Grow better plants while saving water

Your plants will thrive in the right conditions, and you'll save on watering too!

Top Tips

Use mulch to shade your soil

An organic mulch such as wood chip, straw, grass clippings or sheep wool will insulate the roots and keep moisture in the soil.

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Layer your plants

Plants of different heights shade each other and draw on different levels of moisture in the soil.

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Use peat-free compost

Peat is better left in the ground to store carbon and protect biodiversity. Find out how changing to peat-free compost may need a change in how you water.

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Train your plants to be drought athletes

Keeping your plants really well watered all of the time just encourages them to need more water. Reduce the amount of water you use, without causing your plants to wilt, and you’ll train them to be drought athletes.

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Protect plants from the heat

You can put up a sunshade over your plants, move containers into a shadier spot, push containers together so they shade each other slightly, or throw a light fabric over them.

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Use a water butt

Rain water is great for your garden as it is softer, contains nitrates, and has less salts and chemicals than tap water. The average roof collects 85,000 litres of rain a year, enough to fill a water butt 450 times!

Big plants keep your garden cool

Trees, shrubs and hedges cool the garden and are the least likely to need watering themselves.

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Make an olla

A terracotta olla (spanish for pot) is an ancient way of storing water in the soil for plants to absorb.

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Water your plants in the morning

The morning is the best time for watering because that’s when your plants and soil are ready to take in water

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Helping to water the garden

Use a watering can instead of a hose

A hose can use enough water to fill twelve baths every hour! So use a watering can when you can. Garden sprinklers and hosepipes left running can use between 500 and 1,000 litres of water an hour.

Think of your soil as a reservoir

To help get a better feel for the amount of water needed for your plants, think of your soil like a reservoir.

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Make your own compost to keep your soil moist

Used as mulch, compost helps soil retain more moisture by shading and cooling the roots, and helping the rain get in.

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Dried out lawn

Stop watering your lawn

Wait for the rain to water your lawn. It’s ok to let your grass go brown during dry spells. It will bounce back as soon as it rains again.

Top tips video

5 top tips to save water and grow better plants with Janet Manning, a leading horticultural scientist.

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Janet Manning

Gardening advice video

Janet Manning, a leading horticultural scientist, covers topics such as how much watering plants need and easy ways to use water butts.

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