Watering and feeding your plants

Watering your plants

Hopefully you’ll have minimised your use of containers and kept the ones you do have large and grouped together, so watering should not be too time consuming. As a general rule, anything planted in the soil should not need watering unless it has only been planted this year or there is a particularly long drought. Your regular watering should only focus on container grown plants.

Assuming you don’t have an automated watering system, you should aim to water your plants thoroughly each time. This should mean they require less watering and grow deeper roots which are less vulnerable to drought (particularly important for plants in the soil). Concentrate your efforts on the plants which are most vulnerable to drought.

Containers should be mulched and if possible stood in saucers so a reservoir of water is kept available to them. Water plants when the sun isn’t shining directly on them – firstly because this can scorch the leaves if they get wet and, secondly, because a lot of the water will evaporate before it gets to the plant.

Feeding your plants

Plants in containers will need feeding to ensure the best display. Plants in beds and borders will generally perform better with feeding, but can survive without it. How well they flourish will depend on how the natural nutrient levels in your soil.

Slow-release fertilisers are the quickest way of dealing with feeding plants, particularly for containers where they may only need one application for the whole season. For annual displays, it’s easiest to incorporate the slow-release fertiliser when you plant the containers. They can be added into the top few centimetres of compost for permanent containers.

Slow-release fertilisers may also be applied once a year to plants growing in the garden. These can be quickly and easily applied as ‘top dressing’ around the top of the plant, lightly hoeing them into the soil and watering well (unless rain is expected imminently).