How to water your plants

How to water your plants

Watering plants helps them grow better, but it's important not to waste this valuable resource. Find out more, in our guide.

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Regular watering is essential for summer bedding, vegetables, pots and hanging baskets as well as newly-planted trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. In this practical project, we explain how to water your plants efficiently to reduce reliance on mains water and help conserve this precious resource.

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You Will Need

  • Water butt
  • Watering can with rose attachment
  • Water-retaining granules
  • Drip irrigation system
  • Hose pipe with spray gun attached

Step 1

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.

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How to water your plants - watering flowering plants
How to water your plants – watering flowering plants

Step 2

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.

How to water your plants - watering at the base of plants
How to water your plants – watering at the base of plants

Step 3

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.

How to water your plants - channelling water to the roots
How to water your plants – channelling water to the roots

Step 4

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.

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How to water your plants - using drip irrigation
How to water your plants – using drip irrigation

Step 5

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.

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How to water your plants - using a water butt
How to water your plants – using a water butt

Step 6

Using the contents of your bath to water your plants is an effective way to save mains water, especially in dry weather. Catherine Mansley, BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, explains how to use bath water in your garden, in our Quick Tips video:

Step 7

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.

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How to water your plants - using water-retaining granules
How to water your plants – using water-retaining granules

Step 8

If you have a lot of watering to do, a hose will save you time and effort but to make sure you only use the water you need and that it goes exactly where you want it to, use a spray gun attached to the end of your hose. Choose one that doesn’t leak or drip and look for a controllable flow option that can adjust the volume of water from 40-100%. Guns with an aerated spray control will also use less water.

For help choosing the right hose for your garden see our round up of the best garden hoses and our individual expert garden hose reviews

Watering in the plants in the container
How to water your plants – using a hose with a spray gun attached
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Choose large pots for your plants as they won’t dry out as quickly as small ones. Group pots together to make watering easier.

Blue tit. Photo: Getty Images.