How much and when to Water your Plants.
How much and when to Water your Plants
If you’re a beginner gardener, one of the questions you might have is how much and when should you water your plants. Knowing the best way to water will help to keep your plants healthy and productive, so there are a few things you will need to take into consideration: here we explain the basics.
1. What kind of plants you have and what size they are.
Larger plants with more leaves, and those which produce fruit or flowers, generally need more water. Plants with shallow root systems, such as young plants, vegetables and annual bedding will need watering more often than something like a mature tree or shrub, which has deep roots and can seek out water more easily. Newly planted plants also need more water than those that are established.
2. What type of soil you have.
Clay soil holds more water than sandy soil - the sandier your soil, the more frequently you’ll need to water. If you're not sure what soil type you have, read about it here.
3. Whether your plants are in pots or in the soil.
The roots of potted plants can’t reach as far to find water, so they need watering more often. Always feel the soil first, so that you don’t overwater them - especially if there are no drainage holes in the pot. Overwatering could make the pot waterlogged and cause the roots to rot.
4. The weather and season.
In hot weather, water evaporates more quickly so you may need to water every day - especially for plants with shallow root systems. In winter you shouldn’t have to water at all due to the increased rainfall, lower temperatures and the fact that most plants will be dormant (not actively growing).
How do I know when my plants need watering?
Your plants need watering if:
- The soil feels dry when you press it with your fingers
- The plants start to wilt - their leaves look dry and point downwards. The leaves may also look dull, brown or yellow at the edges or darker than normal.
- They should be producing flowers or fruit but nothing’s happening
What's the best way to water?
Deep watering encourages deeper and stronger root growth. About 4cm per week is a good amount of water. Watering more often but shallower can lead to weaker root growth due to evaporation.
Watering with saved rainwater (from a butt or barrel) is best for your plants (and your bank balance if you’re on a water meter). Find out how to save rainwater here.
Use a watering can or a hosepipe with a sprinkler attachment, to avoid blasting any delicate parts of the plant. Water at the base of the plant to avoid getting the leaves wet, as this can encourage fungal diseases such as downy mildew.
When is the best time to water?
Early morning is the best time of day to water the garden. It’s still cool outside, which means less water evaporates and more can reach the roots of the plants.
If this isn’t possible, late afternoon or early evening is also a good time.
Every plant has its own watering needs. If in doubt, check the product page of our website for your plant, where you’ll find complete care instructions for each variety.
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