|I am having the most trouble with my houseplants! I do well outside, but I kill all things indoors. I have a Croton that is getting afternoon sun, and was fertilized weeks ago, but I also have it in one of these sub-irrigation pots that is suppose to reduce the need to water so frequently. Not going well, so you have any tips as to what I can do next time to allow these plants to thrive?|
|I think those self-watering containers can be helpful if you forget to regularly water your plants, but they do have some drawbacks. If they are too efficient they can keep the soil too soggy, which can stress the plants. Plant roots need oxygen as well as moisture. If the soil remains too wet, the roots can suffocate. About the only way to tell with your croton is to unpot it and check the root system. Healthy roots will be creamy white inside; dead or rotting roots will be rust colored. Check the moisture content of the soil, too. If it seems soggy at the bottom, the pot is holding too much water at the root level and you're courting disaster. If this is the case you may want to repot your croton in fresh potting soil and water it by hand rather than using the self-watering container. (You can use the container for moisture loving plants such as a bromeliad or even a pineapple top.)
Most houseplants are killed by overwatering than by any other cause. It's important to water thoroughly, but you'll also want to allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. The best way to check for soil moisture is to lift the pot. If it's light in weight, it's time to water. Or, you can stick your finger down into the soil. If it is still moist a half inch below the surface, you won't need to water for a few days; if it feels dry, it's time to water.
Hope this information is helpful!