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Summer Gardening Tips: Keeping Up with Watering

By: Rachel Elmakiss

Your plants are thirsty! Arkansas gets hot this time of year and the best thing you can do for your outdoor plants is keep them watered. With the July heat and the lack of rain, it is absolutely essential to know how often your plants need water and to efficiently maintain soil moisture. Here are some quick tips to help you figure out the best watering practices for your plants!

When and How Often Should You Be Watering?

  • ∗ Potted Plants:

For your container plants, you will want to check them for water frequently during hotter seasons. Check your plants everyday – hanging baskets twice a day – for water. More than likely you’ll find yourself watering your container plants everyday.

∗ Garden-Beds or In-Ground:

For newly established plants you’ll want to check your plants twice a day to make sure they’re not drying out too much. For plants that are already established, you can check just once a day. The key to knowing whether your bed/in-ground plants need water is to check the top inch of your soil; if the top inch has dried out, then you’ll want to go ahead and water.

∗ When to Water:

You’ll want to water your plants early in the morning, around sunrise (5-8am). Watering your plants this early will help your plants retain moisture better throughout the day, as well as prevent mold and mildew. If you can’t water in the mornings or extra watering is needed in the afternoons or evenings, before 6 or 7 pm is best. This will give your plants the time they need to let any excess moisture, either in the soil or on the plants, dry off before any disease or mildews can take hold during the night.

How Can You Help the Soil Retain More Moisture?

  • ∗ Mulching and Weeding:

Adding a layer of mulch to the top of your soil will help retain moisture by blocking out the sun, reducing evaporation of moisture from your soil. Adding mulch will also help reduce the amount of weeds that could come up in your soil. Keeping your plants well-weeded will make sure that no weeds are taking valuable water from your plants.

∗ For Container Plants – Picking the Right Container:

What container your plant is in can affect how often it will need to be watered. Containers you’ll want to avoid using outside in the heat are terracotta and metal. Terracotta is porous, which will increase the surface area where water can evaporate from your soil. Metal will get too hot in the sun throughout the day, increasing the temperature of your soil and making any moisture evaporate faster. The best options are plastic containers, ceramic, or concrete containers with drainage holes on the bottom.

We hope that these quick tips will help you keep your garden and plants thriving all summer! Remember to keep checking in at Cantrell Gardens for more helpful tips and as always, feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable staff with any questions you may have. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you keep your garden healthy and beautiful all summer long!

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