While it’s a fact that plants need regular watering, the question is this: is there a best time of day to water indoor plants?.
Many beginner houseplant growers are often aware of the overwatering and underwatering risks. However, they fail to factor in the right timing for efficient watering.
The truth is that the time of the day has a big impact when it comes to watering your plants. This will dictate how well your plants can absorb the moisture and use it to withstand intense heat.
For this, we talked to several plantsmen and anthophiles to finally settle the debate. So if you’re a beginner gardener, you should read on for added information that could help your plants thrive more.
Best time of day to water indoor plants
The best time of day to water indoor plants is in the morning. It’s like giving breakfast to your plants, so they will be prepared for the day.
Moreover, the morning schedule is the general consensus, especially during the summer months. You’d want to water your plants before the heat of the day peaks. The cooler temperature in the morning won’t cause the water to evaporate fast, giving the roots the chance to absorb it well.
Aside from that, you should give extra attention to plants that are located in southern-facing locations. These plants receive more direct sunlight, thus more heat. It may need more water to keep it moisturized even after the heat of the day peaks.
Nevertheless, the timing often becomes less important as the summer season eases. Since there are no major temperature changes during the day, watering doesn’t have to be as religious as how you do it during summer.
While the schedule of watering becomes less stringent, one thing you have to watch out for is the amount and frequency of watering. During the winter months, you need to scale back on watering since many plants become dormant and may become prone to frost if watered too much.
Consistency is the key
Watering every morning is a good practice since it forms a habit of consistency among plant growers. By adding it to your morning to-do list, watering your plants won’t be forgotten as you go by your day.
Plants thrive with consistency, so watering and checking it at the same time every day will surely help them thrive even more.
Still, it’s not just a black and white concept of pouring water into the pot every day. You also have to check the soil and how moist it still is.
You have to be careful in leaving your potted plants’ soil moist at nighttime. It’s because soil that remains moist up until the next sunrise can become a harborage of pests.
Some of these moisture-loving insect pests are springtails, termites, and earwigs. You should keep an eye on these critters as their presence is a sign of watering problems on your plants.
Misting in the evening
While most potted plants thrive in morning watering, air plants prefer misting more often. Misting can be done both in the morning and evening as much as possible.
In the morning, the mist will give the air plant its much-needed moisture for the day. This is much so during the summer season when intense heat draws out a lot of moisture from the air.
Meanwhile, evening misting will provide air plants with just the right amount of humidity to prevent dryness. This is very helpful in hot months when the evening temperature remains high.
Overall, misting is a great way to avoid overwatering in plants. Even non-air plants still need misting, especially if it’s just starting to sprout new growth. The goal is to keep humidity at around 40% for tropical and subtropical native plants.
Green thumb hacks for efficient houseplant watering
Watering your plants can be a tricky task, especially for species that are quite sensitive to the amount of moisture it receives. To help you out, here are some green thumb hacks that you should keep in mind the next time you reach for the watering can:
1. Choose an optimal pot
Indoor plants need pots with drain holes as well as a size that matches their growth. You should also get a matching saucer to catch the draining water from the soil.
Take note that keeping houseplants in the container as you bought them will hinder their growth. Remember that these grower pots are only intended for short-term use. With that, make sure that you transfer your newly purchased houseplants into a new pot, so it will absorb and drain moisture properly.
2. Know what your plant needs
Next, you should know how much water your plant needs. Like humans, each plant species have specific needs, especially when it comes to moisture intake.
For example, succulents aren’t supposed to be watered every single day. Meanwhile, tropical plants like calatheas must be kept in moist soil.
Understanding your plants’ needs isn’t just about water. You should also study how much sunlight it requires, what plant food you need to get, and what condition it will thrive best.
3. Remove any excess water
After watering, wait until all the excess moisture has dripped into the pot saucer. Make sure that you dump it to prevent soaking your plant on it.
While plants need water, they don’t like their roots being soaked in moisture all day long. Imagine wearing wet socks all day, it’s super uncomfortable, right?
Waiting for a few minutes for the water to drain out will save you more time later on. It will take more effort to revive an overwatered plant compared to emptying a drain saucer.
4. Water the soil, not the leaves
Remember that the water should always be directed to the roots and not the leaves. Giving your plants a ‘bath’ by dousing their leaves with water is both wasteful and a guaranteed way to trigger health issues in your foliage.
Excess moisture sitting on the plant’s leaves can harbor bacterial, fungal, and other plant infections. This can cause deformities, discoloration, rotting, poor blooms, and even the death of the plant itself.
Next time, use a small water can and focus on the soil. If you want to add slight humidity to the leaves, you can do misting once in a while.
5. Check moisture levels
When growing houseplants, it’s important to keep an eye on the soil’s moisture level. We suggest using a soil moisture gauge, which is available in gardening shops for a small cost.
Simply insert the tool into the soil to read its current moisture content. From there, you’ll know whether your plants need more watering or not
Overall, the soil moisture gauge will become your basis for how often you need to water your plants. It’s a more accurate reference, especially for plants sensitive to overwatering.
6. Use wick watering when you’re away
If you’re going on a vacation and leaving your plants unattended, one way to keep them alive is to use a wick watering system. For this, you need a cotton rope and a jar with water.
First, you need to cut a length of cotton rope enough to reach the bottom of the jar and the surface of your plant’s soil. You need to soak one end in the water in the jar and the other one laying at the top of the soil.
Over time, the cotton rope will absorb water and slowly moisturize the soil. This system prevents overwatering while taking the burden of having someone water your plants manually.
7. Mind the season
Lastly, you should water your plants based on the season. Many houseplants become dormant during the winter season, which means that it needs less watering.
In an indoor setting, it’s also important to check the humidity as the season changes. Some plants need added misting to compensate for the very dry air.
What to avoid when watering plants
It’s easy to commit mistakes when watering houseplants, which can ultimately lead to their death. To prevent this from happening on your blooms, you should be mindful of the following aspects:
1. Using very water-retentive potting mixes
Almost all houseplants don’t thrive in a very water-retentive potting mix. This waterlogged soil can cause overwatering and the risk of pests.
Instead, you should opt for well-draining soil, preferably one that contains the likes of perlite, coconut coir, or vermiculite.
2. Using treated softened water
Water softeners used in households often add sodium to the water. If you use it to water your plants, the sodium content could mess up the plant’s mineral balance. This can make your plants unhealthy and it can also cause death in plants.
Instead, use water you get directly from a spigot of your outdoor faucet. This is to prevent adding up salt to your plant’s soil.
3. Waterlogging potted plants
You should always take it easy when watering your plants. Take note that underwatered plants should never be bombarded by loads of water just to compensate. Doing this will only cause more problems.
Underwatered plants are best revived by introducing moisture slowly. This way, the plant won’t experience a state of shock. You can try the wick watering system if you’re afraid to overwater your indoor foliage.
4. Watering unevenly
Lastly, always water your plant’s soil evenly. It’s important for the water to reach the entire root zone so leaves and growth will come out even as well.
With this, we recommend using small water can for indoor plants. This will help disperse the water while preventing a sudden slosh from displacing the soil.
Imagine yourself applying sunscreen: you won’t cover just one side, right?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How often should plants be watered?
A: The frequency of watering your plants depends on their needs. Most plants can be watered daily in small amounts. Others need watering twice daily to keep them in the best shape. However, succulents will need less watering, which is usually every other week. Some can go by with a whole month without watering during the winter months.
Q: Is it good to spray water on indoor plants?
A: Spraying water on indoor plants is called misting. It’s a common practice to help boost indoor humidity while preventing the risk of overwatering. Usually, plants with dry leaf tips will benefit a lot from misting aside from periodic watering to restore their health.
Q: How do you tell if your plants are underwatered or overwatered?
A: If the leaves of your plants have brown edges with a limp and soft texture, it’s overwatered. On the other hand, leaves with brown edges yet a crispy texture is underwatered. You’ll confirm this by checking the soil. If it’s parched and cracking, your plants are thirsty and need watering. Just remember that it’s easier to fix underwatering than overwatering.
Q: Should I keep watering my plants until water comes out of the drain hole?
A: The rule of thumb is that you should water your plants until water drips through the drain hole of the pot. However, you should also factor in the size of the pot, how compact the soil is, and how much moisture your plants need. In general, the goal is to moisturize the entire root zone, so the plant will absorb the water efficiently.
Q: Can you still save a plant after overwatering?
A: It’s still possible to save your overwatered plants. First, make sure that the drain holes aren’t blocked to allow excess moisture to drip. If possible, you should elevate the plants, so there’s a space between the ground and the pot. Also, don’t water it for a while until the soil dries up and the plant looks livelier.
The best time of day to water indoor plants is usually in the morning. This way, your plants will absorb the moisture well since the temperature is lower and the water won’t evaporate fast.
Nevertheless, it’s also important to understand your plant’s needs as well as the current season. For a foolproof watering method, you can always use a soil moisture gauge.