How Often Should You Water Your Garden?

man watering his garden

Garden watering has remained the biggest concerns of all times.

Even the most experienced gardeners end up asking this question: “How often should we water our garden?”

The answer is not really complicated but requires you to take into account some really small things. If you manage to take care of these things, you can have a thriving, green garden at your home.

In the post below, you will find out how often you should water your garden. You will also know some of the key considerations that you need to take into account as you head out for garden watering.

If you are not sure about the best time to water your plant, you can have this riddle solved right below. Finally, you will learn whether plants need water during winters or not.

So let’s get started with your garden watering guide.

How Often Should You Water Your Garden?

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As a general rule of thumb, your garden needs about an inch or two of thorough, infrequent watering, once a week.

However, when it comes to gardening, it is critical to understand that different plants in the garden have different watering needs. While some plants thrive with a lot of water, others may die due to too much of it.

So, how to decide how often should you water your garden?

Here are some of the factors that can affect your decision and by understanding these factors, you will be in a better position to take care of your lawn.

Factors That Affect Your Garden’s Water Needs

Soil Quality

Soil quality is one of the fundamental factors that affect your garden’s watering needs. With a decent soil quality, all you need is to water your plants enough that the soil sticks together every time you pick it up.

In case, your soil is dry and does not hold together, this indicates that the soil needs both more nutrients and more water. In that case, watering your garden alone will not help improve the condition of your plants.


Your climate is also one of the integral factors that affect the watering needs of your garden. If you live in a sunny and dry climate zone, the soil loses water more quickly so you need to water your garden more frequently.

However, if you live in a hot and humid climate zone, then watering once a week is enough. In case you live in a rainy, less sunny climate, your garden would need watering no more than twice a week.

One important thing to remember is that regardless of the weather conditions, checking soil quality is critical to decide upon when to water your garden.

Types of Plants

ready to watering garden with watering can

As mentioned earlier, different types of plants have different watering needs. Some need more water to grow while others can do well even with infrequent, shallow watering.

Therefore, when it comes to garden watering, make sure you know the types of plants that are present in your garden. As a general rule, make sure you choose plants with similar watering needs.

Size of the Plants in the Garden

Needless to say, larger plants with more flowers, fruits or vegetables will need more water compared to smaller plants with few or no fruits and flowers at all.

Root System

Different types of plants have different root systems. Vegetable and bedding plants have shallow root systems so they need frequent (daily in most cases) watering.

However, plants that have deeper root systems may need infrequent, thorough watering.

Outdoor Garden vs. Container Garden

While most people do not consider this as an important factor, where and how you plant your garden can have a major impact on its watering needs.

Container gardens that are planted in boxes and pots need more water as compared to plants that are planted outdoors.

This is because soil in a small container loses water at a faster rate as compared to plants that grow outdoors. 

Exposure to Sunlight

Exposure to sunlight will have a direct impact on the watering needs of a garden. If your outdoor or container garden is placed in a naturally bright climate, the soil tends to lose water faster.

As a result, your garden needs more water. As opposed to this, if your garden is shaded and blocks out natural sunlight, then your garden may not need as much water.

Keeping the above considerations in mind, you can decide on how often you should water your garden.

However, as mentioned earlier, a general rule of thumb around two inches of water once a week is enough to keep your garden healthy.

Test Moisture Level in Your Garden

man checks moisture level

Here are a few ways you can check the moisture level in your garden that will indicate whether or not your garden needs more water.

  • If the soil temperature reaches 85 degrees or more, your garden needs more water.
  • If you insert a six-inch screw driver in the soil of your garden. If it can be easily pushed in the soil, your garden does not need more water. In case, you can’t push it down, the soil in your garden is dry.
  • Stick your finger in the soil. If it feels dry to touch, then your garden needs more water.

By keeping the key factors that affect the watering needs of your garden and testing the moisture level in your garden, you would know when your garden needs water.

What Time of the Day Is Best For Watering?

Now that it is clear that your garden needs water simply when it is dry.

In case of a container garden, you have to water it more frequently. But if you have an outdoor garden in a sunny, humid climate, then the watering needs of your garden will differ.

So the next most important question is what time of the day is best for watering. Ideally, you should water your garden at a time when the air temperature is lowest.

According to this, early morning or late afternoons are the best time for watering your garden.

Another important consideration is that you should water your garden when there is dew in the ground.

Together, keeping these considerations in mind, the best time of the day to water your garden is early in the morning.

When you water your garden early, it gives enough time for the water to seep deep into the soil while the temperature is still cooler.

In case, you water your garden at a later time during the morning, the temperature is high enough that instead of seeping down to the roots, most of the water is lost due to evaporation.

As a result, more water is available for the plants throughout the day.   

Should You Water Your Garden During the Winter Season?

snow on watering can

Now comes the third most important garden watering question: “Should you water your garden during the winter season?” The answer to this question is yes!

Even when the weather is cold and most plants are covered under the soil, your garden still needs water. This is particularly important if you have young plants in the garden.

During winters, plants are not thriving. However, this does not mean that they are dead. Instead, they are in a dormant phase and even during dormancy, they need water for some basic metabolic functions that are still going on inside the plant.

Moreover, the roots of the plants are most prone to damage. Since the weather is dry, the soil quickly dries up, leaving roots exposed to dry out.

A common concern when watering plants during winter is that the water may freeze and damage the roots. While this might appear to be a genuine concern, this is actually not the case.

As long as you water your garden early in the morning, this water will seep into the soil and function as a protection against water frosting during nighttime.

The water that is trapped in the soil acts as an insulator by keeping the area around your plant a little more warmer compared to the rest of the garden. As a result, this insulation guards your roots against nighttime freezing.

While your garden will not need as much water during winters as it will require during spring or summers, you still have to water your garden regularly. Again you need to water your garden when the soil is dry to touch.

However, a change in criteria during winters is that you need to water when the temperature is not below 40 degrees.


Garden watering might be a tricky activity even for the most experienced gardeners.

Plants of all types need water regardless of soil quality and outside temperature.

However, these factors along with size of the plants, location of the garden and exposure to sunlight play a critical role in deciding the watering needs of your garden. You may also benefit from a water filtration system.

Ideally, you should water your garden early in the morning when the temperature is relatively lower and the ground is still moist due to the dew. And finally, gardens need water throughout the year.

So even during the frightful cold, make sure you provide enough water to your garden so you can have a thriving garden as spring approaches.

About The Author

Gina Harper grew up dreaming about farms and growing her own food. She began an urban garden to feed herself and turned it into an incredible hobby. Gina is here to teach you everything from raised beds to container gardening, how to keep plants alive and well in a smoggy city, and the works. It’s time that we carve our own piece of green earth and reap what we sow—she’s here to help you with that.