When is the Best Time to Water the Garden?

In a Nutshell: The best time to water your garden is in the morning, specifically between 5:30 AM and 10:00 AM. This timing is ideal as it allows water to deeply penetrate the soil and reach plant roots before evaporation occurs.


  • Watering the garden in the morning, ideally between 5:30 AM and 10:00 AM, is best for plant health, allowing deep soil penetration and reducing disease risk.
  • Watering during the day’s heat can harm plants, as soil heat can steam and boil plant roots, and water droplets can act like magnifying glasses, causing leaf sunburn.
  • Nighttime watering should be avoided due to risks of fungi, mildew, diseases, and attracting slugs, which thrive in moist conditions.

When To Water Plants

Gardening enthusiasts often ponder the optimal time for watering their gardens, especially during fluctuating weather conditions. 

Luke Marion, the founder of and a seasoned gardening expert, sheds light on this topic, drawing from his extensive experience and observations on his popular gardening channel.

Understanding the “Why” Behind Watering Times

Marion emphasizes that choosing the best time for watering is crucial for the health and growth of plants.

Contrary to common practice, watering during the day’s heat or at night can harm the garden. 

He explains the science behind this, noting that during hot daytime temperatures, the soil absorbs heat, which can lead to the steaming and boiling of plant roots when water is applied. This heat absorption by water can cause severe stress to plants, potentially damaging or even killing them.

Additionally, Marion points out that watering during the daytime can cause water droplets on leaves to act like magnifying glasses, leading to sunburn on the plants. This phenomenon results in silvery and shiny patches on the leaves, a common concern among gardeners.

The Perils of Nighttime Watering

While nighttime might seem like the best time to some, Marion advises against watering during this period due to its potential risks.

Nighttime watering can create a haven for fungi, mildew, and diseases due to the prolonged moisture on plant surfaces. 

This environment is conducive to developing issues like powdery mildew on squash plants, blights on tomatoes, and gray mold on leafy greens like lettuce and cabbages. 

Furthermore, moist conditions at night attract slugs, which can cause significant damage to the garden.

The Ideal Time

After ruling out the less favorable times, Marion concludes that the best time to water the garden is in the morning. He suggests that watering from around 5:30 AM to 10:00 AM provides numerous benefits. 

Firstly, this timing allows the water to penetrate deeply into the soil, reaching the roots effectively before evaporation occurs due to heat, wind, or sunlight. 

Secondly, morning watering gives plants enough time to dry off as the sun strengthens, reducing the likelihood of disease development.

Aligning with Plant Biology

Marion’s recommendation is also grounded in plant biology. He explains that plants breathe through a process known as respiration, where they intake carbon dioxide and expel oxygen and water, primarily at night. 

By watering in the morning, gardeners can ensure that the water is optimally utilized by the plants as the stomata (the ‘mouths’ and ‘lungs’ of plants) begin to close, minimizing water loss and maximizing absorption.

A Gardener’s Best Practice

In conclusion, Luke Marion’s insights underline the importance of understanding the nuances of garden care. 

By choosing the morning hours for watering, gardeners can ensure the health and vibrancy of their plants, avoiding common pitfalls associated with incorrect watering practices. 

This expert advice promotes a flourishing garden and contributes to the broader goal of establishing food security through home gardening. 

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