Van Wisdom: How Much and How Often to Water

Questions about watering? The biggest thing is knowing when and how much to water your plants. We’ve compiled some tips to help you know when and how to water during those hot summer months.


Wilting: One of the very simple to spot and most obvious ways to tell your plant needs water is whether the flowers and leaves are wilted. Wilting can also be an indicator of heat stress.

Yellow Leaves: When your plant’s leaves start to yellow around the edges AND the soil is dry, you need to water. Yellowing in leaves can mean one of two things. One, your soil is too wet, and the roots are suffocating. Or, two, your soil is too dry, and the plant is starving for water. Be sure to check the soil when you see yellowing leaves before grabbing the watering can.

Stunted Growth: If there is a change in the rate of growth of your plant, it could be time to water. Another indicator of stunted growth is seeing fewer blooms than you’d expect on an otherwise healthy plant.

Weight: When you are watering potted plants or hanging baskets, be sure to test the weight before and after you water to note the difference. The next time your plant needs water you can check the weight to determine how much water you may need.

Helpful Hints:

  • On extremely hot summer days, run the hose water for a second before turning to water your plants. The hot water in your hose can also cause scalding or burn the plant.
  • When you’re watering aim the hose or watering can directly at the base of the plant, focusing on the root system. Do your best to avoid getting water on the leaves if you can.
  • Use a hose breaker to spread out and control the harsh stream of water.
  • Saturate the entire root system when you’re watering to make sure you’re giving your plants the most nourishing drink.
  • Use the weight test! This is a great method for checking the soil in your hanging baskets or potted plants. Once you see the watering draining from the pot in a steady stream, lift the basket and test the weight. You can also use a barbeque skewer or stick and put it down in the soil at least 3 or 4 inches deep. With a dry basket, your stick will come out clean. If your plant is fully saturated, it will come out dirty.

If you water your hanging baskets in the morning, you may want to check them again in the afternoons of July and August. In many cases, it is not uncommon to water your hanging baskets more than once per day, especially if it is very hot outside and your plant is in direct sunlight. Each time you water a hanging basket you must be sure you’re giving them enough. You need to make sure that you’re saturating the entire root system until water drains out the bottom of the pot.

Here is a printable guide to help you. Watering Guide_2022