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When Is the Worst Time to Water Your Plants?

Discover the worst and best times to water your plants, whether indoor or outdoor.

Watering a houseplant

The Worst Time To Water Your Houseplants

In the world of gardening, tending to your plants' watering needs is key to happy, thriving greenery. But, watering your plants is not as simple as it may seem. One of the most common slip-ups gardeners make is not knowing when is the right time to get out the watering can.

Not only do you need to consider the type of plant, the soil, and the season to promote plant growth, but also the time of day.

The worst time to water indoor plants is midday and the evening.

Houseplants generally detest midday watering, especially in dry and humid areas. This is because temperatures soar and the rate of evaporation speeds up during the middle of the day. The water will evaporate quickly, drying the soil and depriving your plant of oxygen.

As for evening watering, this can lead to all kinds of problems for your houseplants. It can create a favorable environment for fungal diseases to flourish. When water sits in the soil and around the roots overnight, it can lead to issues like root rot - the bane of every gardener's existence.

The worst time to water your outdoor plants

Outdoor plants share the same sentiment as indoor potted plants.

The worst time to water your outdoor greenery is midday. The midday heat causes water to evaporate rapidly, leaving your plants thirsty despite your best intentions. To make matters worse, water droplets can act like tiny magnifying glasses, focusing the sun's rays and potentially causing sunburn or leaf scorch.

Watering late in the evening means your lawn and garden stay wet overnight, making your plants more prone to diseases like root rot and powdery mildew.

If you have no other time to water but in the evening, consider using a drip irrigation system or garden hose. This method delivers water right to the roots, avoiding the foliage.

The Best Time To Water Your Houseplants

So, when should you water your houseplants? Morning (ideally before sunrise) or late afternoon is the perfect time.

Watering around 10 AM allows your plant to drink up without the water vanishing in a hot hurry, thanks to the cooler temperatures. It also sets your plants up for a day of photosynthesis, their version of a good breakfast.

But, be sure to check the moisture of the soil of your indoor plants before watering. They don't receive the same temperature, humidity, and light as outdoor plants.

Late afternoon, as the sun slowly starts to set, is another prime time to water your plants. By this time of day, temperatures are cooling so evaporation won't happen as rapidly.

The best time to water your outdoor plants

Again, your outdoor greenery will also thrive best with early morning watering, typically from 5 AM to 10 AM. If you have a drip irrigation system, garden hose, or sprinkler that wets the foliage, this is the best time to do so.

The morning sun helps the plant foliage dry rapidly. This fast drying is important because it reduces the risk of fungal diseases. Morning watering also allows the water to soak deeply into the soil, reaching the plant's roots.

Plant Watering Tips

Know your plants

The first and most essential tip for watering plants is simple: Know your plant! Every plant is unique, with different needs, so do your research to determine how much your specific plant needs.

While some plants love direct sunlight, others prefer indirect or low light. Some are also more thirsty such as ferns and pothos, while others can tolerate without, like cacti and succulents.

Understand frequency

Understanding how often to water plants is the next tip. Your plant's water needs change with the seasons. For example, during the growing season, most plants thrive with weekly watering. When winter and fall roll around, watering frequency might be less as plants aren't actively growing.

Inspect the soil

Checking the soil before watering is plant care 101 - it's the perfect way to tell if your plant, indoor or outdoor, needs watering.

You can check the soil's moisture by inserting your finger around the plant's base. If it's still moist, you won't need to water yet, but if the top 2 inches of the soil is dry, it's time to give your plants some hydration.

How to Water Plants - A Quick Step-by-Step Breakdown

The most effective method for watering plants, both indoor and outdoor, whether they're in pots or in the ground, involves a simple routine: always check for dryness before watering, and then water at the base of the plant.

1. Check the soil

As mentioned previously, always check the soil before watering. Test the soil moisture with your finger, a reliable indicator of your plant's hydration needs. Still moist? Hold off on watering. Is the top two inches dry? It's time for some watering.

2. Water in the morning

As we said earlier, you'll want to water plants in the morning when the sun is lower and temperatures are cooler. This time allows the plant to gradually absorb the water throughout the day.

3. Water at the base

Whether it's a potted plant or one in the ground, target the soil when watering plants. This ensures the water goes where it's needed most—the roots. Avoid wetting the leaves, as this can lead to issues.

4. Water thoroughly and evenly

Water thoroughly and evenly around the plant. Ensure that all sides get a good drink to encourage balanced growth. For indoor greenery, let the water flow out of the pot's drainage hole. Also, be sure to dump out any excess water from your indoor plant's tray.


What kind of water should I use to water my plants?

Interestingly, the type of water you use to water plants matters! Hard water, which is rich in minerals like calcium and magnesium, can build up in the soil over time. The best water for indoor plants is rain, soft, or distilled water.

How do I know if I've over or underwatered my plant?

Identifying whether you've overwatered or underwatered your plant can be a bit tricky, as the symptoms can sometimes overlap. But here's how you can tell:

  • Overwatering signs: Keep a close eye on the leaves. Overwatered plants often exhibit brown tips with a yellowish border. These leaves may also feel soft and excessively moist to the touch.

  • Underwatering signs: On the other hand, plants suffering from drought stress can show dramatic symptoms, including droopy leaves, and yellowing or partially browned foliage. These leaves tend to appear wilted.

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