Royal Horticultural Society share tips on watering plants

There’s a lot of advice out there about when the best time is to water plants and everyone has an opinion on the subject. 

But if gardeners find that their plants are shrivelling in the heat of summer despite the fact they seem to be constantly outside watering, maybe they need to change their watering schedule.

Speaking exclusively to, Michael Cambell, an experienced gardener has shared several mistakes to avoid to ensure the “health and vitality” of plants – including when is “best” to water garden plants.

He said: “By avoiding these common mistakes, you can establish a healthy watering routine for your garden plants in summer, promoting their growth, vitality, and overall well-being.”

Neglecting proper drainage

Good drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging, which can “harm plant roots”. 

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The expert suggested gardeners avoid planting in areas with poor drainage, as excessive moisture can lead to root rot. 

If the soil has drainage issues, consider improving it by adding organic matter or creating raised beds.

Watering at the wrong time of day

Watering during the hottest part of the day, such as midday, is “not ideal”, cautioned Michael.

He explained: “The water can evaporate quickly under intense heat, resulting in wastage. Additionally, wet foliage during the hottest hours can lead to sunscald or scorching.”

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Instead, the expert claimed that it’s “best to water early in the morning or in the late afternoon” when temperatures are cooler, allowing the water to “penetrate the soil effectively and be taken up by the plants”.

Michael is not alone in his thoughts as gardening experts at Sunshine Coast Plants claim that watering plants in the morning is “the best time of day for the task”, especially during the hotter months. 

They said: “This is actually the most optimal time to water your plants because they will have time to dry before the sun goes down. If the soil of your plants stays damp during the night, there will be more chances of pests gathering and wreaking havoc on your plant’s health.”

Watering the foliage 

It’s important to “avoid wetting the foliage excessively” while watering as wet leaves for an extended period can “encourage the growth of fungal diseases”. 

Instead, focus on watering the base of the plant or using drip irrigation systems that deliver water directly to the root zone.


One of the “most common mistakes” is overwatering. Overly soggy soil can “suffocate plant roots”, leading to root rot and other diseases. 

Additionally, excessive watering “can flush nutrients out of the soil”, depriving plants of essential elements. Michael said: “It’s important to provide adequate moisture without drowning the plants.”


On the other hand, underwatering is also a mistake to avoid. Insufficient water can cause plants to become “stressed, wilt, and eventually die”. 

Lack of water affects their growth, blooming, and overall health. It’s essential to monitor the moisture needs of plants and water them appropriately.

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