Now that you’ve received your Smarty Plants, you will need to water them for at least one month no matter if you leave your plants in the pots or if you plant them in the ground. This article answers the who, what, where, when, why, and how of watering any plant – native or exotic.


  Who needs water depends upon the plant’s origin – native or exotic – and whether or not you plant the plant in the ground or leave it in the pot.  Because native plants are adapted to their environment, native plants in the ground only need to be watered until their root system is established, and then Mother Nature will take care of all of the plant’s watering needs.  Exotics planted in the ground whose native water requirement is greater than where they are planted will need to be regularly watered even after they become established.  However, if the exotic’s native rain requirements are similar or less than the rainfall of where it is planted, then the exotic won’t need anymore water after the root system is established. 

  If you leave the plant in the pot, no matter if it is native or exotic, it will need to be watered at least 3 times/week because the soil dries out a lot faster in the pot than in the ground so even for natives, rainfall isn’t enough.


You should use a clean water source for your plants as contaminated water could contain harmful pathogens, minerals, etc. that could make your plant sick.  Therefore, city water or filtered well water is a good source because the water is treated thus it is clean.  


No matter if the plant is native or exotic, in the ground or in the pot, you always water the soil (not the leaves) because overwatering the leaves can cause funguses.  Make sure to water the root system, so water around the stem of the plant because that is where the majority of the roots are located.  


  Watering should take place 3 times/week on average (drought tolerant plants can be watered less frequently whereas plants that like wet soil might need to be watered daily) at evenly spaced intervals.  For instance, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday or every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday.  It is best to water in the morning so that the plant has a sufficient amount of water to absorb during the hottest part of the day.   

  If it rains at least an inch during the day, you do not need to water the plant as the rainfall will be sufficient to last the plant until the next watering. 

  You can stop watering natives and drought tolerant exotics in the ground when the plant’s root system is established.  You know that the root system is established when you see a lot of new growth on the plant. Normally it will take at least one month for the root system to establish so plan on watering for at least one month after you receive your Smarty Plant. 


  The most important reason to water your plants is to keep them alive.  The second reason is to keep them looking beautiful as a thirsty plant, will display its thirst visually by dry leaves thus it won’t look very good.  Third, watering increases the growth rate of the plant so if you want your plants to be a certain size by a certain date, then regular watering will allow you to obtain the ideal size as quickly as possible. 


It is best to water your plants with a water pitcher as the water is evenly distributed on the soil.  But, watering a larger quantity of plants or larger plants might make using a water pitcher unpractical thus a hose will do.  

  How much water you use depends upon the size of the plant (the bigger the plant the more water it needs), how the soil drains (not well drained soils require less water), and the water requirement of the plant (i.e. natives only need water until they are established).  If you are using a water pitcher you should water with the following quantity of water:

  • 1 gallon/6″ – 1/4 gallon
  • 3 gallon/10″- 1/2 gallon
  • 7 gallon/14″ – 1 gallon
  • 15 gallon/17″ – 1 1/2 gallon
  •  25 gallon/21″ – 2 gallons

If you are using the hose, water and count to the following number before moving on to the next plant:

  • 1 gallon/6″ – 10
  • 3 gallon/10″-  20
  • 7 gallon/14″ – 30
  • 15 gallon/17″ – 40
  •  25 gallon/21″ – 50

No matter how you water your plants, the goal is to saturate the root system so the soil should be wet after watering.