How to Water Plants in the Garden

how to water your plants in the garden

Oh, look, it’s raining. Again. Your Sunday picnic plans got ruined. Again. But wait, don’t just let some vitamin D deficiency let you down. Here is an idea:  why not curl up with a nice cup of tea, next to a window, so you can watch your beautiful garden? Such a wonderful sight to behold, isn’t it? But as you know, the pleasure to experience such a sensation comes with its price. You need to invest a lot of time and attention in your own personal Eden.

One of the most important parts of maintenance for your beloved plant friends is watering. You may be thinking “How could just garden watering be complicated?” Well, surprisingly, it can because every plant has unique watering requirements. A lawn with a single type of grass can be easily maintained with a basic water irrigation system. However, this strategy is not feasible if your green space consists of various plants.

Oh, why do plants need water? Can’t they just grow and thrive on their own? Well, you know the answer very well so you better start filling those water cans. In this article, you will find the what’s, when’s, why’s, and how’s of proper garden watering and maintenance. From plant diseases and types of soil to different watering methods. Great, now let’s water some dandelions!

When to water your plants

It doesn’t sound ideal in terms of sleep but watering your flower beds early in the morning is best for them. If you water them later in the day when the temperature is higher, you risk evaporation and development of certain diseases. However, if you are not a morning person, you can get the task done in the evening, too. This can quickly get repetitive and tedious. If you start to feel like a walking garden irrigation system, try to look at from its meditative perspective.

While on the topic of disease, yes, your beloved lilies can get sick. When it comes to water droplets on the leaves and stems, know that they are evil-doers. Unlike factors such as the weather, water is something you can somewhat regulate. If you don’t, illnesses caused by fungi and bacteria can occur. So how exactly can you avoid that? Basically, make sure to reduce the time window in which the leaves are wet. Control the number of the free moisture periods and how long those periods last.

How to water your plants

It’s time to unleash your inner kid and get your hands dirty. You’ll need to inspect the soil’s dampness by giving it a good feel. Bear in mind that some types of soil like clay can feel damp even if they aren’t while the opposite applies to sand, for example.

It’s a better idea to water your garden before drought sets in. If it still occurs, try to fix it by lightly watering a wide area. Deep roots may not benefit from it, but the actual plant will develop a resistance.

If you have poor drainage, don’t apply water. It will practically destroy your plants.

How much should I water my plants

Well, there are two main things to consider: the type of soil and the type of plant you are dealing with. For example, light sandy earth needs frequent but light sprinkling, while ones like clay request rarer but heavier watering. And in terms of the plants, you are catering to, your best option is to research their respective watering needs and follow them as precisely as possible.

How often to water plants

There are plants that require special attention, particularly during dry spells. Older trees and shrubs don’t request much, while younger ones (planted less than 5 years ago) demand more frequent watering.

Edible produce rewards you with quantity and quality when free of drought stress. You can’t go wrong with flooding leafy vegetables like lettuce and spinach because a big percentage of their structure is water-based. On the other hand, some produce like onions require very little moisture.

Here are some other water efficiency tips that can help your beloved garden:

#1. It is a good idea to extensively sprinkle the crops two weeks before the harvest occurs.
#2. Remove those pesky weeds, as they are guilty of soaking up a lot of the H2O.
#3. Planting between autumn and spring provides a higher possibility for the plants to develop roots before the colder months arrive.
#4. Make a mulching with a layer of organic compost. It helps with the loss of moisture from the upper soil layers.

For more tips on how to improve your garden soil water retention, check our article on the matter here.

Types of watering methods

There are numerous ways to take care of your garden, that are also major time and nerve savers.

Sprinkles can help you maintain your lawn and also takes care of unplanted areas. Hoses and watering cans are most commonly used, they come in handy when it comes to preventing weed problems because the water is concentrated in one area, leaving everything else around it dry.

There are seep hoses or pipes that have holes in them, which deliver water to the plants. You can hide those beneath the soil or the mulch. This way you preserve even more moisture.

If you want to save yourself some back pain, you can get rid of those watering cans and hoses, and replace them with an automated irrigation system. You have two choices: a drip or trickle model. The only parts of the soil that should be watered are either the root area or the top 60cm. There’s no point in it penetrating deeper because most plant roots won’t be able to reach it.

Different types of water and their effect

Of course, the best option is always rainwater. Its pH level is suitable for most plants and it is pure, meaning it’s free from the chemicals found in tap water. The inconvenient part is that you can store limited amounts of rain and if it stays contained a little bit longer, certain diseases might develop in it.

Tap water is most commonly used and it fits a variety of plants needs. The downside is that it contains chemicals. Long periods of usage can lead to illnesses because the hard elements it contains can affect the soil.

One alternative is purified water. It is available in distilled and deionised forms. It holds the same benefits as rainwater and can be used when there is no access to it. Cons? It’s expensive and due to the lack of minerals fertilizers are highly recommended.

A DIY version of purified water is regular tap water but boiled and cooled. This way some of the calcium will be removed during the process. Again, it is still is an expensive way to water your whole garden but you can take it into consideration when watering individual plants.


Who knew that there were so many angles to a simple task as watering your backyard? It may sound a bit complicated, but at the end of the day a beautiful, well maintained, and loved garden is worth it. Especially on those rainy days. Happy gardening!

Image header source: Deposit Photos/ Author: elenathewise

Posted in Garden Advice

Last update: November 29, 2018
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