1. Mix water-retaining gel into your compost when you plant your containers.
That's an easy way to help your plants right from the start.
2. Avoid using purely peat-based compost on its own in pots.
As it dries out, it shrinks from the sides of the pot and is very difficult to re-wet. Any water heads for the gap between the pot and the compost and pours straight out the bottom!
3. Group earthenware containers together to help keep moisture in.
Terracotta pots look wonderful but because they are porous, they allow water to wick away. In hot weather especially, keep these close together.
4. Keep metal and plastic pots in groups in the shade.
Metal and plastic pots hold water more efficiently but they can overheat, so it’s worth grouping them together in a shaded area before you go away.
5. Don't put pots too close to fences or walls.
They need to be somewhere they can catch rain.
6. Avoid hanging shallow baskets in full sun.
They're the most likely to dry out quickly.
7. Or just take down hanging baskets.
Rest them on a bucket in a shady spot, but don’t inadvertently advertise the fact you are away by taking down those at the front of the house.
8. Use automatic irrigation systems.
They're the best solution for worry-free watering. Once set up, they’ll deliver water where and when it is needed. They’re ideal for containers and even better for hanging baskets or window boxes that are hard to reach. The kits carry water from a reservoir in slim flexible tubing that attaches to individual drippers positioned in each container–usually up to 20 at a time–and can be hooked up to timers on taps.
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