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How to water your plants

You will need

  • Watering can or hosepipe
  • Watering can rose or fine spray nozzle
  • Water-retaining granules
  • Micro-drip irrigation system and timer
  • Water butt
Do it: late-March - early September
Takes just: 20 minutes


Regular watering is essential for summer bedding, vegetables, pots and hanging baskets as well as newly-planted trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Our tips show how to water your plants properly so that they can make best use of it and so that we don't waste this valuable resource.

How to do it


Always water your plants in the cool of the evening or very early in the morning, rather than during the day, when most of the water would evaporate before getting to the plant roots.


Apply water to the base of plants where it can soak down to the roots. In hot weather, give each plant a good soak at two or three day intervals, rather than a quick sprinkle every day.


Help channel water to the roots of thirsty plants, like this tomato (see picture), by burying a flowerpot alongside it. This can be filled with water where it will soak down into the soil.


Micro-drip irrigation systems can be installed to deliver water directly to where the plants can use it. Applied slowly, water gradually soaks to the roots, rather than running off or evaporating. It will save you time and reduce the amount of water that's wasted.


Store as much rainfall as you can in water butts collected from the roof of your house, garage, shed and greenhouse. This will be warmer and thus cause less of a shock to plant roots than mains water.


Use waste water from preparing vegetables and washing up as well as that from baths and showers. Don't use water that contains bleach or powerful household cleaning products, which could damage plants.


Water-retaining granules can be added to the compost when planting bedding in pots, hanging baskets and other containers. The roots of the plants grow around the saturated granules to draw moisture as they need it.

Our tip

Don't worry about the lawn in dry weather. It will soon recover the next time it rains.

Grow drought-tolerant plants that can survive without regular watering in summer.

Choose large pots for your plants as they won't dry out as quickly as small ones. Group pots together to make watering easier.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to water your plants
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redreg97 24/11/2011 at 15:28

Thanks for gardeners world most helpfull and imformative,
such a lot of helpfull imfomation and lots of good tips thank you. i live in tenerife and at the moment it is extreamly hot 8-30 am 98f rest of the day up to 112f plus a sorroco very strong hot wind, it plays havoc with plants trees ect is it ok douce the foliage ect as well as getting to the roots? thank you redreg97.

dilewis 24/11/2011 at 15:28

very useful

myself 24/11/2011 at 15:29

very useful,informative and easy peasy to understand for beginners like me!!!thankyou

greenerthumbs 24/11/2011 at 15:29

No. 3, Genius, never seen this before, I wonder if there is a product designed for the job?

No. 7, Water-retaining granules.
I can highly recommend RainGel products from I have used them for years and they massively reduce the amount of watering need in baskets and pots. Good for you and the environment.

younggardener22 24/11/2011 at 15:29

REALLY GOOD TIPS.............i diddn't think you could re-use your water for so much different things =)

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