July and August mean sun and, if we're lucky, summer holidays. If you want to return from your holidays to find your garden plants looking fine and healthy, you should organise a plant sitter who can look after the watering task while you're by the pool or on a beach. Not sure what tasks to give them? We've drawn up a checklist to help you out.
1. Water plants in pots
The most important thing on hot summer days is watering. Plants in terracotta pots dry out particularly quickly, not just in hot weather, but also when it’s cloudy or windy. Even after a rain shower they may still be thirsty: notice how a lot of water ends up mainly on the leaves and the soil underneath stays dry. Plants in full sun have an extra need for a cooling shower. The best time to water is early in the morning or in the evening after sunset. Again, make sure to pour the water onto the soil and not the flowers or leaves.
2. Water plants in the ground
Plants that are in the ground need less attention than those in pots. They don't need to be watered every day — every couple of days is just fine.
3. Remove dead flowers and leaves
If you find a wilted flower or brown leaf on one of the plants, remove it by hand or with sharp scissors or secateurs. Not only does it look neater, but removing wilted flowers means the plant will put its energy into creating new ones. Dead leaves are also good cover for insects and diseases, that can then move onto and harm the healthy leaves. To keep the plant in good condition, they should be removed too.
4. Keep an eye on snails
They’re not known for their speed, but snails can take over the patio in no time, and if left unattended will happily munch their way through your plants. When you spot a snail, carefully move it to a safe spot. You can also arrange some defences for your plants: scatter coffee grounds, cocoa shells, ground-up eggshells or sea shells on the soil at the base, or spray your plants with garlic extract.
5. Final check
Don't overwater yarrow: it is a fast grower that thrives in fairly dry soil.
Astrantia likes to be in full sun, but make sure to keep the soil a little moist.
Anemone cannot cope with drying out, so check that the soil stays damp.
If you have questions about how to look after other plants in the garden, you'll find care tip for lots of outdoor plants by clicking on Plant Guides or navigating to an individual plants via the menu in the top right.