophytum are wilting, dropping lower leaves, and root rot. Wilting occurs when the roots are damaged from excess moisture and can no longer absorb enough water to supply the rest of the plant. Lower leaves may turn yellow or brown and drop off due to root rot preventing them from receiving nutrition. If overwatering continues, root rot can kill the entire plant.
To fix an overwatered Chlorophytum, the first step is to remove it from its pot and gently shake away as much wet soil as possible from the roots. Any rotten roots should be pruned off using sterilized scissors or pruning shears before repotting. Repot the plant in a container with drainage holes, using a well-draining potting mix instead of regular potting soil. Do not water the Chlorophytum for at least a week after repotting to allow the roots to dry out.
Over time, you will need to modify your watering schedule to match the needs of your plant. The following table provides some guidelines for reducing excess moisture:
|Fix||How To Do|
|Water less frequently||Only water when the top few inches of soil are dry. Stick your finger in the soil to check moisture levels before watering.|
|Water less at a time||Reduce the amount of water with each watering. Only add enough to moisten the soil rather than saturating it.|
|Improve drainage||Repot in a container with more/larger drainage holes and refresh the potting mix. Perlite or sand can be added to improve aeration.|
|Increase humidity||Mist your Chlorophytum with a spray bottle to provide humidity without overwatering. Use filtered or rainwater to avoid hard water spots.|
|Fertilize lightly or not at all||Reduce or eliminate fertilizer until the overwatering issue is resolved. Fertilizer can burn wet roots.|
The key to fixing an overwatered Chlorophytum is patience while the roots recover. Only resume a normal watering and feeding schedule once new healthy growth appears. With the proper adjustments to moisture levels and care, most overwatered Chlorophytum plants will make a full recovery if caught early enough. But severe or persistent overwatering can be fatal, so careful monitoring of your plant’s condition is critical.