Escape high water bill and save your plants

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - With the hot temperatures and little rain in the forecast, you've probably already noticed your water hose working overtime.  So how can you escape a higher water bill and save your plants?

A lot of water saving tips are common sense like don't water in the middle of the day, instead wait until late evening or early morning, but we discovered some things you may not have thought about.

"A lot of people plant their herbs or tomatoes or some warm season vegetable in pots. It becomes a problem when it starts to get really hot or starts to get really dry," said NBC12 meteorologist Andrew Freiden.

And the smaller the pot, the more challenging that problem may be forcing you to water once or twice a day to keep your thirsty plants happy.  Parsley, dill and other herbs have taken a hit with the recent hot, dry weather.

"A solution, but not a cure for this problem, if you haven't planted them yet or you feel like repotting them, find a place in your yard, and just put them right in the ground," Freiden said.

Three weeks of this weather means you may want to start thinking about slowing down your watering cycle.

"We look at the long term forecast, in the next week or so, there's no good chance of widespread rain, and we really haven't had a widespread rain in a few weeks," Freiden said.

If you can't or don't want to plant in the ground, you can still make some positive changes that will keep you from water so frequently.

"You want to find the biggest pot you can so it will have the most soil in it and take longer to dry out, and you want to find a light colored pot," Freiden said.

The darker the pot, the more heat it will soak up from the sun, which will dry out the soil and could even damage roots and kill your plants.  Taking cues from farmers, consider putting pine needles or mulch around your plants even in pots to help keep moisture in.

"If you go by a farm and they dig things and plant things like tomatoes, they actually cover it with plastic and the soil doesn't even make contact with the air," Freiden said.

Something else that may help if moving your plants or herbs from a pot just isn't an option for you, move them into the shade for at least part of the day. That should help cut down on watering.

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