The nature of our business makes us quite dependent on water. We humans all require water, of course. Our plants need water not only for basic functions like absorbing and moving nutrients, dissolving and moving waste to the leaf surfaces or roots, and photosynthesis. In the case of herbaceous plants, water literally fills out their structure and makes standing upright possible through Turgor. Water also cools the leaf surfaces as moisture evaporates from the leaf surface through the Stomata in transpiration.
When we care for plants indoors, getting the right quantity and quality of water to each plant is essential. For individual plants in pots, water is moved in watering cans in one, 2 or 2.5 gallon sizes. Clients with large buildings, and large or multiple plants will see us wheeling pressurized tanks on wheels about. These are filled at threaded faucets in water closets, allowing us to move 12-14 gallons at a time and to dispense as needed throughout the space.
In atrium settings, we typically water using a hose and water breaker, allowing us to water the plants, wash down leaves and add humidity efficiently. Many of our green wall systems are equipped with irrigation systems, usually drip tubes or drip nozzles that add water to each plant. Some of our atria are also equipped this way. The larger the planting or the higher the wall, the more economic benefit is gained from an automatic system. Where there is automatic watering there must be drainage as well, of course.
When planning for plant care indoors, easy availability of water near planted areas, and ability to adjust the water temperature to room temperature or slightly warmer is important. A great deal of our training of technicians focuses on how to water, and how much and when to water. Though some plants indoors are individual trees, most are actually multiple rooted cuttings in a pot or multiple seedlings grown together. We monitor the moisture in several locations around the planter and at depths appropriate to the plant we are caring for and the size of the plant. Water balance is the key controllable factor for plant health, given that the plants are designed and placed based on the lighting and other environmental factors such as temperature and humidity.
A technician will never lift their pressurized tank with water in it, but the tank itself is around 50 pounds empty, and over 150 pounds to push when completely full. Individual buckets weigh 8 to 20 pounds filled, and may be filled dozens of times daily. It is possible for a technician to lift over 500 pounds of water on a service route, a few pounds at a time. No wonder our staff has great muscle tone!
Water is essential to life for plants and mammals, and we take our commitment to our plants with great dedication. We work hard to get the water balance just right for hundreds of species and varieties of tropical plants every work day!