What are indicator plants?
No matter if you are an experienced gardener trying a new type of flower or a newcomer in the art of gardening one of the most common mistakes you can make is either overwatering or not water your plants enough.
Disclaimer: Some plants DO require less watering because of their nature, such as succulents, let’s say, or, perhaps, cacti. This article is exclusively for non-extreme condition-loving plants.
So let’s assume you’re not looking after the tough-guys of the plant-world and you are just trying to maintain something alive for awhile in your garden.
What do you do if you have any doubts about your soil’s needs in terms of watering?
Surprisingly the solution is not “asking it”. Perceive your soil as your girlfriend – if something is wrong – you would find out when it’s already too late if you don’t do your own research on the matter.
There’s always the dirty way – you grab some of your soil and if you’re able to form a well-consistent ball out of it, without water dropping – the conditions are perfect and the soil is well watered.
But if it drips or it’s too powdery and unable to hold together – you should go in the corner of reflection and reconsider the gardening decisions you have taken lately.
But what if I tell you there’s this way easier way to instantly tell if your soil has the right amount of pure liquid hydrogen and oxygen?
Super secret secrets time: There are these plants that are very sensitive when they are in need of something. They’re basically the gardening drama-queens, which is welcome to every gardener, since it will provide them with the needed knowledge about their OTHER plants’ needs.
A very good watering plant indicators would be impatiens and coleus. Perfect water-o-meters they will instantly start playing crestfallen and beg for your gardening attention.
Note: your other plants will need water too, despite them being emotional shells and not making it as obvious as these spoiled brats.
These overreacting plants could indicate not only the deficit of water, but some specific ones are also used to detect present pests in the garden and even diseases.
Growing petunias will tell you if there’s an upcoming attack of thrips.
What is “thrips”?
They look like this:
They are also one of the most dangerous villain master-minds behind your garden’s future extinction. Feeding on your plants’ sap it is safe to say the little buggers literally suck the life out of your flowers and vegetables.
But with the Help of Indicator Plants you can be One Step Ahead of them and Quickly Quash the Little Sedition.
Another example of how plants with radar skills might be of use to your backyard are magnolias. Their blooming is perfectly timed with the time caterpillars become active in roaming your garden in search of plants to destroy(in order to get fat and become beautiful butterflies).
Interesting enough the list of information that plants carry for their surrounding environment keeps growing and includes:
- nitrogen in the soil or its fertility;
- ph levels(acidity);
- soil salinity;
There are thousands of indicator plants that indicate thousands different environmental conditions, not just watering.