Plant Conditioning- Watering

Q: I work in a garden center. A customer believes that we “train” our plants to need water every day because we water them regularly. Is this true?

A: The plants were “trained” long before they came to you. In moist soil, plants take what water they need and leave the rest. If surplus water keeps the roots soggy, they get root rot and die. Greenhouse growing media is very fast-draining because growers don’t want to fight root rot. Therefore, at the garden center you have to water often because your plants dry out quickly. Normal soil doesn’t dry nearly so fast, so homeowners should water their plants sparingly the first week or two, to allow the roots to acclimate themselves to the new drainage conditions. In this case, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to “train” their plants, not yours.