A waterlogged summer has left some of our plants swimming in puddles when we’d usually be worrying about the lack of water. Of course, plants love hydration but too much can cause problems and plants can drown underneath the soil.
The problem with a waterlogged plant is, the damage is often not noticed until it’s too late. On the surface the plant may seem healthy and upright while the roots rot underneath. The first signs are often similar to how a plant behaves when dehydrated. Leaves will wilt and turn colour before the plant dies altogether.
If you were to dig up the plant at this stage you’d find the roots black underneath. There will also be a pungent smell akin to rotting flesh.
Although we can’t help to stop the rain we can give some tips on how to save plants from drowning.
1) Keep it Leaf Free
Fallen leaves in autumn are ideal for keeping the bases of sensitive plants warm but the mulch is known for retaining moisture. If your plants already have problems with drainage, keep the surface of the soil leaf free so as not to exasperate the problem.
2) Make a Tunnel
Sometimes it can be as easy as creating a groove in the flower bed. Create a small groove with a trowel of where you’d like the water to flow to and direct the rain away from your plant.
3) Choose Pots
If a plant is already waterlogged it can be saved. Transfer it to a pot with good drainage and dry compost. You will still need to water the plant occasionally but with a free draining pot, your plant can choose how much it retains.
4) Move Plants
Autumn is the best time to move plants, so if you have some that are suffering in wet conditions you can use this season to move them to higher ground. It’s best to move plants when they’re not in flower and when they’re sleeping.
5) Man Made Hills
You can create man made hills in your garden, even ones a foot high will help rain to wash away. Consider raised beds and rockeries too as this summer rain is due to come back year after year.
6) If You Can’t Beat It…
If your garden really is waterlogged you may want to consider a natural pond. Border plants such as Gunnera thrive in wet conditions and will transform the garden into a tropical paradise.
You can usually save plants from waterlogging without too much expense. If you are planning a garden makeover consider adding some extra drainage.