When to Water Plants in the Summer and How Often

Published June 21, 2022
Woman watering plants at sunset

It's just as important to water your plants at the right time of day as it is to make sure that they have a sufficient amount of water. This is especially true during the summer, as this is when temperatures rise to the highest level of the year. Discover the best time of day to water outdoor plants in the summer.

Best Time to Water Outdoor Plants in Summer: Morning

Without question, morning is the best time to water outdoor plants in summer. It's ideal to water plants early in the morning, within a few hours of sunrise. This is because morning conditions are usually well-suited for plants to be able to get the greatest benefit from being watered. Providing plants with water at this time of day helps make sure they have access to the moisture they need before they're exposed to the midday sun. They'll have time to absorb the water before the sun evaporates it, but aren't likely to stay wet long enough for plant fungus or root rot to develop.

Senior man watering vegetables in his garden

Key Reasons Avoid Afternoon Watering

The afternoon is the worst time to water plants in the summer. This is because the sun is at its peak in the afternoon, and the temperature is at its hottest. When you water plants in these conditions, they can easily get scorched due to the effect of the blazing sun on droplets of water. Further, plants watered in the afternoon generally are not able to absorb sufficient moisture from the water before it all evaporates in the heat of the sun.

Why Evening Watering Is Not Ideal

Evening watering is better than afternoon watering, but it is not ideal. When you water during evening hours, plants aren't likely to be able to dry off before darkness falls. When moisture stays on plants overnight, it can encourage fungal growth and root rot, as well as lead to increased insect pressure. These factors can negatively impact plant health, leading to reduced productivity or even death. If you must water during the evening, do it as early as possible so that the plants have as much daylight time as possible to dry off before it gets completely dark.

In-Ground Versus Container Plants

Container plants generally need to be watered more frequently than in-ground plants, but it's still best to water them during the morning hours. If you find that your potted plants sometimes get so parched that they need to be watered more than once on some of the hottest and dryest days of the summer, do it in the morning and again as soon as the temperature starts to cool down in the early evening. This is better than waiting closer to dark for a second watering.

Woman watering plants and flowers outdoors

Making Sense of When to Water Plants in the Summer

If you forget or are too busy to water your plants on some summer mornings, you can water them at night. However, this should not be your ordinary watering time. Morning is the proper time for watering plants, though you should keep in mind that not all plants need daily watering. Some plants are very thirsty, while others are more drought tolerant. Choose a watering frequency for each plant in your garden based on its individual needs.

Make Watering Plants Part of Your Morning Routine

Water is a necessary growth factor for plants. It's important to provide the plants in your garden with the water they need before the heat of the day sets in. If you have an irrigation system, set it up on a timer for early morning watering. If you hand water your plants, get in the habit of enjoying your morning coffee while you stroll through the garden with your watering hose or can. This will help make sure that you and your plants start each day off on a positive note.

When to Water Plants in the Summer and How Often