6 Effective Ways To Increase Soil Water Retention

A Person Adding Drops of Water to the Soil

Watering your plants is one of the basic actions you need to take in the gardening hobby to maintain your plant’s needs of hydrogen. But sometimes, even this simple task can be stressful as water can dry up quickly in your soil.

Unnoticed, this can be a fatal mistake to your plants that thrive in high moisture levels. Chances are, you might wake up to seeing dead plants the next day.

I encountered this situation several times, which is why I decided to look for ways to increase the water retention in my plant’s soil, and with a lot of research and experimentation, I have come up with 6 effective ways to increase soil water retention.

This is to help prevent you from making the same mistake as I did. If you are currently experiencing low water retention in your plant’s soil, this informative article will help you to never experience this issue anymore.


6 Effective Ways To Increase Soil Water Retention

Although all methods below are guaranteed effective, it does not mean you need to apply all these methods to your plants. That will only result in more harm than good because applying most of these methods can suffocate your plants – Preventing them from proper access to oxygen, water, sunlight, and air supply.

Using one or two of the methods below that are compatible with one another is more than enough. Make sure to only choose methods that are suitable for your plants and soil. In short, know your plants and the soil that you are using first before applying any of these techniques. This is to verify if the procedures below are acceptable or not.

A Soil Shovel on Dirt
Image From: United Nations

1) Use Organic Soil

To begin, water retention has a big impact on what type of soil you are using.  Mainly, there are two types of soil, non-organic and organic. Non-organic is commonly used for neutral pH balance. This is why non-organic soil is often used in hydroponics.  However, it only helps regulate moisture levels, not increase them.

This is why using organic soil is much better for higher water retention compared to non-organic soil. I personally use organic soil for my plants that love to dwell in high moisture environments or wet soil.

Hands with a handful of soil with a small plant in it
Image From: Proterra Foundation

2) Do Not Till Often

Tilling soil is great for preparing your seeds to enter a soil that is quite hard, but for adult plants that require high-level moisture in their soil – tilling often will prevent them from getting the right amount of moisture.

I till my soil first before applying my plants to it, not the other way around. Not only will this balance the water retention, but this can also help the soil structure to regain back to its original form and strength faster.

If you ever want to prepare your soil first before planting, then I highly recommend checking out the articles below:


3) Water Thoroughly

Now that you have the right type of soil ready, you can then start watering your plants after you have applied them to the soil. One of the techniques I have observed that works well with water retention is to water thoroughly instead of watering frequently.

Deeper watering is far better and effective compared to frequent and shallow watering. This gives the roots more time to absorb the water, resulting in stronger and healthier roots. Moreover, you won’t have to water often anymore. So, always take time to make sure your plants are thoroughly watered.


4) Mulch Your Soil

If you haven’t considered mulch before, then you might want to purchase or get it now because mulch is excellent for enhancing water retention. It is cheap, and you can even get it for free. In addition to that, it does look rather appealing!

So, how does it improve water retention? Mulch has multiple effects on soil water retention. First, it blocks sunlight which delays water from drying up easily. Moreover, it holds water in the soil, which further delays the water from getting out.

I mulch all my plants that love high humidity, and they thrive in the wet soil that they are in.


5) Add Compost

Adding compost to your soil is another great way to improve water retention in your plants. This is because the components in compost help absorb water more, which is equal to more moisture retained as well. Compost also enhances the soil structure and overall health of your soil.

I only add a certain amount of compost to my plants’ soil to avoid too much water retention since compost absorbs a lot of water with high water capacity. Too much moisture can attract all sorts of garden pests, which is something you should definitely avoid.


6) Utilize Organic Matter

Along with your organic soil, you should utilize other organic matter for soil amendments as well. This is to further hold more moisture in the soil. However, always keep in mind to not add too much to prevent root rot and other common garden diseases that are caused by too much moisture.

A handful of wood chip mulch
Image From: Zimmerman

Final Thoughts On Increasing Soil Water Retention

Of course, moist soil is not for every plant, but if you have plants that appreciate high moisture levels in their soil, then consider using two or more of the methods above. Just make sure you are doing all the correct techniques to avoid complications.

Rest assured, all methods above are effective, and I personally use them on different kinds of plants in my garden.

If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to ask below!

About Ador Flores

Greetings! My name is Ador Flores, and I have been in love with nature ever since I was young. I bet you can agree when I say that mother nature tends to astonish you as well. While I may not be able to create mountains, waterfalls, and other majestic landscapes in my backyard, one thing is that I can for sure mimic nature by having a beautiful garden at home. Just from this simple mindset, it did not take long for me to turn gardening into a passion - a passion that changed my life forever. With the experiences I have had with gardening throughout all these years, I can definitely assure you that gardening is for everyone and I would love to share with all of you guys how fulfilling it really is! With the help of Seasonal Preferences, let us all become better gardeners and continue to promote a green and clean environment!

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