How and when do I water my plants?

Every gardener these days knows the importance of being water-wise in the garden. Here are some helpful hints from the Texture Plants Team.

Before You Plant:

If you are not planting your plants straight away, your plants will need to be watered daily while they are still in the pots. So it is better to get your garden beds ready for planting before you buy the plants, rather than be holding plants for several days.


Water your plants before you plant them. If the mix is too dry it may fall away and damage the roots. Root damage at the time of planting is a very common cause of plant death. For this reason, you should NOT tease out the roots when you are planting, since this is a sure way to damage or stunt the plant’s growth. Teasing the roots is an old wives’ tale left over from a bygone era. Modern nursery technology ensures that you should never have to purchase a root-bound plant.


What you MUST do when you plant is water-in each plant with about a bucketful of water, as soon as possible after planting. You should plant a few plants, then water them in. DON’T plant the lot, have cup of tea and then water them in. Even if it’s raining you must still do this. The reason for this watering-in is to settle the soil around the root-ball of the plant. If there is complete contact with the potting mix, moisture from the soil will easily transfer to the roots of the plant. This initial watering will also remove any air pockets in the soil.

Immediate After-Care:

For the first few weeks after planting, your plants will need special attention. The soil must be kept very moist for this period. How often you water them will depend on your soil type, the time of the year and prevailing weather conditions.
As a rule of thumb, water your plants every day for the first couple of days, then twice a week for a few weeks, then once a week etc. until they are established. Light sandy soils near the beach will require more water than clay-based soils. Remember plants do need to dry out between watering. If the soil is moist don’t water as there is adequate moisture around the plant. Beware of over watering this is just as bad as letting the plant dry out.
It takes about three months to establish a plant, and for this time you will need to monitor them carefully. Most species will give you some warning when they need water – the leaves will wilt, lose their sheen and their general look of vitality. BE CAREFUL, the symptoms for over water are exactly the same as under water. If in doubt dig a small hole near the root zone to inspect the moisture levels.

Long Term Maintenance:

If, once your plants are established, you continue to water them every few days or even every week, the roots will remain on the surface. This will mean that your plants will blow over easily during a storm and you will not be able to leave them for a couple of weeks without watering.
If you want to be able to go away on holidays for a few weeks, and not have to worry about your garden, you must adopt the correct watering regime.
The principle is simple:
Prepare your garden beds correctly before planting.
Water very well when you do water, but don’t water too often.
The idea is to thoroughly soak the ground, equivalent to about 50 mm of rain, and then delay the next watering for as long as possible. If you have well drained soil you can leave the sprinklers in the same place for two or three days. In clay soils you will have to shift them as soon as water starts to run, but you must keep shifting them back until the ground is completely soaked.

Points To Remember :

 Prepare your garden beds correctly before planting.
 Water your plants before planting.
 Water-in each plant with a bucket full of water as soon as possible after planting.
 Use plenty of mulch.
 Water very well when you do water, but don’t water too often.


The term succulents covers quite a broad range of plants including  Aloes, Agaves, Yuccas, Sempervivum, Crassula and many more these plants have very specific watering needs which need to be considered when planting in either pots or a garden environment.

Succulents In The Garden –

The most important thing to remember when planting succulents in the garden is to site them properly. How do I site my succulents properly?
  • Select a sunny north facing site
  •  Select a well drained soil. Avoid planting in boggy soil.
The same as general watering techniques we recommend good deep watering at regular intervals once a week during very hot summer periods. Coming into late summer early autumn we advise you stop watering your succulents altogether and rely on mother nature to do the work for you. This will allow your succulents to dry down which will help them cope with the cold Christchurch winters a lot better.
The general rule of thumb for succulents is – If in doubt leave it out. This means if you’re not sure if you should water you are better not to, Your succulents will handle being dry but more often than not turn up there toes when they are too wet.

Succulents In Pots:

The same water  rules apply to container gardening as for plants in the garden. More regular watering may be required as containers can dry out faster as there is more surface area for the sun to draw moisture from. Again if in doubt leave it out.
Over watering can cause many hidden problems such as fungal and pest infestations. This is caused by the leaf storing too much water and becoming too plump, If the leaf is too plump it creates an ideal home for aphids and mealy bug, and also can increase the damage done by hail , frost, etc

Trees And Shrubs:

All trees and shrubs need regular water for general growth and well being, especially when trying to establish after planting. The best way to water your trees and shrubs is to:
  •    Water in when first planted with at least one bucket of water (20litre)
  •    Water every 3-4 days for the first 3 months for good establishment. This depends on the weather conditions as you want to avoid drowning the tree or shrub.
After the tree or shrubs have established water once a week with a good deep watering this encourages the roots to go down looking for water. Allow the plants to dry out between watering as this will encourage the roots to go down further looking for water.

Citrus Trees:

Citrus trees are becoming more popular in cooler climates such as Christchurch and because this is not their natural environment there are a few points we have to consider to ensure our favorite citrus will thrive.
  •   During the Hot summer months ensure your citrus never dries out
  •   Watering should be done at least once a week depending on the weather
  •   Deep long waterings are best this will keep the soil moist for longer and ensure good deep root development
  •   During winter reduce or stop your watering depending on the weather as citrus love moisture but hate poor drainage or being too wet during the cooler months.
  •   If your citrus tree is getting too much water, meaning that the drainage is poor, the leaves will yellow  and fall off.

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