Tomato plants should not be watered at any time of day, because the wrong time could be their undoing. Read here when and why it is best to water tomatoes at a certain time of day!
Tomato plants want to be watered regularly and evenly. However, it’s not just the frequency and amount of water that needs to be considered when watering. That’s because the timing of watering also has a huge impact on the growth and health of tomatoes. Watering your tomato plants at the wrong time of day sometimes promotes the risk of sunburn and disease.
Morning is the best time to water
Ideally, tomato plants should be watered in the early morning hours, with 6 to 7 a.m. being optimal for this purpose. The main reason for watering in the morning is the fact that tomato plants need the most water during the day.
Tomato plants are usually cultivated in a full-sun location, so they can grab several hours of sunlight each day. To prepare plants for high temperatures, they should generally be hardened off extensively. However, even hardened tomato plants can suffer from the heat if they are not adequately watered.
- Heat is exhausting for tomatoes
- Water supply makes hot days more bearable
- Plants absorb the water already tomorrow
- are thus ready for the day
Tip: Thanks to low temperatures, tomato plants do not heat up at night, so they tolerate cooler watering in the early morning hours better. The risk of cold shock is thus much lower when watering in the morning.
During the day, not only the air heats up, but also the soil and the tomato plants. However, this brings the disadvantage that the watering water evaporates more quickly. In the early morning hours, on the other hand, it is usually much cooler thanks to the lower night temperatures. Watering in the morning freshness and the resulting lower evaporation have the following advantages:
- Plants can dry better
- Risk of sunburn is lower
- Water penetrates more slowly into the soil
- seeps down to the roots without evaporating first
Tip: To further reduce evaporation, it is worthwhile to apply a layer of mulch. This also has the advantage that splashing water is effectively prevented.
Plants can dry out during the day
Tomato plants prefer moist soil, but not wet leaves. This is mainly due to the risks that moisture brings. After all, wet leaves not only favor various diseases, but also increase the risk of sunburn. However, if the plants are watered in the morning, they have enough time to dry.
- Risk of sunburn is lower
- Occurrence of pathogens is less likely
- Fungi do not spread as quickly
- Water late in the evening
It is not always possible for amateur gardeners to water tomatoes in the early morning. As an alternative for this, the late evening hours are suitable, because this time of day is also suitable for watering tomatoes. However, watering in the evening has not only advantages, but also disadvantages.
As in the early morning hours, it is usually cooler in the late evening than during the day. Accordingly, the watering water also does not evaporate as quickly, so it can seep deep into the soil. The plants are thus supplied with water before the midday sun is in the sky. In addition to the lower evaporation, other factors speak for watering in the evening:
- Plants can get the water in all peace
- no danger of sunburn
- smaller amounts of water can be used
In the evening hours it is cooler, but during the day the tomato plants have really heated up. It is essential to take this factor into account when watering, because too cold watering can lead to cold shock. Apart from this, watering in the evening poses the following risks:
- Soil does not dry due to sun
- Splashing water on the leaves does not dry either
- Moisture favors diseases
- for example gray mold and drought spot disease
- moist soil attracts slugs and snails
Water at noon or during the day
The sun is highest at midday, so sunlight is particularly strong at this time. Tomatoes are usually cultivated in a full-sun location, so they always get the blazing midday sun. However, the plants are not only at risk of sunburn because of the location, because the wrong watering can also be their undoing. It is not uncommon for splashing water to collect on the leaves during watering. However, the small water droplets, in combination with the sun’s rays, pose a real danger to the tomatoes:
- Water droplets act like burning glasses
- bundle light rays
- concentrate energy to a single point
- this can lead to burns
Note: In exceptional cases, it is still advisable to water the tomato plants during the day. This is because, especially if the tomatoes are already sunburned and/or drying out, they should be watered immediately.