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How to keep your garden alive through the heatwave

Date Posted: 01 August 2018

People may love a heatwave but plants are often not so keen. If wilting plants are putting a dampener on your alfresco evening G’n’T, here are a few tips to keep your garden fresh in the heat.


Don’t waste water and time sprinkling the lawn. It may turn brown in the hot weather, but it will recover on its own. Learn to love the African savannah look — it won’t last forever.


Water early before work, or after work, not in the heat of the day, to keep the soil moist for longer. It’s also better since water splashed on leaves can damage them in strong sunlight, the droplets acting like magnifying glasses to intensify the sun’s rays.


Plants in pots dry out really fast in hot weather, often needing to be watered twice a day. Make things easier by putting trays or saucers under them so they have a reservoir to draw from. You could also temporarily move containers from hot spots to shade.

For really dry plants, add a few handfuls of garden compost around them straight after you’ve watered. It keeps the soil damp for longer and will feed it, too. If plants still look peaky, dilute a capful of liquid seaweed feed in a full watering can and water it over the leaves at a cool time of day to give it a foliar feed.


As well as garden compost, anything that stops moisture from evaporating from the soil in hot weather is worth doing. Use gravel, pea shingle, bark chips, layers of newspaper or cardboard, but water well before you put it on or you’ll seal in dry soil that will struggle to benefit when it finally does rain.


If you’re planting up pots or hanging baskets, mix a spoonful of water-retaining crystals, such as Watergel Water Storing Crystals to the compost. They swell up then release water back into the compost, keeping it damp for longer.


Waving a hose about for a couple of minutes won’t do much good. Drench plants in the ground with half a watering can of water per plant or leave the hose on the ground under stressed plants for several minutes.