Can You Water Indoor Plants at Night?


Plant owners want what is best for their plants. Several tasks are involved in plant care, but the most important one is watering.  With proper watering, your plant will thrive.  Since most indoor plants should be kept in, at least, indirect sunlight, some of the tips for outdoor plants will apply.

Watering plants is a matter of timing.  Can indoor plants be watered at night?  In nature, plants are watered whenever it rains, but in your environment, there is a better time to give them water. According to most plant experts, the best time to water most plants is in the morning.  That comes as a disappointment to those who prefer to water their plants at night, but I am sure those who water at night truly want what is best for the plant.

Here are some reasons for watering plants in the morning as well as tips for taking care of your plant.

Morning Light Prevents Excessive Moisture

Watering during the early hours of daylight keeps your plant from sitting in the wet potting mix for an extended period of time. When plants are watered at night, the sunlight is unable to dry the soil leaving them in moisture for longer than they should be.  

Too much moisture can cause many plants to build up bacteria or fungus.  Overwatering also caused plants to become water logged.  As a result, they will not grow properly.  Plants need oxygen to survive.  Sitting in waterlogged soil will prevent plants from getting the oxygen they need. Once they have gone a long time without oxygen, root damage occurs.

Morning Watering Helps Plants Thrive in the Sun

The heat of the sun is much easier to deal with when your plant has been watered during the morning hours.  The plant gets the water it needs on the foliage and roots for nurturing, then, the sun will dry what might be excessive giving your plant a healthy balance. 

The transpiration process goes more smoothly if watering is done in the morning hours.  Transpiration is a natural way for plants to get nutrients from the soil. The stomata is opened which allows nutrients in the plant.  The plant then exchanges air with the atmosphere which is good for other aspects of the environment.

Dealing with a Myth

Myths always circulate through many avenues. The plant world is not excluded from it. There is a myth that plants will scorch in the sun if they are watered in the morning.  

Morning sunlight will not scorch plants unless they are overly watered.  Even if the sunlight was too intense for your plant, the water droplets would be evaporated before the plants focused on the sunlight.

Watering during Winter Months

Although it is always better for your plants to be watered in the morning, it is especially true during winter months.  If you water your plants during the evening and at night in the winter season, you risk creating an artificial frost which can affect indoor plants.

When water is standing on foliage, the heat of the sun evaporates it preventing too much moisture from forming.  During the winter, the artificial frost created from evening and night watering would not have time to evaporate which could damage or kill your plant. Watering during the morning ensures that the moisture on your plants has time to move into the soil rather than remaining on the plant.

Plants that Deal Well with Winter

  • Coneflower
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Wintergreen Boxwood
  • Blue Spruce
  • Coral Bells
  • Pansies
  • Catmint
  • Winterberries
  • Hostas
  • Primrose

Ways to Prepare Your Indoor Plants for Winter

  • Pull up dead leaves and dying plants
  • Drain Irrigation Systems
  • Plant bulbs that will only flower in the Spring

Why Not at Night

Wet foliage is not harmful during the daylight hours.  The water eventually evaporates in the sunlight.  When a plant is watered at night, foliage will remain wet during the night hours.  Since the sun is not out, the water does not evaporate leaving moisture to sit too long on your plant leaving it susceptible to certain danger.

Fungi and bacteria replicate in these wet areas and will grow on your plant.  Not only can your plants rot, but the roots become damaged as well which eliminates any chance of saving your plant.

Watering in the Afternoon

Afternoon watering might not seem harmful because the moisture would not have as much of a chance to remain on the foliage.  You should be aware that afternoon watering can cause a plant to dry too quickly, then, the plant goes without moisture for an extended period.  Afternoon watering can also cause plant foliage to be scorched as a result of the excess water being heated in the afternoon sun.

Of course, you do not want excessive moisture for your plant, but you do not want your plant to become too dry.  Finding the balance is a challenge.  Too much or too little moisture are both extremes that most plants do not need.

Watering in the Evening

Occasional evening watering will not harm your plant, but you do not want to make it a habit.  As with watering at night, the moisture could remain too long on the foliage and cause fungal and bacterial growth.  If the evening is too hot, the water could evaporate too quickly causing the plant to go too long without moisture.

If you have a busy schedule and can only water your plants during the evening, let most of the water go to the roots.  Avoid leaving too much on the foliage.  In so doing, you will give the roots the needed water and not leave the foliage to excessive moisture or no moisture.

Is It a Good Idea to Skip Watering?

Most of the time, plants should be watered daily. Some exceptions should be considered. 

If your plant has been overly watered on the previous day, skipping a day’s watering might be needed to avoid waterlogging and too much moisture.  Some plants do not require daily watering because the climate they came from drier climates. 

Here are some plants that do not need to be watered daily:

  • Succulents
  • Pothos
  • ZZ Plants
  • Snake Plants
  • Ponytail Palms
  • Begonias
  • Air Plants
  • Cast iron plants
  • Chinese evergreens

Plants that Must Be Watered Daily

Plants that originated in wetter climates obviously should be watered daily, however, there are some plants that need to be watered daily without exception.  Here are some of those plants:

  • Vegetable plants
  • Potted plants
  • Impatiens
  • Lotus

Think About Indoor Heating and Air Systems

The air system in your house can affect your plants growth If you turn your system up or down during the night, the temperature adjustment could dry your plant so plan accordingly.  While you should not overwater nor water at night, a light misting will not hurt if your plant gets a little dry throughout the day.  

Summary

Plants are like people and animals.  They have some basic needs, but different ones thrive or barely survive in various situations.  Knowing your plant’s origination is a must.  The climate your plant was meant to thrive in should be somewhat replicated in your home.  

Be careful about exposing your indoor plants to direct sunlight, but most of them do need indirect sunlight for about six hours a day.  This is another reason it is important to know about your plant’s original environment. 

Finally, if you forget to water your plants one morning because of an emergency, watering them at night one time should not hurt them.  It just does not need to be a habit.  Your plant needs a morning watering to give it time to soak up the water yet not be too dry during the heat of the day.

Recent Content