Plants need watering. This might sound ridiculously obvious but have you asked yourself why?
For a start, water is the main constituent of the protoplasm*of plant cells – like humans, the bulk of a plant is made up of water. In many instances the turgidity (plumpness) of cells gives plants their shape which is why they wilt if water levels drop too far.
Moreover, plants ‘feed’ on nutrients that are carried in solution in water. This means there must be sufficient moisture in the soil for plants to maintain a fairly consistent through-flow of water and the nutrients dissolved in it.
Watering is about the roots of the plants. Also dreadfully obvious but it’s true in two ways. Firstly, it’s the roots that must have access to water to replace what the plant loses through transpiration from its leaves; more about that in the tips below.
Secondly, the origin of a plant (its ‘roots’) determines the way it has adapted to its environment. Plants from wet climates are structurally different to those found in deserts – it’s all about survival. Furthermore, plants are programmed to be sensitive to the seasons. This is also true of bulbs: in the Western Cape (home of a glorious multitude of exquisite bulbs) has a Mediterranean climate – winter rainfall – while the Highveld enjoys summer rain. It should be no surprise that Watsonias that thrive on the rocky slopes of Table Mountain will be miserable in a swampy, sub-tropical KZN garden. They will, however, be happy if they are planted in a sunny position where the drainage is good.
There are so many easy and sensible things that we as gardeners and lovers of our beautiful planet can do to water wisely. Here are some good gardening practices:
All the points above are applicable, in one way or another, to bulbs but there are some more specific requirements you should know about if you want to your garden bulbs to flourish:
* pro·to·plasm n. The complex, semi fluid, translucent substance that constitutes the living matter of plant and animal cells and manifests the essential life functions of a cell.