Thirsty plants? Top tips for watering your plants in hot weather

To prevent your plants hanging their heads in summer, they need plenty of water. But how much, how often, water from above or below?

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It is often difficult to gauge how much water for container garden plants is necessary. There is a fine line between drought and soggy soil, and either one can be detrimental to plant health. Summer is the most difficult time for container plant watering.

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Here you find some smart and helpful facts for watering your plants.

Rule no. 1: Keep evenly moist
Most plants depend on even moisture. However, slight drying out before watering promotes root growth of the plants.

Rule no. 2: Water more seldom but then thoroughly
In the flower bed, one to two watering sessions per week are usually sufficient: better to water more seldom but with plenty of water rather than a little water often.

Rule no. 3: Water late in the evening or early in the morning
When you water cooled soil in the evening or night then less water evaporates than as on hot soil during the day. And the plants can sufficiently supply themselves with water before the next day’s heat.

Rule no. 4: Keep leaves dry
Wet leaves become diseased leaves. Kept wet overnight, leaf-mould diseases may result. Leaves that are made wet in the sun develop slight burn marks (burning glass effect of the water droplets).

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Rule no. 5: Give the right water quantity
Requirement-suited watering means that the water must sufficiently reach the roots. Too-low water quantities often only cover the upper soil centimetres – or don’t even reach them at all, e.g. when there is a mulch covering of the soil and too little irrigation.

Rule no. 6: Give larger water quantities in parts
Water needs a moment to seep into the soil. Before precious water in the bed flows away unused, it’s better to water repeatedly in parts.

Rule no. 7: Water with a target but distribute
Always watering at only one root point leads to one-sided root growth and thereby to poorer nutrient absorption in the soil. Therefore, always water around the plant and distribute in the entire irrigation area.

Rule no. 8: Irrigate in a way that saves water
Water as much as necessary and as little as possible. This is simplified with an automatic irrigation system with moisture sensor – in the bed, on the balcony and on the lawn.

Rule no. 9: Avoid waterlogging
Waterlogging suppresses the breathing air of the roots out of the soil – the root cells drown without oxygen.

Rule no. 10: Use quality, clay-rich soil
Plant soil rich in clay minerals has better expanding properties and can therefore hold soil in the water better and in a more even way. In wet summers and in winter, ensure water drainage to prevent waterlogging.

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Special considerations

  1. Even drought-tolerant plants need regular water until they are established.
  2. Planted containers tend to dry out quickly, particularly unglazed clay pots. Check them daily during the summer by sticking your finger into the soil. If it’s dry down to the first knuckle on your index finger, add water. Always apply enough water so that some drips out of the bottom drain hole.
  3. Shallow-rooted plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas, heathers, and bedding plants may need more frequent watering than other plants.
  4. Young trees need deep regular watering. During times of little or no rain, water deeply once a week until trees become established.

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When plants are kept in the house as potted plants, their watering needs will differ from those of plants grown in the soil outside. The symptoms of over-watering and under-watering plants are very similar, and improper watering causes more houseplants to die than any other factor. So, it is important to know how to water a plant.