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How to water pots

How to water pots
watering potted plants, how to water plants, watering plants, watering pots

It may seem like the simplest thing in the world, but a few simple ideas potting up plants for patio or indoors will make watering easy. Here we discuss how to water pots.

We all like to have the bright colours and exotic foliage offered by summer bedding and annuals. But looking after them when there has been no rain, or you’re away for a week or more can cause concern. After all, they are not cheap, and who wants a pot of dead plants on their doorstep?

When planting, consider the shape of the pot. A “standard” or traditional flower pot, be it clay or plastic, has a lip at the top. This usually represents about one tenth of the pot volume. And quite by chance, the volume of water required to soak the pot. It doesn’t matter what size the pot is, the proportions are the same.

How to water pots
A traditional plant pot with space for watering

So when you are potting up the pelargoniums and cannas, plant them below the lip, and pack the soil or compost only to that level. Water it in by filling the pot to the rim with water. That water should have reached the bottom of the pot. A regime that applies water before the compost is bone dry will allow that to be reliably repeated. Mostly.

How to water pots properly

Water won’t be able to easily penetrate the soil if its dried out. Or just run down the side of the pot where the soil has contracted. A simple test is to stick in a pencil or finger to a depth of two inches. If soil sticks to it then it has water enough for now. If nothing sticks then its time to water. It is also possible to break down the dry surface tension by adding washing up liquid, just a drop will do. That will help stop a tension forming and allow the water to soak in.

Watering of pots can be done weekly, if one properly; more frequently in severe heat or the prolonged absence of rain. Frequent shallow watering, in pots or in the ground, will stimulate the roots to grow to where the water is, near the surface, rather than deep into the soil where you want them to be. Water running out through the drainage holes tells you its done thoroughly.

How to water pots
Water pots thoroughly but less frequently

When you water also matters. Water in the morning or later in the evening, preventing the immediate evaporation that could occur in extreme heat. The reason most usually given was that leaves may be scorched in the sun, the water droplets magnifying the sun. This myth was debunked by tests as long ago as 2010.

How to water pots check list

Fill your pots to the correct level with  compost; leave room for water.

Test the soil to establish if water is needed.

Water less frequently but more thoroughly.

If the pot has dried out, apply water in parts gradually soaking the root ball enough for the water have got all the way to the bottom pf the pot.

If need be add washing up liquid to the water.

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