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Top Ten Watering Tips to Fight Dry Weather

The UK is currently experiencing a dramatic heatwave. With water companies asking us to be conservative about our water usage, it’s best to concentrate efforts on watering plants that really do need it. Keep plants happy with our Top Ten Tips to keep plants hydrated!

  1. Check your soil moisture - Push your finger down into the soil as far as it will go to check how damp it is. If it’s cool or wet then avoid watering, but if it’s dry, then grab your watering can! Alternatively, try using a moisture metre to find out how dry your soil is.
  2. Water in the morning - Temperatures tend to be coolest first thing in the morning or later in the evening. Watering early in the morning ensures that plants can drink what they need before they spend the day turning all that sunshine into new growth!
  3. Drench your plants - Water plants well, flooding them with water, though not too frequently. Don’t forget to direct water to the base of plants, rather than the foliage, to ensure it soaks through to the roots. It’s best to use watering cans without a sprinkler setting for this.
  4. Increase shade - Move potted plants into shadier areas to prevent them from drying out. Putting vulnerable plants into the shade of shrubs, hedges, trees and pergolas can ensure that they dry out less on hot days.
  5. Use a Hose with a Soaker Spray Setting - Try using the soaker setting on your hose’s spray gun to ensure that water gets straight to the base of plants. This is much more efficient than using the shower setting of a hose, because you don’t end up watering the surrounding soil and encouraging weeds!
  6. Mulch your Garden - Add a moistening layer of organic material on top of your soil. Topping your soil with products like bark chippings or mulch keeps the temperature of the soil lower and allows soil to retain more water. You can find products here.
  7. Try an Irrigation System whilst you’re on Holiday - Drip irrigation systems are fantastic for carrying water straight to the right place. Set up a system in your flower beds or greenhouse, using a timer to water consistently. Don’t forget to turn it off when the weather forecast predicts rain, though!
  8. Install a Water Butt - Water butts are a fantastic way to collect rainwater, so that you can water your garden in a sustainable way. Plants prefer rainwater as the chlorine in tap water can be harmful to them. Rainwater often provides a plant with essential minerals in the most natural way!
  9. Let your Lawn Grow - Your lawn will go brown in drier conditions, but it will recover when the rain returns! Don’t bother with a sprinkler – save water for less drought-tolerant flowering plants. Instead, set the lawnmower to a higher cut setting to allow grass to grow taller. Longer grass will shade the roots more so that they retain moisture and it’s better for wildlife, too!
  10. Dunk Hanging Baskets and Containers - Your hanging baskets will be happiest when they’re given a good drench! If you have a large enough bucket or flexi-tub then soak your hanging baskets and pot plants for several minutes, to ensure they get a good drink. Alternatively, take a good watering can around and deliver a good amount of water to the base of every plant.

Focus your watering on perennials and bedding plants. Don’t forget that established trees and shrubs will be much more resilient to dry spells because their root systems go far deeper. Plants in containers and baskets – especially terracotta pots – will dry out faster, so make sure you give them extra attention!

Remember to use some of these tips on your houseplants too! Many will need watering much more frequently than usual because of the hot weather. A good way to tell how thirsty your houseplant is getting is adding a layer of sphagnum moss to the top of soil. When it dries out, your plant probably needs watering! Keep your plants cool and your moss damp by using a mister.

So… what are you waiting for? Battle the rising mercury and try some of these tips out!