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Holiday watering

i am a novice gardener and have started attempting to grow Dahlias from tubers that I overwintered.
So far most are doing pretty well in pots. I have lots of healthy stems and leaves.
i am going away for 3 weeks, my brother can come and water once every 7-10 days but I am concerned that I will lose my plants.
i am thinking of sitting the pots in trays with about an inch of water due to the warm weather.
Is this a good idea or a complete no, no?
Thanks in advance.


  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,080
    edited July 2019
    Can you put the pots in a shady place while you're away? I think you can set up a bucket of water with wicks into plants. Perhaps you could Google to see how it's done. Ive never tried it.
    Here's one I picked at random.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,214
    I use capillary matting on a shelf with a reservoir of water below into which the end of the mat dips. You can buy systems to do this but it's much cheaper just to buy the capillary matting and use your own gravel trays.
  • Thanks B3 and Singing Gardener, does this mean that sitting pots in an inch of water is a bad move? 
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 1,214
    I think sitting them in water would probably make them too wet but I'm not an expert in dahlias!
  • B3B3 South East LondonPosts: 24,080
    That was my concern too but I'm no expert either😊
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • Thanks very much.
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 6,551
    I think it depends on what size of tray you are thinking about. If its a normal round pot tray, with the pot sitting in it, you could barely get a cupful of water in there and the plant would suck that up in no time, thus being left dried out between your brother’s visits. I grew dahlia tubers in pots for the first time this year and was surprised at how much water they needed.

    The capillary matting sounds the way to go. You could rig up the same effect pretty cheaply - whizz out to the local pound shop, get yourself some cheapo cat litter trays (if you don’t have proper gravel trays), plus some wire cake cooling trays or cut up bits of rigid mesh fencing stuff, either to sit on top of the water-filled tray, old towel on top of that with the ends dipping in the water, pots on the towel. Job done!
  • Thanks Nollie 
  • mrtjformanmrtjforman Posts: 331
    dunno why the forum was playing up an hour ago but my long post got deleted. Grr.

    So to summarise no you cannot stick plants in a bucket of water - the roots will rot very quickly. Capillary mats is good idea but geez what a hassle.

    What you are looking for is clay bottle attachments which are semi porous so will release water as slow as it evaporates from the surface

    If it is flower beds I like what this youtuber did when she went away for a month - same kind of principle
  • Thanks mrtjforman.
    I actually rushed out and bought some capillary matting today.
    I’ve done my best, moved all dahlia pots into the shade and will keep my fingers crossed 🤞🏻 
    Thanks for the replies everyone.
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