If this year you want to immerse yourself in the fascinating world of the garden, but do not know what is the best time to water the plants, you are in luck. On this occasion, we are going to talk about a topic that can be a source of many doubts for beginners, as well as for those who have been taking care of their ornamental plants or those they have in their garden for a long time.
Mastering irrigation is not always easy, but knowing when to do this will help plants maintain good health, and we can see them grow.
When to water the plants?
Since it is not watered at the same time in summer as in winter, it is important to know that the more heat there is, the faster the water evaporates . For example, in the middle of August (northern hemisphere), if a plant is watered at noon, the substrate will not take long to dry again, especially if the plant is in a plastic pot in full sun.
Taking this into account, as a general rule (it will vary depending on the weather in our area) the most appropriate time to water is:
- Spring : mid-morning
- Summer : first thing in the morning or in the evening
- Autumn : mid morning or noon
- Winter : noon
If we cannot irrigate at that time, either because we are working, studying or we have gone on a trip, nothing will happen if we water at another time. But, as far as possible I recommend that whenever you can water your plants at those hours, since the water temperature will be different, warmer. Especially if we have tropical (indoor) plants, if we water it with water at room temperature in winter, it could be a problem for it because it is not adapted to this water temperature, and its leaves could present cold symptoms such as dry tips.
In summer it happens that the water is too hot during the day, and could create problems for the root system. Thus, it should be watered either early in the morning or when it is about to get dark.
Can plants that are in shade or indoors be watered at any time?
When it comes to watering, there are some plants that can certainly be hydrated at any time of the day: they are those that are in the shade or inside homes. As these are not directly sunburned, when they are watered we can be sure that the soil will remain moist for a longer period of time than if a plant that was directly exposed to the sun was watered.
Therefore, if one day you have things to do and you need to water your shade plants or those that you have at home, do not hesitate to rehydrate them when you have a little time . I do it myself. On days when I have very little free time, I water the most needy plants (which in my case are maples and other trees that I have under the shade mesh) in the afternoon, and the rest afterwards.
What if I water when there is sun?
The short answer is that plants could become dehydrated . With the sun, the stomata remain closed in order to avoid the loss of water by evaporation; however, when they receive water, whether from rain or irrigation, they open. Although in certain places, where the insolation is very high, the water remains so short in the earth that the roots can hardly absorb it.
In addition, if the leaves get wet when the sun hits them, the water will act as if it were a magnifying glass, which ends up burning them .
What do I need to know before watering the plants?
Watering is not just pouring water. What’s more, whether we irrigate excessively or by default, plants will have problems. Therefore, it is very important to know when to irrigate, because it will depend on whether they are right … or wrong. But for that, several things must be taken into account:
Potted plants have limited space. In addition, it must be borne in mind that if these containers are made of plastic, we will have to rehydrate them more often than if they were made of clay , since the latter is a material that does not heat up so much that it keeps the soil moist a little longer.
Another important issue is that of the plate or tray . Many are those who choose to put them under the pots, especially if they are indoors. And it is normal, since they are a good way to avoid dirtying the soil when watering. However, they can end up being the cause of the death of the roots , since the water that remains stagnant in them is in contact with them, something that not all plants tolerate.
The surface of the soil or the substrate dries faster than the layers that are further inland, which can often give the impression that it is time to water when in fact it is not.
What is the correct way to water the plants?
So, based on everything we’ve said so far, we recommend you follow our advice:
- Use pots that have holes in their base. Always, unless they are aquatic plants. It does not matter the material with which they are made.
- Fill them with the appropriate substrate for each type of plant. For example, a carnivore will live in blond peat or sphagnum moss, but in black peat, it will have its days numbered.
- Avoid putting a plate or tray under them, unless you remember to empty them after watering.
- Water whenever you can with rainwater. If you have acid plants (Japanese maples, azaleas, camellias, gardenias, etc.) and you can’t get it from rain, use water suitable for human consumption. In case you have carnivores, use distilled or osmosis water.
- Check the soil moisture before watering. You can do this by inserting a wooden stick for example. Enter it to the bottom, and once you take it out if you see that it is practically clean, water.
- Pour water until you see it come out of the drain holes. But be careful, it is very important that the water is absorbed by the earth; if not, put it in a basin of water for half an hour, until it is thoroughly soaked.
- Do not water from above, as the leaves could be damaged. It is better to pour the water on the ground.
- And even if this doesn’t have much to do with watering, plant your plant (redundancy) in a bigger pot every time roots grow out of the holes, or when you see that it has occupied all of it and cannot grow any longer. If you have a garden, a good alternative might be to plant it in it. In spring it is a good time to do this.
We hope that it is now easier for you to know when and how to water.