Watering cans are a basic tool for gardeners. Young plants, seedlings, pots and containers as well as plants in a greenhouse all need to be watered using a watering can.
Whilst a hose pipe can be used for well-established plant beds and borders, a watering can will use a lot less water.
Buying a watering can would seem to be a relatively easy purchase to make. After all you put water in and it comes out the end through the rose simple! Well unfortunately there are a number of points to consider, if you want to make the best purchase.
What Size Watering Can do I need?
Watering cans usually hold between 1 and 2 gallons or 5 & 10 litres of water. This means when full it’s going to weigh around 16 ½ lbs US or about 20 lbs in UK and Europe.
This does not include the weight of the watering can. If you have difficulty lifting, opt for a smaller watering can.
Plastic or Metal?
Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages.
Plastic watering cans are lighter, cheaper and maintenance free. However over the years the plastic will become brittle especially if subjected to frost and sunlight. Expected life of a good quality plastic watering can is 10 years.
Metal watering cans are sturdier and will put up with more knocks. Eventually even zinc galvanized cans will get scrapped or scratched and start to rust but if looked after a good quality
metal can should last between 15 to 20 years.
The size of the holes in the rose can vary for different applications and some watering cans come with more than one.
A rose with small or fine holes is ideal for seed watering or for
young plants but can quickly become blocked by debris. A rose that can be taken apart for cleaning is a good option.
Roses with larger holes can be used for more mature plants and will become blocked less frequently.
Maintenance of Watering cans
If you have any storage facilities then watering cans should be stored away to protect from frost and sunlight.
Do not leave water in steel cans as this will aid rust forming. Remove any debris from the watering can before use so the rose does not become blocked.
Tips for Watering cans
If you have deep flower beds or borders to water, consider buying a long reach watering can. These are cans with an extended neck for a longer reach.
Round handles are more comfortable than square cross section handles. Finger moulded handles are usually designed for the average size hand and will not suit large or small hands.
If you fill your watering can by dipping into a tank, water butt or rain barrel, one with a larger opening may be a good option as debris can be easily removed.
If you are going to use a watering can to apply weed killer or fertilizers buy a different coloured can (red is a good choice) and mark it on the side. Plastic cans are usually the only option as some chemicals are not suited to galvanized steel cans so it’s important to always read the instructions before use.
For watering seedlings and young plants make sure the rose is pointing upwards. When a more intense spray is needed turn the rose around so it’s pointing downwards.