Avoid overwatering during the heatwave with gardening expert Danny Clarke's simple watering tip

Master watering with this easy test

Our Aperol Spritz, I mean water, consumption has gone up during the heatwave. But what about your plants? Are they drinking enough, or perhaps a little too much?

Related: Avoid these common gardening mistakes – to protect gardens during the hot weather

Even the most experienced gardeners can struggle to get watering right, especially in the heat. But to help you and your garden navigate this heatwave, gardening expert Danny Clarke has a genius watering trick.

You might know Danny Clarke from his time on BBC's Instant Gardener or ITV's This Morning, where he regularly offers his gardening expertise. Speaking to Ideal Home on behalf of Homebase's Great British Green Up! campaign, Danny explained how to check if your plants need watering using the finger test.

Danny Clarke's small garden trick

danny clarke's small garden trick

(Image credit: Future PLC/Homebase / Danny Clarke)

'Just put your finger in the soil, you'll know if it's dry,' says Danny. 'Just do that test.'

This simple test should help you avoid overwatering your plants. And in Danny's words, 'Killing them with too much love.'

However, even before putting your finger in the soil, you can tell if your plants need a good drink according to Danny.

garden area with watering can

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

'You've got to keep an eye on [the garden]. Really, being green-fingered, that's all it is, keeping an eye on your garden,' he explains. 'Looking around, make sure that everything is looking as it should because your plants actually speak to you.'

'They'll tell you whether they need feeding or drink because they droop. If they droop just give them a bit of water and within a short amount of time they will perk up and they'll be fine.'

As a general rule of thumb, Danny recommends watering your plants once a week. 'You don't want to water too much because the roots will stay on the surface. You've got to encourage the plants to go forage for their own water,' he explains. 'Treat'em mean to keep 'em keen, that's what I say.'

The only exception to this rule is pot plants. Pots require a little more care and should be checked on at least once a day, even if it's been raining.

flower pots

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Eltes)

'It's very important to keep them watered. Don't rely on the rain,' explains Danny. 'A lot of people think "oh it's pouring down with rain, my pots are going to be ok," but the water never falls where you want it too.'

'The water can bounce off the leaves and end up on the ground rather than in the soil by the roots. So a bit of water, even after it rains is fine.'

Related: The Royal Horticultural Society reveals why you should never water your lawn

And remember if you're ever not sure just try the finger in the soil test, and trust your intuition.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.