It’s a bright, sunny day and the large, tropical Brugmansia on the patio is “flagging”, visibly shouting “I’m thirsty, I’m wilting, and I need water now!” What’s the best watering can to transport life-saving water to this parched plant? Beyond holding enough water to revive the plant, there are many other characteristics that make a really terrific watering can.
The ideal watering can is durable, functional, well-balanced, not too large or too small, and has a removable rose. Material, shape, attractiveness, and color play a lesser role in the rating of a watering can.
Watering can materials are a consideration mainly for durability and weight. Most are made of heavy gauge steel (galvanized by dipped in zinc) or injection and blow molded plastic with the metal ones being more durable but with the added weight and cost. Plastic watering cans, although lighter in weight, still can last for years (even more than a decade for the “best” ones). Injection molded watering cans have a longer life expectancy than blow molded ones. Keep plastic watering cans stored out of direct sunlight so UV rays don’t degrade them for longer life. Galvanized steel watering cans should have reinforced edges. A good tip is to dry out galvanized cans before storing to reduce corrosion opportunities. Also use a red plastic watering can designated for herbicide purposes to avoid unwanted plant or watering can damage.
A great watering can is the right size for the person so that it is easy to carry when full. It should be the right weight so that there isn’t undue stress on fingers, wrist, elbow, shoulder, neck, and back. Staggering from the tap to distant plants, slopping water as one arm stretches longer and longer, is not going to encourage many trips. Even getting two watering cans for a balanced load, pack mule style is not the answer if the watering cans are too heavy. A gallon of water weighs 8 lbs. (3.7 kg). An extra large, three gallon (11.3 liters), plastic watering can, full of water, weighs in at around 25 lbs. (11.3 kg). Conversely, a “tea-cup” sized watering can, better suited for indoor window sill plants, is too small and is not an efficient means of watering outdoor plants.
Watering cans, whether upright or long reach, should be well-balance both during transportation and also once the pouring starts. As the water weight is transferred in the can, the can should continue to be easy to hold and control. A good design with a high collar and the spout end higher than the water level will reduce the number of spillage accidents.
A critical component of a good watering can is in the rose, the water diffuser at the end of the spout. These should be able to be turned upward for a fine spray when watering seedlings or facing downward for ordinary sprinkling duties. Lastly, roses should be removable for occasions when large streams of water are needed. Many watering cans have a handy peg, designed into an out of the way place, for rose storage when not needed. For the best watering control, start watering to the side of the desired plants, then move over the plant, and keep the water pressure constant. Some consider the quality of a watering can’s rose as the number one criteria for a good watering can. Non-corrosive brass roses are highly prized. Whatever shape and hole diameter, roses that slip on must fit snuggly and not “fall off” accidentally. A filter to strain out any large clogging, leaves or other debris in the watering can is essential to keep the rose flowing unimpeded.
To avoid measuring guesswork, good watering cans have measurement lines in imperial and metric to mix accurate amounts of fertilizers.
The design of watering can handles plays an important part of the overall function and balance. Many good watering cans have a single, continuous, “ring” handle or an upper handle and side handle for both convenient carrying and easy hand maneuvering while pouring. The finger-grooved and padded grips found on some watering cans cause for less finger strain. Some of the older designs have a handy handle to set the watering can on the hose spigot while filling.
The traditional upright design is easier to store since it takes up less horizontal space but the sleek, long reach design can water plants further away. Whichever style, it should have an opening large enough to easily get it under the tap but small enough to stop water from slopping on your shoes when transporting.
Attractive watering cans that are well designed and highly functional deserve an honored resting place in the garden (or even kitchen counter) as an ornament when not in use.
Choose the best watering can to keep easily transport water to your parched indoor plants. In the best plastic watering can and other watering can, look for durable construction.