Water is an essential ingredient for a successful garden, even drought tolerant plants need some water. Watering may seem like an easy gardening task, but it really is both an art and a science. Read on to learn the fundamentals of good watering practices and which plants are more forgiving of drought.
Watering is very important for growing healthy plants. They will let you know how they’re doing, so pay attention to their signals. If a plant is wilted, it’s better to water in the middle of the day than let it remain wilted in the sun. And if you have the opportunity to move a plant that continues to wilt, be it in a container or planted in the ground, please do so. The key is removing stressors that are impacting your plant – water, wind, heat, poor soil, lack of fertilizer or improper sun/shade exposure.
You might have misgivings about watering during the midday heat because of an old wives’ tale that says it’ll scorch the plant, much like a magnifying glass angled just right will scorch anything beneath it. But that’s only a myth. Water droplets do act as tiny lenses, but light moves more slowly through water and it’ll generally evaporate before doing any damage.
Make it easy on yourself by placing plants with similar water requirements near each other. For container plants, water when the top inch of soil is dry or invest in a water timer to make sure they are watered on a regular schedule. Most plants in the garden require about an inch of water per week. Always aim for the roots when you water—the foliage does not need to get wet since it’s the roots that drink up all of the moisture.
When watering, it’s best to give dry plants a deep soak in the morning. Watering in the morning gives plants time to drink it all in and get ready for the sun. It also decreases the amount of stress they feel during the day. If you water late in the day or at night, excess moisture in the soil can cause fungal problems and disease, and water left on the leaves can encourage mold.