Watering Question - Knowledgebase Question

Las Cruces, Ne
Question by ceoverhiser
March 5, 2010
Is it ok to water my ranunculus plants and other annuals planted in the ground during the day when the sun is out OR should I be waiting until evening? Problem is even if I water them in the evening, they seem like they need water during the day here in Las Cruces NM where its very hot?! Also, it's hard not to get the petals of the flowers wet during watering. Am I doing any damage to them?

Answer from NGA
March 5, 2010


The concern with watering in the evening is that the leaves can remain wet overnight and that might encourage fungal diseases. Watering when the sun is hot can also pose problems - water droplets on the leaves can magnify the sun and cause sunscald beneath the water drops. In the desert the best approach is to water early in the morning, before the sun gets really hot. This will quench the thirst of your plants and the water droplets should evaporate before they cause damage to the leaves. If you water deeply, you won't have to water as often. This is especially true if you use an organic mulch over the soil between your plants. Mulches help slow water evaporation. So try a combination - apply water slowly so it has a chance to soak into the soil, water in the mornings whenever possible, and use a mulch in the flower bed to help slow evaporation. You probably should expect the plants to look a little wilted during the heat of the afternoon. As long as they recover overnight, they have enough water. They are simply trying to conserve it by rolling their leaves to expose less surface to the hot sunshine. Plants do all kinds of interesting things to adapt to nature! Hope this answers your question.

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