jpeg666
Newly Registered
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Jul 12, 2012 7:34 pm

Do plants like WET soil or MOIST soil?

I am asking because I have a tomato seedling in a container under a T5 4' 4 bulb Floro light and I was always taught and told don't over water don't OVER WATER! so I get really picky about water but I noticed the tomato in the container Skyrockets after feeding and keeping the soil WET. If I keep it moist like my dad keeps telling me to do and not WET it barely grows at all.

So I am just wondering do seedling like to be kept WET because they are rapidly growing and when they are mature and established is when you kind of only keep the soil moist?

This is very confusing to me....If someone could give me some input and put my mind to rest I would really appreciate it. Thanks a lot

User avatar
Kisal
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7648
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 5:04 am
Location: Oregon

Most plants prefer to be kept evenly moist. Your tomato plant might react as you describe for awhile, but if kept wet continually, the roots will eventually rot and the plant will die. The burst of growth is more likely the result of the fertilizer, not the wet soil. It's important to recognize that such rapid growth isn't necessarily good for a plant, since it produces weaker tissues that can cause difficulty for the plant as it matures.

Another common problem that can develop when the soil is too wet, especially with seedlings, is the growth of fungi which can kill the plant. 'Damping off' is an example of such a problem. The damping off fungus usually isn't visible, except perhaps with a magnifying glass or microscope, but it kills the plant just the same.

Overwatering and underwatering cause the same symptoms in plants, because they both result in death of the roots. As the roots die, the parts of the top growth that they provided with nutrients will also die. The leaves will turn yellow, then begin to look brown and dry, then die completely.

There are some plants, of course, tomatoes not being among them, that do like to be kept wet. Those would be plants that normally grow in or near waterways, lakes and ponds.

One last comment: tomato plants like quite a lot of water. How much water you give them is less important than how rapidly the excess water can drain out of the soil they're growing in. If you used a high quality growing medium that drains very rapidly, you can give your plants a lot of water and not have to worry a whole lot. Water should not sit on the surface of the soil, nor should the container sit in water that has drained out of the soil. Be very careful about seedlings being too wet, though, as damping off can strike suddenly, causing the little plants to fall over and lie on the soil surface. There's no recovery from that, unfortunately.

I hope this helps you! :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Return to “Container Gardening Forum”