For the average busy person, not having the time to water your plants during the day is inevitable at times. Sometimes, the only time you have left for them is during the evening. But is it generally alright to water plants at night?
As a whole, watering plants at night is acceptable, provided their foliage doesn’t get wet. Otherwise, the plants become more susceptible to pathogens. Drip irrigation or a soaker hose is ideal for watering the soil directly. However, in Fall and Winter, this is an inadvisable practice.
Below, I’ve compiled helpful tips for nightly plant watering and alternatives time to safely water your plants:
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Helpful Tips to Water Your Plants At Night
Despite popular beliefs, it’s not necessarily harmful to water your plants at night, whether in-ground or potted. You simply have to be more careful when hydrating them to avoid specific problems. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Do not wet the leaves and only water around the soil. As mentioned in the introduction, damp foliage makes it easy for fungi and bacteria to latch onto a plant and eventually multiply. You can easily avoid this by using drip irrigation or a soaker hose system (Amazon links). Plus, it means you direct water exactly where the plant really needs it, i.e., its roots.
- Don’t water every night, only after the soil has moderately dried out. Just because it’s ok to water at night, it doesn’t mean you should make it rain as if every day is a summertime beach party. It’s way better to water infrequently but thoroughly each time. This will encourage your plants to grow deeper roots and prevent overwatering. If you’re unsure, use a moisture meter (Amazon link) and do the knuckle test beforehand.
- Group your plants according to their similar water needs. As an extension of the previous point, some plants need watering more often than others. These are the shallow-rooted plants like lettuce and other leafy greens. Having them in sections will make your life so much easier when watering them, especially if it’s at night, so you don’t accidentally overwater.
- Ensure your drip irrigation or soaker hose system isn’t on automatic mode. While it seems easier to just let the system operate daily without your intervention, it’s also a one-ticket train to drown your plants and waste water. Yes, it’s a hassle to do things manually, but you’re already not going to water them nightly anyway.
- During the Fall or Winter, avoid watering at night in regions with cold climates. The ground will freeze up during this time, especially at night. The best time to water the plants is when the temperature is above freezing point before nightfall. You most likely won’t water as much in these chilly seasons but just in case, let the soil dry out first before the next watering.
- Brush mulch to the side before watering the soil around the plant. Mulch is pretty handy in keeping the ground warm and damp, so you don’t have to water it that often. But it can also restrict airflow if it’s packed too close to the plant itself and may even cause diseases. Ensure to place them at least 2-3 inches away from the plant’s stem.
Is it OK to water plants in the night?
As a general rule, nightly plant watering is safe as long as the leaves aren’t left wet overnight and the ground isn’t frozen. This applies to both indoor and outdoor plants, potted or in-ground. Where possible, water your plants early in the morning or late afternoon instead.
Is it alright to water plants at night?
There are two main times you should consider watering your plants:
- Early morning. It doesn’t matter if you use overhead watering or drip irrigation for this one. Either way, the droplets on the leaves will dry up throughout the day under the sun. However, not everyone is a morning person – most of us are just zombies in need of coffee before the day starts. This brings us to the next point …
- Late afternoon or early evening. There may be some light still in the sky, but it won’t be enough to evaporate any droplets as entirely as in the mornings. For this one, it’s best to water with drip irrigation or a soaker hose to be on the safer side of things. You can read more about drip irrigation systems in this article.
With that said, nightly watering is a last resort type of situation if you’re in a pinch. Just be mindful of the foliage, and your plants will be just fine. If you’d like to know more about the worst times to water your plant, you can read all about it in this article.
All in all, it’s down to your personal preference and daily schedule on when to water your plants. If the late evening is the only free time you have, by all means, go for it! It is way better than no watering at all. Happy planting!