As gardeners, sometimes we simply cannot resist trying unique and unusual plants. If you live in a tropical region, you may have tried growing the perennial grass sugarcane, and probably realized it can be a water hog. Sugarcane water requirements is an important aspect of meeting the proper growth and care of your plants. Read on to learn about watering sugarcane plants.
Sugarcane Water Needs
Sugarcane, or Saccharum, is a perennial grass that requires a long growing season and regular sugarcane irrigation. The plant also requires the heat and humidity of the tropics to produce the sweet sap that sugar is derived from. Providing enough, but not too much, water is oftentimes a struggle for sugarcane growers.
If sugarcane water needs are not properly met, it can result in stunted plants, improper seed germination and natural propagation, decreased amount of sap in plants and loss of yield to sugarcane crops. Likewise, too much water can result in fungal diseases and rots, decreased sugar yields, leaching of nutrients and generally unhealthy sugarcane plants.
How to Water Sugarcane Plants
Proper sugarcane irrigation depends on climatic conditions in your region as well as the type of soil, where grown (i.e. in ground or container) and method of watering used. In general, you’ll want to provide sugarcane with about 1-2 inches (2.5 to 5 cm.) of water each week to maintain adequate soil moisture. This, of course, may increase in periods of excessively hot or dry weather. Container-grown plants may also require additional watering than those in the ground.
Overhead watering is not typically encouraged, as this could lead to wet foliage that is prone to fungal issues. Container plantings or small patches of sugarcane may be hand watered at the base of the plant as needed. Larger areas, however, will most often benefit from watering the area with a soaker hose or drip irrigation.