Design & Property

The best—and worst—times to water indoor and outdoor plants, according to gardening experts

Whether you have indoor or outdoor plants (or a combination between the two), keeping them healthy and hydrated—no matter the conditions—is likely top of mind for your gardening regimen. But did you know there’s actually a best time of day to water your plants? We asked gardening experts for tips to ensure your plants get water when they need it most.

The best time to water indoor plants

When it comes to your indoor plants, watering them during the morning is the best rule of thumb, particularly during the hottest, sunniest times of year. “This gives the water adequate time to absorb into the soil for the plant to use before the midday rays,” says Kate Fergason and Lila Sullivan, co-founders of Flourish, a brand that makes organic plant food. “We recommend trying your best to avoid watering at night because you’ll want some evaporation to occur to prevent the roots from sitting in overly moist soil for prolonged periods.”

Indoor plant care

If you end up missing your routine morning watering, the Flourish co-founders say that an occasional watering in the evening or giving low-maintenance houseplants (like monstera plants) a midday soak on a hot day won’t adversely affect the health of your plants overall.

“Keeping your plants appropriately watered at a time that works with your schedule is going to be the best way to care for your plants,” they say. “We talk a lot about intuitive plant care, meaning taking cues from your plant on when to water.” If you notice that leaves on any of your indoor plants begin to wilt or turn down, or your cactus is beginning to wrinkle, then you know that it is time for a water, no matter the time of day. “Remember, they can be quite forgiving!” they add.

Image Credit: Getty / Ronnie Kaufman

The best time to water outdoor plants

As for the best time to water your outdoor plants? “Morning is the best time to water, and the worst time is midday when the sun is directly above,” says Megh Wingenfeld, a home and garden creative. “The morning is less harmful for the plant and allows it time to soak up all the water.” More importantly, she says to be sure to water at the base of the plant, as the roots drink up the water, so you’ll want to target the soil when watering.

Outdoor plant care

Watering plants from above during the middle of the day can be harmful because the majority of the water will land on the plants and never make it down to the soil. From there, the sun can dry up the plants during the peak of the day, causing them to burn. Heat combined with moisture can also cause mildew (a powdery white substance) on plants, Wingenfeld says. Watering the soil in the early parts of the day can help you avoid this.

“Watering in the morning, or even in the evening is preferred, but carefully watering during the day is not always a plant’s death sentence,” adds Wingenfeld. “Mother Nature doesn’t water on a set schedule, and a little surprise rain sprinkle any time of day is always appreciated during July’s heat.”

This story first appeared on

(Credit for the hero and featured image: Aleksandar Nakic / Getty Images)

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Ailing Tsai

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