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What is a Watering can?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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A watering can is a portable container with a spout used to water plants by hand. Small watering cans are often used indoors for house plants, while larger ones are used for plants outside in the garden. There are many different types of watering cans and some are more useful than others.

Galvanized steel watering cans in a silver-colored finish are the classic type of watering can. This type is more expensive than many other kinds, but many people like its traditional looks as well as its durability. If you leave a galvanized steel watering can out in the garden, it won't rust. Only soil that contains alkaline will rust galvanized steel. Some crafters like to paint this type of watering can decoratively.

Plastic watering cans are quite inexpensive, but usually offer great durability as well. They have no chance of rusting and are lighter in weight than galvanized steel watering cans. Their weight may be a drawback if left out in a wind storm as they could blow away out of sight, but plastic watering cans aren’t usually very costly to replace.

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When buying a watering can, think of what type of plants you'll be watering. For seedlings, don't buy a watering can with large holes in the spout or you may damage your plants with too strong of a water flow. If you need to water hanging plants, lightweight, smaller watering cans with a curved spout tend to work best. You don't want something too heavy to hold up when it's full of water and the spout should direct easily into the hanging planter so that the plant receives the water rather than your head!

Always look for a watering can that suits your style as well as meets the needs of your plants. Some types are purely decorative and not practical for watering. If you really want one of these, consider using it as a planter or to hold garden tools. Be especially sure that the spout on an indoor watering can reaches easily into your plant pots or you may ruin furniture and dampen carpeting.

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