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This Is the Absolute Best Time to Water Your Plants to Keep Them Thriving

Being a plant parent is a big job, and two of the most important things to figure out are when is the best time to water plants and just how much water they need. You can always opt for drought-resistant plants such as echeveria and aloe, but what if thirsty blooms such as roses and hydrangeas are calling your name? And if you decide to go the gardening route, surely a backyard full of succulents does not make a dynamic garden. The situation can be tricky, so we decided to consult the pros and reached out to Alfred Palomares, Vice President of Merchandising and Resident Plant Dad at 1-800-Flowers.com to give us the rundown on watering plants. 

When is the best time to water plants?

If you want your plant to thrive, it’s best to give it some H2O at daybreak. “The best time of day to water houseplants is in the morning,” says Palomares. “Especially during the hot summer months. This will allow the plant to absorb the water before it gets too hot—which can cause the water to evaporate too quickly—and dark.” Watering in the morning also allows foliage to dry quickly, which discourages fungal spores and keeps your plant looking nice and lush. If you can’t get to it in the morning, your next best bet is the evening. Just be sure to water directly to the root zone rather than the leaves. 

What are some signs my plant needs watering?

Whether you’re an experienced plant parent or new to the game, most people know that one of the easiest ways to see if your plant needs watering is to stick your finger into the soil. If it feels dry to the touch, then it’s time to hydrate. If it’s still moist, then wait a day or two. There are, however, other signs to let you know your plant needs some TLC: 

  • The plant is drooping
  • The leaves look wrinkly
  • The tips of the leaves are browning
  • The plant isn’t growing
  • The pot is light 

Should houseplants and garden plants be watered the same? 

No. Because the weather is constantly changing, the watering needs of garden plants will be starkly different from houseplants. “For watering outdoors, there are many variables to take into consideration, including the type of plant, the type of climate and whether it's planted in the ground versus in a container,” explains Palomares. “Outdoor plants will need to be watered more frequently depending on the temperature and time of year, whereas a houseplant’s watering cycle may just be one time per week since it lives in a more stable environment.”

Regardless of where your plants are located, you have to make sure they get proper drainage so as to prevent the growth of mold and fungi as well as root rot. For houseplants, Palomares advises you make sure your pot has a drainage hole at the bottom. It promotes good circulation and allows water to move easily throughout the soil. For garden plants, you’ll need to set up some rain barrels near gutters or install a rain garden to collect runoff water.

How can I tell if I’m overwatering my plant? 

There is such a thing as too much love when it comes to your plants. You want to make sure your green babies have enough nutrients to stay alive and then replenish as you go. Otherwise, you risk accidentally killing them. Some signs that you’re overwatering your plant include:

  • The base of the plant stem is soppy or uneven—sometimes accompanied by a rotten smell
  • Leaves (of any color) dropping
  • Wilting leaves—indicating root rot has set in and the roots can no longer absorb water
  • Fungus and mold growing on top of the soil

The takeaway: Take care of your plant babies, but don’t spoil them too much.