Someone wise once rightly said that, too much of anything is bad! And that applies to rains as well. The rainy season is very important because it helps replenish water resources that provide us with water for drinking and other purposes. However, heavy rains and accompanying thunderstorms or lightnings can have a negative effect on potted plants on our terraces and balconies, or plants in open gardens. It is quite common to even see trees that have been uprooted or have their branches cut off, due to lightening and thunderstorms.
Potted plants on terraces and open gardens help improve the quality of air around, boost health and have many other benefits. But consistent heavy rains can cause the soil in pots to be water-logged. This can literally drown the plants, because water fills all the open spaces in the soil bed, thus preventing oxygen from reaching the roots. Without the essential nutrients the plants can actually suffocate and die.
Some of the symptoms of excessive waterlogging may be yellowing of leaves, leaves withering and dropping off, stunted growth, puddles on the surface of the soil in the pot, soggy roots and at times foul smell from the soil. Excessive presence of water also invites fungal attacks and other plant diseases that may kill the plants. Most of the pots though, are provided with holes at their base, to allow excessive water to drain off. However, this could also cause draining away of fertilizers or other nutrients, thereby hampering plant growth.
So what could be the little ways in which we can be of help to these plants that adorn our houses and gardens?
One of the ways to check this is to invest in or change into pots which have a raised base, and openings to allow water to drain away effectively. Another practical way is to add a layer of small rocks, gravel or pebbles at the bottom and then add the soil and fertilizer layers. Dig narrow (as narrow as a pencil maybe) ditches,vertically in the soil bed, and fill it with gravel or small rocks, to help drain the water away from the pot. Additionally it also becomes important to arrange a good system to lead the excess water from pots into the drainage system of the house or building or open area, to avoid messing up the house or garden area! And last but not the least, ensure that fertilizers are being replenished more frequently than in other seasons.
There are some plants – both ornamental and otherwise which thrive in wet soil. It is not always possible to consider these plants, for reasons of personal choices etc. but if drainage and water-logging are persistent issues, this is a good option.
Something interesting that is happening in many countries around the world is, what is called rainwater gardens, which are designed to use rain and storm water runoff and the nutrients in them, as well as to avoid soil erosion.
Taking care of your plants can be easy and very rewarding, isn’t it?
This story was earlier published in the Student Edition of The New Indian Express..
Sindhu Ramachandran is an engineer but with a passion for people and learning, found her calling in the domains of human behaviour and connection. What followed is an eight-year research into ‘Intentions of Human Behaviour’ which has now morphed into a project called “Simplifying Life!” Deeply spiritual in her outlook, she is an avid reader, an amateur documentary-film maker and very interested in mystical sciences, besides dabbling in writing when inspired by the environment around her!