How to: Feed and water plants

Just like humans, plants need food and water to survive. They find much of what they need in the soil and environment they’re growing in, but it’s often a helping hand from us that really encourages them to thrive. A regular feeding and watering regime is all that’s needed to make a difference, although it doesn’t need to be as rigorous as it sounds – just follow our simple, foolproof advice and you’re onto a winner. Plants growing in containers are the most vulnerable, as they are completely reliant on us to provide everything they need – prioritise these plants over all others.


  • Plants need water at their roots, so this is where you should direct the flow from your hosepipe or watering can. Sprinkling water over the leaves does nothing to help.
  • Always water plants at the time of planting, whether in a container, raised bed or border. Continue to water regularly until the plant is completely established – this can sometimes be for several months for trees and shrubs.
  • Water potted plants little and often, constantly checking the compost to see if it’s moist. Pay particular attention to pots that are under porch canopies, or the eaves of a house, as they won’t receive any rainfall.
  • You’ll need to water more in warm weather, but it’s important to also stay vigilant during the cold months as winter winds can dry out soil and compost.
  • Summer bedding plants (particularly those in hanging baskets) are the thirstiest plants around. Never let their compost dry out, which often means watering once or twice a day during hot weather.
  • Be careful when watering young plants and seedlings – they’re delicate and best watered with a small watering can with a gentle flow.


  • Add powdered food to planting holes when adding new plants to beds and borders. You need a feed that encourages roots to establish like bonemeal.
  • Work slow-release fertiliser into container compost at the time of planting pots. This special feed does exactly as you’d imagine, slowly releasing nutrients into the soil through the year.
  • Potted plants, especially hungry summer bedding, also benefit from a weekly liquid feed. This is simple to do, with feeds usually diluted with water in a can. You’ll find plenty in-store.
  • Boost garden soil by covering it with well-rotted garden compost or manure. This feeds the soil, along with improving its structure and making it easier to dig.
  • Also use well-rotted garden compost or manure to feed roses, hedges and mature trees. Simply spread it around the base of the plants in early spring. 

How to: feed and water plants

Fit water butts to drainpipes on houses, sheds and greenhouses – it’s a great way to conserve water and save money if you’re on a metered supply.

If you want to use an organic feed choose pelleted chicken manure or seaweed extract – find them both in-store.

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