Moist Soil vs. Overwatering vs. Something Else?
My best attempt to ask a convoluted question. I know what I list below doesn't apply to EVERY plant, but this is in regards to what I consider the average house plant's needs.<br><br>I know that no plants like to be overwatered, that pots with drainage are best, soil with good drainage is important, and roots don't like to sit in water. I haven't had plants for long but I think I'm a decent judge of when plants need water and when is too soon.<br><br>That being said, there are a few plants I own that take forever for their soil to become dry. It's not a puddle of water, but it stays consistently / evenly moist for much longer than my other plants. An example here is a Grape Leaf Ivy I purchased a few weeks ago. The soil was moist when it arrived, and it still is after at least 3 weeks.<br><br>Is this something I should be concerned about for any reason? I suppose I worry about mold or root rot or who knows what. Just not sure if there's something I should be changing, or if it's the soil the plants came in and I should change that or if they aren't getting enough light, or what!
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    PlntNrd How much light is this plant getting, how humid is the environment, how big is the pot, and is there a hole in the pot? First, the less light, the less water the plant will need/use. If you have a plant in a low light area, you won’t have to water it as often as the same plant in a high light spot. Second, if it’s in a humid environment, like bathroom, it could take longer to dry out because of the humidity. Third, bigger pots take longer to dry out. I have some 12 inch pots that I only water monthly, while my 4 inch with the type of plant, I have to water weekly. Last, and very important, if there isn’t a drainage hole and it’s taking a very long time to dry out, you are probably giving too much water at one time. When watering plants in pot without drainage hole, it’s best to give very small amounts. The same goes for watering plants without holes, but with a “drainage layer”. If you’re watering higher than the drainage layer, then the soil will be just sitting in soggy wet soil.
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      Plants_Armstrong This applies primarily to two of my plants, both ivies, so here are answers to your questions for both:

      _The plant is getting medium light - about 10' from window
      _Just coming into Spring so more humidity - I live in New York
      _The pot (and plant) is pretty big - I'd say at least 10"-12"
      _Pot is a plastic hanging planter with a hole in the center of bottom
      _I've had it about 3.5 weeks and haven't watered it once
      _Generally, I've seen no issues - 2 leafs dropped within first 2 weeks of arrival, but figured that wasn't crazy concerning

      This one hasn't shown any bad signs, so I assume it's fine, but I started to worry based on what happened to my English Ivy below.

      _Was getting medium to low light, but just moved to a brighter spot
      _Just coming into Spring so more humidity - I live in New York
      _The pot is probably 7"
      _Pot is a plastic hanging planter with several holes in bottom
      _I've had it for about 3 months and probably watered it 3 times
      _Although its vines were growing, the center was getting a lot of yellowing leaves at first. I checked for bugs and saw no evidence. This past week I noticed more yellowed leaves, 1-2 dead vines, and some moldiness at the base of some of the stems. I removed it from the pot, cleared as much of the old dirt as I could, removed dead vines and repotted in same container, then moved to a brighter location.

      I feel like it was getting decent light in the original spot, especially because it was growing, so maybe the soil was just old / bad? I only repotted 2 days ago so I haven't been able to track progress, but I'd really like to move it back to it's previous location if I can. I don't know what else to do other than changing out the soil again for something else?
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        Jeremy - The Horticultural Society A couple thoughts:
        -Some plants certainly evapotranspirate less, particularly if they're not getting much light
        -10' from a window strikes me as quite low light, not moderate, so this could certainly be part of the issue
        -changing the soil on the english ivy was a good idea, particularly given the symptoms that fit with root rot. This will help identify whether the issue had more to do with the potting soil quality or something else. I would only water this plant when the soil is dry for at least the top inch
        -English ivy is typically an outdoor plant, and while it's certainly kept indoors at times, it would prefer a bright indoor space, since the intensity of light indoors is much lower than outdoors.
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          Plants_Armstrong Thanks, Jeremy. I have since moved it considerably closer to my windows, so we shall see how that goes. Your notes about the ivy are helpful. I recently also moved the grape leaf ivy closer to my windows for fear of developing the same problem.

          I've often read that a basic way to consider your light situation is - if you can read the newspaper or a book without any additional light source and without squinting, your light is at least medium. My windows are very large and during the day this test would work just about anywhere in my apartment. Does this seem inaccurate in your experience?

          The former location of this ivy is a spot where I am really searching for a hanging / cascading type plant to work, but it's tough for me to tell if the light there is really untenable for most plants and I should give up.

          Alternatively, would it help if I changed up the soil type a bit for plants in those locations so it retained less water and dried out faster to combat the fact that plants there aren't using water as quickly? Would it help to add more perlite, for example, or even use something closer to a succulent soil to promote less water retention?
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            Jeremy - The Horticultural Society Yeah, I'd consider having to squint to read as extremely low light and also maybe not that reliable since our eyes are both different from one another's and different from time to time as they're able to adjust so well to different light conditions.
            Direct indoor light is already less than half the intensity of outdoor direct light and it drops off very quickly as you move further from a window. I haven't tried this yet, but there's probably apps for smartphones that can measure light intensity and this would be a more reliable way of figuring out how much light different areas of the house get. I'd guess that you'll find that the light 10' from the window is probably more than 20x less than right next to the window throughout the day.
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    Erin Such a great question! How's the drainage for your grape leaf ivy? If you don't see any symptoms of overwatering, and the plant has generally decent drainage, I don't think it's something to be concerned about!