20july10wilt Wilting Doesn't Always Mean Water

by KYW’s Phran Novelli

If it’s wilting, do you have to water? Not necessarily.

Plants wilt for a number of reasons, which can include being very thirsty. But before you reach for the hose, check to make sure that’s the trouble. Because many plants droop their leaves just to protect themselves – it reduces the amount of leaf surface that’s exposed to the sun.

You protect yourself on a sunny day by putting on a hat or sitting in the shade; but since a plant can’t get up and move, it does the next best thing and creates its own shade by dropping its leaves in the heat of the day. Drooping helps shade the back side of the leaves where most of evaporating pores of the plant are located – that helps conserve moisture. Plants are pretty smart that way.

Then, later in the day, when the sun starts to set, the leaves usually stop wilting. If they don’t, you definitely want to check the soil – and if it’s dry, put a hose on the ground near the plant and let it run slowly, to help the water get absorbed deeply into the soil.

(Photo: by Phran Novelli)

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