So the weather is sunny and you have a tonne of flowers planted – great! You know your garden, especially anything in containers, needs water to thrive and when the rain stops, you have to be the one to provide it. This article is about how you can do this in a way that saves you the most amount of time and gives the plants the best possible outcome. Because let’s face it, when do finally get the weather, we want to spend our precious downtime enjoying the fruits of our labour and not necessarily minding a whole load of plant babies! So, we’re going to dive into the world of watering techniques. Grab your watering cans and let’s get those plants (and you!) hydrated and happy!
It’s Not Just Rain & Shine!
Remember it is not just about the sunshine! Most people can see the impact of the sun on the dry earth and the need to water then is fairly obvious but wind can wreak havoc on the moisture in the soil too. Picture this: the wind has blown through your garden, leaving your poor plants bone-dry. They’re thirstier than a marathon runner in the desert. Keep an eye on your plants. For smaller pots, where the soil isn’t visible, the quickest way to check is to pick them up and assess the weight.
Water the Soil, Not the Plant
Spraying the flowers is like trying to quench your thirst by pouring water on your head. It just doesn’t work! The roots are the ones that need the hydration, so focus your watering efforts around the base of the plants. Trust us, they’ll thank you for it.
Flowers and foliage can actually act like umbrellas and encourage the water to run off away from the plant roots. Just think you could spend ages with your hose attachment spraying and spraying and the plant does not really get the benefit.
There’s another reason to try to avoid spraying. When the sun is out, water on leaves and flowers can increase the risk of them scorching. Instead of luscious flowers and foliage, mis-watering can make them brown and crispy – not a good look!
Conserving water is really important in doing our bit for the environment too so taking a more targeted approach
The Right Tools for the Watering Job
So if you can’t spray, what are your options? I prefer a couple of watering cans. I fill one while I’m using the other. I take off the “rose” that creates a spray and in this way, I get a good amount of water directed exactly where it is needed. It gets the job done more quickly overall.
However, it is not always possible to carry watering cans about, so using your hose more carefully is also an option. Take off the attachments and get the nose in under the leaves.
For containers, I definitely find a smaller watering can with a longer spout is the easiest and quickest way to direct the water into the pot without spraying the plants inside. For containers, the foliage can prevent the roots receiving any water by directing the spray onto the ground entirely.
To prevent overrun from pots spilling soil onto your patio, if you press a little lip into the soil just inside the lip of the pot, it can act as a little moat and prevent the mess that can sometimes happen as well as increase the amount of water the pot holds.
What’s the Best Time?
When it comes to watering, timing is key. Water your plants in the early morning or evening when the sun isn’t scorching and the temperatures are cooler. This way, the soil can soak up the moisture without it evaporating too quickly. It’s like a refreshing drink for your plants before they face the heat of the day. Morning watering is less likely to attract slugs who are nocturnal too.
Soak It Up, Baby!
Now, if your plants are begging for water like they’re stranded in a desert oasis, the soil finds it hard to absorb the water and often it just runs through the container drainage holes or across the top of the soil. One option is to go with a “bit-by-bit” watering approach, but this takes a long time and while effective, is just not an option for us busy women! I much prefer the soaking method!
Grab a container, pour a generous amount of water directly onto the soil, and let it seep down to the roots. Think of it as a rejuvenating spa treatment for your precious plants and a way to water them back to life. Leave it a couple of hours or overnight but make sure to remove it as the only thing worse than no water is too much water!!
Spread the Load and the Love
I have found over the years that this is the one job that the kids will (almost!) always help with is watering. The littlest ones are brilliant at doing pots. So, save your back, arm them with the cans and a few instructions about minding the leaves and let them at it. It is a chance for them to feel part of a ‘special project’, cool off a little and have chats with the grown-ups on a joint activity. I like to think I’m passing on a little of my love for gardening and even if they switch off from it, the seed is planted for them to tap into in future (pardon the pun!)
Older ones love it too and if it turns into a water fight – who cares.
Whatever way you choose to go, this is not a job that can stay on the long finger for too long. So stick on a podcast, do it in your bare feet to cool off or with a drink in hand – whatever makes it less of a chore. Remember, watering your plants is like giving them a much-needed drink—it’s their secret to thriving and blooming with beauty.
If you would like to see a demo of the kinds of issues discussed here, why not check out my YouTube video on this topic.