Alan Titchmarsh: Gardening expert explains how to water plants properly or risk ‘rot’

Alan Titchmarsh advises gardeners on watering their plants

Gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh has shared his top tips for watering plants in the garden effectively. Alan, who often makes an appearance on Britons’ TV screens, revealed the best time of day to water the plant and how to save water. Alan revealed his tips in 2016 on BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine’s YouTube channel.

He said: “There’s nothing more delightful than being in a summer garden.

“The moment at which a gardener’s work comes to fruition.

“All the plants are looking wonderful, the sun’s beaming down, but sometimes the rain isn’t forthcoming. Plants need water as well as light and air.”

Alan showed viewers his amaranth plant which has huge leaves.

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The gardening expert described the leaves as being “like solar panels” because the sun goes down the leaf vase and produces food.

He continued: “It’s sending it down to the rest of the plant, keeping it alive, but it won’t stay upright and turgid if it’s short of water. It will just wilt.”

Alan said the plant won’t be able to pump water up the plant fast enough from dry soil to keep pace with the plant’s growth and transpiration, which is where it loses water.

He described the plant’s transpiration being like when a human sweats.

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He added: “As you know when you get a bit hot, you need to drink. So do plants.”

But Alan said gardeners can’t just squirt water all over the plant’s leaves and around it as it won’t be watered evenly.

“It needs a really good soak to get down to the roots,” he explained.

“You can tell how far it’s gone down by using a trowel.”

Alan then put his trowel in the soil exposed the dry soil underneath the wet surface.

“So when you do water plants, don’t spray the surface of the leaves, and the top of the plant, or the flower.

“With some flowers it can cause them to rot anyway,” he said.

He added: “Plants need that water right at the roots.”

For some plants, Alan suggests taking the sprinkler head off the watering can and then watering it directly onto the soil.

He also you can make a dish by the base of the plant out of the soil so it retains the water.

Alan said the general rule is that one inch of water will travel about six inches down into the soil.

He did say it will take a while to permeate but it will eventually get to where it’s needed.

The gardening expert also said the best time of day to water is in the evening.

He explained: “Time of day to water? Best really in the evening, because then you know the sun’s going down, the evaporation won’t be quite so rapid.

“So water well, water in the evening and then sit back and enjoy your garden flowers.”

Love Your Weekend with Alan Titchmarsh airs today on ITV at 10am.

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