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When is the Best Time to Water the Garden?

The simple answer is at Night, between 10pm and 6am.

Hozelock AC1+ with Hozelock Aqua Storm Sprinkler

You might wonder who on earth is going to get up in the middle of the night to water the garden, well it's not always necessary. In fact it's not necessary to get out of bed at all if you have a water timer. A garden watering timer will allow you to set the start and end time for your garden watering system to turn itself on and off.

A simple system for watering the lawn could include a timer, length of hosepipe and a simple oscillating sprinkler. This picture shows a Hozelock AC Plus timer controlling a Hozelock Aqua Storm sprinkler. OK we cheated the picture has been taken in the day, and we are recommending watering the garden at night, but you get the idea.

So why water the garden at night?

1) Evaporation
It's very common to notice that your plants or lawn need watering on a warm day, you are outside because its warm and your plants are thirsty due to the heat. So you water the garden, at this point the soil is dry and it takes a while for the water to soak in, have you ever noticed that when you water a potted plant after having not watered it for a while the water sits at the top of the pot for a short time before slowing soaking in. Well whilst the water is sitting there and even after it has started soaking in to the first couple of inches of soil it has already started to evaporate under the heat of the sun before the water has reached the roots of your plants.

If you water at night the water soaks into the ground and the plants roots have time to take in the water and the following day the water has actually soaked down away from the surface and the moisture is locked away and protected from the heat of the sun.

2) Leaf Burn
After the process of watering with a sprinkler or spray gun your plants leaves will be covered in small droplets of water. These droplets will magnify the suns rays and in the case of delicate plants this will result in scorch marks on the leaves.

3) Fungus & Bacteria
During the evening and night hours plants will excrete sugars, starches and amino acids from glads called hydathodes. The fluid created by this process, know as guttation, makes up 25% of the dew that forms on plants, with the other 75% being made up of atmospheric condensation. Unfortunately this fluid is an ideal breading ground for plant fungus and bacteria.

Watering during the guttation period will actually dilute of the dew solution and may also wash away many of the fungal spores.

4) Stomates
During intense heat plants will close their stomates in order to reduce the loss of moisture. This process also results in the plants inability to take in moisture from the soil. Without risking this turning into a biology lesson I will let you investigate what stomates are yourselves.

Why shouldn't I water late afternoon?

Many diseases require a certain period of time on a wet leaf in order to invade and colonise a plants tissue. By watering at 4pm we are extending the leaves moist period to over 14 hours and therefore increasing the chance of disease.

So although we do want to water in the evening to avoid the sun we don't want the plant tissue above the surface to be moist for an extended period of time.


Your plants are going to benefit from watering at night and so is your water bill. Watering at night will result in your plants taking in more water and reduced evaporation.

Take a look at our range of Hozelock automatic watering timers, Hozelock sprinklers and complete garden irrigation solutions.

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