During San Antonio summers, dry, hot winds and long periods of time without rain will have you needing to water more often than normal. In general, you might find you need to water your gardens around 3 times a week. With city water restrictions in place, this means if you have a sprinkler system in place, you will need to make time to drag the hose around on the other two watering days.


Make the most of the times you water and:

  • water in the morning hours when it’s generally cooler and there is less waste from evaporation. Wake up an hour early, enjoy the sounds of the world waking up while you care for your plants.
  • water thoroughly. Don’t blast the foliage of your plants and don’t splash a drop here and there. Give your plants a good, slow drink. It will help sustain them for a few days until the next watering. Spend a few minutes on each plant and let that water gently soak into the soil. 
  • time your lawn sprinkler systems correctly. Turf needs an inch of water a week. On your designated watering day, water to the point of run off, then wait 20-30 minutes and run the system again. 
watering plants in summer

Watering Clues: Do My Plants Need Water?

Do you really need all this watering? Most likely yes. Summer is furnace-blazing hot in San Antonio. But sometimes, you might get away with less water, depending on what type of plants you have. Xeriscape and well-adapted plants may allow you more time between waterings.


Look to your plants for clues (but be aware that some signs may be misleading). Plants don’t have that great of a poker face. In general, if they look dehydrated, they most likely are. A droopy disposition, a curl of a leaf, or browned edges on foliage can be signs of a thirsty plant. BUT, some plants are just tired at the end of a hot day, just like we are. Sometimes a plant looks dehydrated and droopy by the days end, but pops up fully recovered by morning.


So, the BEST way to tell if your plant needs the water is to FEEL the soil it is living in. A poke of your finger into the soil up to the second knuckle let’s you know for sure. Don’t like to get dirty? Get outta here! Just kidding. Use a wooden dowel or the end of a wooden spoon to measure 2 inches of moisture. Moist soil sticks; dry soil flakes off.

Watering potted plants

A word on potted plants. They are at a bit of a disadvantage when it comes to finding water resources. Their resource is you. They can’t stretch their roots down to the coolest, moistest, areas of the ground to draw up water. You have to give it to them.


Depending on the size of your pots, this may mean that you may find yourself needing to water your potted plants every day; sometimes even twice a day. It’s furnace hot in summer here, y’all! These potted plants also need a deep soak. This means giving each pot a few minutes of your attention. You water all around the base of the plants until the water runs out the drainage hole, then…. you may need to come back for a second round, depending on how dry the plant was in the first place.


Extra tip….if you are having a hard time believing your plant can keep drying out as fast as it does, check the rootball. Has it been a long time since you’ve repotted? If your plant is rootbound, it’s basically used up all its soil and there is no where for the water to be stored. Gently untangle the roots and move up a pot size. Fill your pot with quality potting mix and nestle that plant into its new home. Maybe you just shaved off an extra watering.

When we do get a spell of rain, rejoice! Factor that rainfall into your 3 days of watering. Put your thankful vibes out into the universe so we get more of the precious rain and remember, fall is a short (loooong) few months away. Hang in there.

~The Happy Gardener, Lisa Mulroy