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How Long Can Seedlings Go Without Water

A home vegetable garden can be a great hobby to explore. Who wouldn’t love being able to grow and eat produce from their very own garden? Being able to make a recipe around the food you’re growing is a fun way to keep the hobby going. But what happens when you go on vacation during the early stages of your garden? How long can seedlings go without water?

Seedlings can go without water for ten days, assuming they’re at least 50 days old. An older seedling around 100-150 days old can go about 50 days, and a seedling that is at least a year old can go without water for about 150 days.

Now that you know that how long seedlings can go without water is dependent on how long ago you planted them, you may be wondering about your brand-new seedlings (or plants that were planted fewer than 50 days ago). 

How long can a new seedling go without water?

New seedlings can’t store water for long, so constantly wet soil is a must. A new seedling, a seedling that has been planted for less than 50 days, can go without water for less than one day. Since they can’t go very long, this could mean watering a few times per day, not just when you water the rest of your plants. 

It can depend on what you’re growing and how quickly it dries out. Figuring out exactly how much your plant needs is as simple as taking your finger and sinking it into the soil about an inch. If you do this and the soil is dry, it’s time to water. If the soil is pretty soggy, you’re actually overwatering, which can quickly kill a plant.

Now, if you have sprouted seedlings, make sure to take their color into account. If they are yellow, that can mean that they have been overwatered. Suppose you find that you have pale seedlings, which could mean that they are underwatered. Knowing what to look for can help you save your seedlings before it’s too late.

Should I water my seedlings every day?

No. You should not water your plants daily. Overwatering is just as harmful to a plant as underwatering. Most seedlings need to be watered about once a week, depending on the type of plant and the amount of rainfall the plant has incurred. A good rule of thumb is to water deeply but less often. 

Watering plants deeply means that on a weekly basis, you should give all your plants a thorough watering to ensure they get all that they need for the entire week. A quick watering can deprive them of what they need to grow well.

Plants don’t need daily watering. Instead, water deeply but less frequently. Deep waterings allow the water to seep beneath the roots, encouraging the roots to grow downward.

What happens if you don’t water a seedling enough?

Water is one the very most important nutrients any plant needs. If a seedling does not get the appropriate amount of water, it can actually shrink, inherently affecting the plant’s overall growth. As expected, if a plant goes too long without water, it will eventually shrivel up and die. Underwatering or overwatering is one of the fastest ways a plant can die.

Should I water my seedlings in the evening?

You should water your seedlings in the morning if possible. Morning watering allows the plant to dry before the sun goes down in the evening. Whereas if you were to water at night, there would be slight to no possibility of the plant drying as the sun will either be setting soon or may have already set depending on what time you are watering. Watering at night can lead to root rot, unwanted insects, fungi growth, etc. 

What time of day should seedlings be watered?

Seedlings should be watered between six and nine in the morning when possible. There is usually less or no humidity during this time range, so less of the water you use on your plant ends up in the air. Watering during these hours will ensure that your plants and seedlings are getting all the nutrients they need to become big and strong.

How do you make seedlings grow stronger?

To make your seedlings grow more substantial, you can put a fan next to them to give them a breeze that they may be missing from the surrounding climate. Using a small fan is essential; you don’t want to provide them with too much of a draft that the plant flops over. 

Over time, gardeners have found that using a small fan for a couple of hours can help improve more substantial growth overall. This is not a cure by any means. However, utilizing a small fan can be a good option if you are actively trying to prepare your plants for a few days without maintenance. If you happen to be going on a trip or somehow know you won’t be able to water your plants for a few days, using this method can help combat new seedlings going without water for too long.

Final Thoughts

If you tend to new seedlings, you should be watering them multiple times a day. However, the older the seedlings get, the longer they can go without water. So be sure to keep an eye on the date you first planted your seedlings so you can accurately track what they need in regards to moisture.

To ensure that your plants grow strong, you can water them first thing in the morning. Watering them first thing helps keep the water you give them from adding to the humidity in the air along with any excess moisture. While you can water in the evening, it is recommended to avoid doing that when possible so that the soil can dry from the sunlight and remove any possibility of overwatering. Additionally, preventing watering at night can reduce the chances of your plant enduring root rot, unwanted insects, or fungi growth.

Whether you’re a beginner gardener or a veteran veggie grower, making sure to water in the morning with the appropriate amount of water can help not only keep your plants alive but to help them prosper. Keep an eye on their age to know just how long they can go with water. If you are going on a trip or know you won’t be able to tend to them for a while, having this info will help you keep them growing the way they should and the way you intended.