Watering plants properly is a small science in itself: Do you use tap water or rainwater? And how do you find the right amount of water? Fortunately, a little water knowledge is quickly learned. Find out whether you’d rather water your plants in the morning or evening, and why the right timing can be so crucial.
Watering – The right time
Watering the garden in the afternoon because the plants need a lot of water in the heat? Better not. Watering in the morning or evening is better – especially in the morning.
Watering in the afternoon
When we water our plants, we want them to be able to use as much of the water as possible. We don’t want so much to evaporate or run off superficially, but to reach the roots. In summer, high temperatures and direct sunlight can actually cause water to evaporate faster than it can percolate, so to speak. In the afternoon, the highest temperatures of the day are reached and house walls and soils store the heat. The earth is also heated by the sun. If it is also quite dry, the water will flow in all directions, but not down to the roots. In such a case, it is important to water the same plant several times and wait until the soil has already been able to soak up some moisture.
This can also be problematic for potted plants. Watering water often just rushes through dry soil. The water runs out the bottom of the pot and you might think that the soil is still sufficiently moist and simply can’t absorb more water. Again, it is better to water in several passes.
Also, when it’s hot, many plants go into a kind of heat-protection mode starting around noon. By letting their leaves droop slightly, they offer much less surface to the sun and less water evaporates through them. Watering at this time would therefore actually be counterproductive. Another reason not to water in the midday or afternoon sun is possible sunburn of the plants – caused by water droplets. Not all plants are at risk, only those with slightly rough or hairy leaves. This is because water drops get stuck on these. The water can act like a burning glass in strong sunlight and the leaves are damaged.
So watering in the afternoon can bring some disadvantages, especially in the summer. In spring and autumn there is also the problem that the days are shorter. Plants that have become damp may then not be able to dry off in time by the evening.
Watering in the evening
When the warmth of the day subsides and a balmy evening announces itself, a suitable time for watering seems to have arrived. Here you should keep a few things in mind, because the later in the day it is, the less time the leaves and soil have to dry out in time for nightfall, even in summer. The cooler temperatures, combined with humidity, can make plants more sensitive and therefore more vulnerable to pathogens. Fungal diseases like powdery mildew spread rapidly when it’s nice and warm during the day and rather humid at night.
In addition, there are a few companions in the garden that love moisture and prefer to come out at night when no one is looking. Then they slither up through the grass or pots and eat everything that is supposed to grow and thrive. You guessed it: watering in the evening may attract slugs – and in some circumstances, a lot of them!
Water in the morning
So the perfect time to water is generally in the morning. The soil is still cool and water can percolate well. In addition, the leaves can dry again during the day and a pest and disease infestation is prevented.
The rule is: the earlier, the better. But if you now see yourself standing in the garden at sunrise with a watering can in one hand and a coffee mug in the other, we can reassure you. You don’t have to be quite so strict about this ideal time. It can be worthwhile to get up a quarter of an hour earlier for watering. But if that doesn’t fit into your daily routine, then find the second-best time for you. For example, if you don’t have a problem with slugs, you can try watering in the evening. If your plants are extremely sunny, then do not water them at noon or in the afternoon.
As you can see, the question of whether you should water in the morning or in the evening cannot be answered in a general way. While there are many reasons to water your garden in the morning, it’s best to try it out for yourself to see what works best for you and your garden.
I have 30 years of experience and i started this website to see if i could try and share my knowledge to help you.
With a degree a Horticulture BSc (Hons)
I have worked as a horticulture specialist lead gardener, garden landscaper, and of course i am a hobby gardener at home in my own garden.
Please if you have any questions leave them on the article and i will get back to you personally.