When you’re a proud owner of a beautiful garden, maintaining it can be a little tedious but it does give immense happiness. Once you know what to grow in your yard and the best time to water a garden, your garden maintenance becomes easier. Watering your plants efficiently and effectively will ensure happier and healthier plants. 

Even if you live in a rainy place, you’ll still need to water your garden plants. And if you live in a region with a long summer season with stretches of dry, hot days between rainfalls, the watering schedule will be more frequent. 

In this blog, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how and when to water your plants.

When is the best time to water a garden?

watering garden

The best time to water plants is in the morning. The reason is that since the temperature is usually cooler, it gives your outdoor plants time to absorb the water sufficiently before it gets evaporated. Also, watered plants are better able to get through a long, hot day. 

If getting up in the morning early to water your plants is not convenient, you may consider installing a drip irrigation system or soaker hoses and setting them on a timer. The water goes directly into the soil and lasts longer as there’s lesser evaporation. And, it keeps water away from the leaves.

The second best time to water a garden is in the late hours of the afternoon or early evening. The idea is to cool off the plant after a day under the sun.

Having said that, you must water your plants the moment you feel they look a little wilted. If you see a wilted plant, it means that it’s stressed and needs immediate watering. Avoid letting your plant get to the wilting point in the future as it can weaken and damage the plant permanently.

The best time to water a vegetable garden too is in the early morning. Because it’s still cool, the water instead of being lost to evaporation due to the heat of the sun runs down into the soil and reaches the plant roots.  

The worst time to water a garden

You must avoid watering your plants, whether indoor, outdoor, or flowering plants, at night. This watering schedule is not ideal as the plant leaves do not get the time to dry off as quickly as morning or afternoon. And wet leaves tend to be more susceptible to diseases and damage by garden pests.

How much water does a vegetable garden need?

When it comes to watering a vegetable garden or a raised flower bed, the rule of thumb is to stick to an inch of water per week. That means you need to water about 60 gallons for every 100 square feet of garden space. 

You may install a rain gauge to keep track of the rainfall or measure the water level the old-fashioned way by sticking your finger into the soil and feeling its dryness. If the soil is dry, about two inches below the surface, it’s time to water it.

A tip to keep your soil moist for a longer time is to put a two-inch layer of mulch on top of the soil. Mulching your yard slows down evaporation so that you’ll have to water the plants less frequently.

How much should you water container plants?

water garden tools

Plants potted in containers dry out faster than plants growing in the ground. Moreover, pots absorb heat which can cause stress on the plant root system and dry out the soil much faster. Generally, container plants – unless they are drought-tolerant plants such as succulents, snake plants, aloe vera, and jade – need to be watered daily. 

Sometimes if it’s really hot weather, you’ll have to water twice a day. The best way to find out is through the finger test. If the potting mix feels dry to the touch, the plant needs watering. If the soil sticks to your finger, you can afford to wait a little while before watering.  

The best time to water indoor plants

When it comes to watering houseplants, the rules are slightly different. The best time to water indoor plants depends on the type of houseplant it is and the season. For example, some indoor plants grow in the summer and spring and go dormant in the fall or winter season. As their development slows, their water requirement lessens too.  

Popular houseplants such as monstera, palms, and philodendrons are tropical plants and require regular watering to look and grow well. 

Plants such as snake plants and succulents that grow in arid areas should be left to dry completely between waterings. 

The best way is to monitor your houseplants and their leaves once a week. There should be no signs of wilting, excessive drying, or overwatering.

Keep in mind that overwatering indoor plants will drown them and make them vulnerable to root rot, fungal diseases, or bacterial plant diseases. A good rule of thumb is to let the top soil dry out completely between waterings.

What are the best watering tips?

Looking after plants and an outdoor garden is not just great for your property but also therapeutic for you. All you have to do is keep a check on what grows in your yard when it grows, and how much to nurture it. 

You’ll do well by following a good watering schedule and keeping some tips in mind. 

  • It’s a good idea to water early in the morning. 
  • Avoid prolonged wet conditions in the soil as it may lead to fungal and bacterial plant diseases. 
  • While you cannot control the weather and rainfall, you can always minimize diseases by keeping the leaves of the plants as dry as possible. 
  • Always water the base of the plant with a garden hose, watering wand, or watering can – not from directly above the plant.
  • Do not use overhead sprinklers. For your lawn, keep your sprinkler system on a timer to avoid overwatering.
  • It’s better to stick to watering deeply and slowly so that the moisture penetrates into the soil properly.
  • Newer plants in your garden with a growing root system will need more frequent watering than mature, established plants – whether perennial plants, trees, or shrubs. 
  • Always follow the rule of thumb of watering – water only when the soil feels dry to the touch or before you see any signs of wilting. 

Read more: How to set up sprinklers

Last thoughts

An outdoor plant is best watered in the morning to get it ready for the day. Or, in the evening to cool it off. More importantly, watering during these times of the day actually aids in water retention for the plant. 

When you water a plant in the afternoon, the water tends to evaporate rather than soak into the soil and the roots of the plant because the sun and heat are at their strongest. That’s why morning watering is actually preferable to evening watering. 

One should avoid watering at night as the excess water will keep the soil and roots wet throughout the night. This may lead to insect proliferation, root rot, or fungal growth.

Tips and tricks on the best time to water a garden was last modified: January 26th, 2023 by Ramona Sinha
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