During hot weather, it can be difficult to know when to water plants to make sure they get enough water to thrive. When it comes to watering, a good call of judgment is needed. There is no doubt that plants will need extra care with watering during hot seasons, but knowing when to do so can be very tricky.
Some gardening websites will urge you to water plants in the evening or sometime in the morning but these methods still pose risks for your plants.
Evening watering does give water time to penetrate the soil and for the plant to absorb it, but it leaves the plant damp the entire night making it vulnerable to diseases. Watering after the sun is out, however, doesn’t give ample time for water to get absorbed because the soil dries out faster; this will result to your plants wilting.
So what is the best way to water plants during hot season?
Read on to find out.
Tip #1: Understanding your Plants
Plants need water to transport nutrients from the soil all throughout their system. It’s also one of the main factors that aid plants in photosynthesis. In hot days, insufficient water not only prevents plants from cooling down, but also disables plants to complete chemical processes they need to survive.
However, some plants can adapt to hot weather. Some can shut down their stomata to replace photosynthesis with photorespiration to survive. This is not adapted by most plants though, so a good understanding of your plants is really essential to know how to care for them.
The amount of water needed will really depend on the type of plant, its growth stage, type of soil, and the weather condition.
If you have a nursery, that would mean young seedlings and new transplants. At the early stages of plant growth, they have limited and shallow roots that would need constant supply of moisture. This calls for daily watering.
Having trees and shrubs that have extensive roots, on the other hand, will only need supplemental watering; this includes succulents and cacti that don’t really need to be watered daily.
Myth: Drought-tolerant plants no longer need water.
Even drought-tolerant younglings need watering until their roots grow out into the soil. However, these types of plants will only need supplemental watering once they achieve their stable growth stage. Just because they have high adaptability during hot seasons don’t mean they no longer need water to thrive. Supplementary watering is a must!
Tip #2: Avoiding High Noon
Most people think it is ideal to water plants when it’s really hot out to help plants cool off; this is not true. Watering during the hottest time of the day does more harm than good. With full sun stubbornly looming above the plants, water will just evaporate before even reaching their roots giving them insufficient supply of water.
Myth: It’s okay to water plants during hot weather, even at noon, as long as you water them up to an inch of water above the soil.
This is probably even known as a rule of thumb in gardening, but it’s not true. Again, the amount of water should vary depending on the plant type. With this rule, some plants might drown. Overwatering in plants is absolutely not good as well. And contrary to popular belief, plants can also be overwatered during hot seasons especially when you stick to this rule.
Besides, how do you even measure an inch of water if the soil will keep on absorbing as you water? Before following this rule, you should consider the placement of your plants. Is it potted? Is it planted on your lawn? Is it in a gardening box?
Tip #3: Focus on the Roots
Note that the roots absorb the water. Sprinkling water on the foliage is a waste of time, plus damp leaves can even cause your plant to catch diseases. No matter how dry the plant looks, focus on applying water on the soil around the plant.
Myth: Overhead watering is bad.
Overhead watering is practically avoided by many gardeners. But in cases wherein leaves have accumulated a thin layer of dust that prevents plants to photosynthesize effectively, you can use overhead watering. This method can also help hose down insects from the plants and also provide relief during extended dry spells.
However, it is not advisable to hose down your plants all the time. Doing it rarely and only under special conditions will do the trick.
Tip #4: Watch Out for Wilting Signs
Remember to always keep an eye on indicators and signs like droopy leaves and wilting plants. This might be caused by insufficient supply of water.
But, worry not!
Most plants display signs of wilting as early as the beginning of cell collapsing. In this case, the plants can still recover as long as you water them properly. You can also use this as an indicator of whether you are watering the other plants correctly. Plants with bigger leaves usually show early indications of wilting when not provided with enough water.
Myth: Wilting plants is a sign that you are not watering your plants enough.
Insufficient supply of water might be a factor in why plants wither or wilt, but that’s not the only concern. Damaged roots can also be a cause for plants to wilt. It’s important to check the reason behind the wilting before watering them – to avoid overwatering.
Tip #5: Best Time to Water Plants
The best time to water plants during hot seasons is in the evening and morning.
According to English Botanist Alastair Culham, PhD, it is best to water plants in the early evening during hot, breezy weather. This is a good time for plants to completely absorb water from the soil. However, it can also result to an overnight uptake of water and moisture that will leave the plants vulnerable to some diseases.
Early morning, an hour or so before the sun rises, is the most preferable time of the day to water your plants. It doesn’t just give plants ample amount of time to absorb water and nutrients from the soil, but will also prevent too much moisture in plants.
Frequently Asked Questions about Watering Plants
Q: How often should I water plants after I fertilize?
A: Watering your plants should depend on your plant’s needs regardless if you just recently applied fertilizer. In simple words, water it as you usually do.
Q: How does water affect a plant’s growth?
A: When compared to a human body, water is blood; it carries nutrients all throughout the plant. Water also helps the roots to absorb water from the soil; therefore, young plants which have shallow roots are watered more than older plants.
Q: How often should I water green plants?
A: The amount of water highly depends on the type of plant that you have, not on its color. There are other green plants that are drought-resistant such as cacti and succulents. It is important that you know what type of plant you have in order to give it sufficient watering that it needs.
Q: Why is my plant wilting even if I’m watering it correctly?
A: The first thing you have to do is to check if you really are watering it properly. Overwatering or insufficient watering can both cause your plant to die out. If you’re sure that you are giving enough water that your plant needs, you may have to check for signs of diseases or root damages.
Q: How can I revive an overwatered plant?
A: To let an overwatered plant recover, give it enough time to dry out. Do not water it for a while. If this method doesn’t work, you may have to consider re-potting or transferring your plant.