There are times when you think you’ve watered your plants adequately, but the moisture isn’t getting through. Other times, the plants didn’t really need a drink, or you watered at the wrong time. Here are some tips to get it right.
- Don’t water unless you have to. Monitor the condition of your plants. If you suspect they need a drink, push your finger down through the mulch and into the soil to check the moisture level.
- Watering in the morning or evening is always the most effective, but avoid watering disease-prone plants, such as roses, in the evening.
- Remember where you want the water to end up – the roots! Water directly into the root area, allowing enough time for the water to penetrate. An application of a commercial soil wetter can encourage the water to seep into the soil.
- Train your plants into good habits. Water deeply but less frequently to encourage roots to grow down to a deeper level.
- Position your thirstiest plants close to the tap or other water source.
- Check your pots daily. Pots heat up and dry out much more quickly than the soil in the garden.
- Ensure water can enter easily into the potting mix, as dry mix or soil can become water repellent. If a pot has completely dried out, soak it in a large container of water until bubbles no longer appear, then allow it to drain.
- Make sure water is also draining readily from pots. If not, clear the drainage holes and consider raising the pots onto pot feet.
- Never apply mulch to dry soil. Water first, then spread the mulch.
- When watering with a hose, use a trigger nozzle that has a watering rose with a large number of holes. This ensures you distribute the water evenly, and don’t blast away the mulch or topsoil or damage the plants’ roots.
- To keep up to date with any water restrictions in your local area, visit bom.gov.au/water/restrictions
Learn more about how to take care of your plants, including keeping hydrangeas hydrated, in the December 2020 issue of ABC Gardening Australia magazine, out now.