There are so many things we love about summer, and leisurely tending to our gardens is definitely one of them. However, figuring out the best time to water plants in hot weather can be a bit tricky, especially when we're experiencing a heatwave. Luckily, an expert has spoken out about when you should head out with that pitcher and when you to hold off on that watering session.
In an article for The Conversation, English botanist Alastair Culham, PhD, explains that extreme temperatures and outdoor conditions can "wreak havoc" on your precious plants. Most plants will need plenty of water when it's hot out, but it's widely known that they shouldn't be doused in the full sun. This means that a good chunk of a hot summer day is out of the question for watering time.
"The notion that wet leaves on sunny days cause scorch in plants was disproved nearly 10 years ago," Dr. Culham writes. "But there is no doubt that watering in full sun is not water-efficient, as much of it will evaporate before entering the soil."
According to Gardener's Supply Company, sunny afternoons in particular should be avoided for plant-watering at all costs, due to the potential of so much moisture loss from that evaporation.
That said, this doesn't mean that you should water your plants in the middle of the pitch-black night, either. (You'd probably have trouble seeing what you were doing!)
"In the current hot breezy weather, it is probably best to water in the early evening," Culham writes. "This gives the plants enough time to dry out, but there is still the chance for overnight water uptake by the roots."
Of course, watering plants in the early evening isn't always convenient for everyone, especially when the kids or grandkids have so many plans and activities to do. On top of that, it can be tough to just drop everything you're doing in and around the house to water plants. The good news is that you can also do it in the early hours of the morning — as long as you begin before the sun is shining.
After all our plants do to make us happy, let's make sure we keep them from wilting this summer!