Water, water, feed, water, water, feed that’s all I seem to be doing at the moment but it does make all the difference and it’s not like it’s hard work – quite a sedate way to start and finish the day actually.
If you’ve got containers or are establishing shrubs and perennials that you planted this spring you’ll be (or should be!) doing the same. Ideally water when it’s cool early morning, evening time that way there’s less evaporation so more water gets to the plant and there’s less likelihood of delicate leaves getting scorched. Having said that if your plant is looking like it’s about to expire due to lack of water don’t wait until the evening! Give it a good soak there and then, making sure the water goes round the base of the plant rather than spraying it about – which is the best way whenever you’re watering.
Once shrubs, trees and perennials are well established they very rarely need watering and will survive short periods of drought happily. If you do have containers it’s well worth while standing them in saucers, water that drains through gets re- absorbed and if there is some rain the plants may hold on to a little more.
Feeding containers of bedding plants keeps them healthy and strong, so you’ll get way more flowers for longer and the plants themselves are more resilient to pests and disease. For my bedding plants and veges like tomatoes and cucumbers I use a liquid feed once every 7-10 days (plants react way more quickly to liquid feeds) rather than a granular feed and they work out the best value per unit of nutrient – go for a tomato liquid feed for really good value! However when it comes to my roses I go for a specific rose feed which is granular and is lightly forked into the soil round the base (needs to be applied early spring and after first flush of blooms – so about now).
Whichever feed you go for do follow the instructions for application rates – the manufacturers spend a lot of time and money working out the best rates to get the best growth – and by the way adding more than the recommended amount at the best just wastes it, at the worst could actually kill the plant!