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Watering Plant Leaves: Everything You Should Know

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Does watering plants help plants? We’ve all heard about the importance of watering indoor plants’ roots. But what about watering the leaves?. 

Watering plant leaves helps decrease the plants’ temperature. Like misting, pouring water over plant leaves helps cool the plant, clean the leaves and minimize evapotranspiration. This reduces the frequency of watering by reducing water loss to the atmosphere.

Watering plants’ leaves also help clean any dust particles on them. However, don’t use hot water for watering, as it may severely harm your plant and kill its cells. 

The cleaner leaves are more exposed to the sunlight, making it easier to perform photosynthesis and produce food for plants.

Although watering the leaves doesn’t directly affect plant growth.  Keep reading to know more about watering plant leaves. 

Does Watering Plant Leaves Help?

Watering Potted plant leaves

Watering leaves help decrease the temperature, which reduces transpiration, and it helps keep the plants fully hydrated.

Scientists explain that the reason for this is that spraying water on the leaves creates a layer of air around them, and this layer of air helps decrease the temperature, which is why there is a decline in evaporation. 

Many insects like butterflies, moths, and caterpillars damage plant leaves severely by eating them off. Watering the leaves daily or every two or more days helps keep those harmful insects off the leaves.

If the plant leaves’ health is left unchecked, the breathing of plants will be tremendously affected. In addition, after staying on the leaves for some time, the insects start to lay eggs and reproduce, and I guess you would know what it means.

Likely, the plant may eventually die after constantly deteriorating leaf health. However, there are many more reasons why watering plant leaves keep the plants alive.

There are many factors in how you can do that without overwatering it. If the leaf is left unchecked, the dust particles and small debris will take over the leaf.

This will make things harder as the dust particles might block the small pores of the leaf called Stomata. This will block the incoming useful gasses and the plant might die.

When applying water to my plants, I use a cost-effective and durable watering can I got on amazon which makes watering fun and easy without making a mess. You can find it by clicking here.

MyLifeUNIT Plastic Watering Can

How Often Should you Water Plant Leaves?

The amount varies from plant to plant. But remember one thing, try watering the plant leaves when they seem to need it, not on a fixed time daily.

It depends on the plant you have. Many plants require relatively less water, and many plants require more. 

If you have a plant that needs more water, you should consider doing it after every 4 to 6 days.

Plants require approximately 3 to 4 weeks to get used to their surroundings. Therefore, this is the time to track the progress and respond to getting watered often or not so often.

People say that they tried watering their plant leaves at a fixed time daily, but it did not turn out as they expected. The reason is that they might not need the water you use daily.

Don’t get disappointed, it is not an easy thing to learn, it takes time. Making mistakes to learn new, does not have to be your motivation.

Because we are here to help you seek out your problems, try keeping your plant leaves as healthy as possible because they are the only show off of your plant.

Watering Plant Leaves

How to Apply Water to Plant Leaves:

The first and foremost thing to consider is to don’t use hot water for watering, as it may severely harm your plant and kill its cells. Dip your finger in, to find out.

You can use a spray to water your plant leaves. It is quite an easy task, and you must have seen many people doing it to their home plants, which are relatively smaller in size.

Using the spray for watering is no rocket science, but be careful not to leave the leaves wet for long, as some diseases can develop into them, diseases that require moist places to grow.

Other than spraying, you can also pour water on the leaves, but be careful not to throw a lot of water at once, because it may damage the leaves.

Leaves don’t require much water, they just need it to keep themselves clean and sometimes for the purpose of oxygen from H2O. 

Try using the remaining water on the plant roots, as it will eventually benefit the leaves and will help keep the leaves hydrated.

Applying Water By Misting

Misting can provide benefits such as cooling, plant hydration through humidity, and soil hydration. 

Cooling occurs similarly to when the plant leaves sweat.

See our article on what causes plant leaves to sweat.

Mist should be applied both to the top and underside of plant leaves during early mornings between 7 am and 9 am and on evenings after 5 pm. This is because the stomata are open during these times, which allows water to readily absorb into the plant.

The Geniani portable humidifier from amazon provides the ideal environmental humidity for healthy plant growth. You can find it by clicking here.

geniani portable humidifier

Placing Plants in the Rain

Placing plants in the rain will allow the plant leaves to be watered by the pouring rain. There are many benefits of using rain to water plants whether it is applied to the leaves or directly to the soil.

Rainwater when used to water plants, will provide nitrogen in the form of nitrates which plants use to produce green leafy foliage.

Do Leaves Grow Bigger When Watered Directly?

Leaves will not grow bigger when watered directly. What causes leaves to grow bigger is the total amount of nutrients the plant gets from the soil which is then transferred to the leaves as the plant matures. If you want your plants to get bigger, make sure they have enough light, fertilizer, and water.

A plant having adequate light, planted into nutrient-rich soil will tend to produce larger and healthier leaves. 

Watering the plant will help unlock the nutrients from the soil which the plant could use to produce larger leaves.

Can You Add Fertilizer When Watering Leaves?

Fertilizer can be added to the water before watering leaves. The idea behind this is that it helps the plant absorb more nutrients, this time from the leaves in addition to the soil. This in turn increases the size of leaves.

The downside to adding fertilizer when watering is that if you do not know how much fertilizer to add, you may end up over-fertilizing and causing other problems such as leaf burn.

You should always follow the recommended dosage when applying fertilizer to your plants.

What we recommend is reducing the fertilizer dosage by half when applying to plant leaves because this is an easy method for supplying fertilizer to the plant as it is quickly absorbed by the leaves via the stomata.

See our detailed post on adding fertilizer when misting which explains how to add fertilizer in such applications and the benefits that come with it.

The Disadvantage of Watering Plant Leaves

When watering plant leaves in some cases where the plant foliage is dense the water will hit the leaves but it may not ever hit the soil if you are watering a potted plant.

Most of the water will run off the leaves and just cause a mess. If this is the case you should consider misting as it can prove more effective especially if the plant is indoors.

In addition, there are some plants that just should not be watered in such a manner because the leaves may start to develop leaf rot and fungal spots.

Plants Whose Leaves Should Not be Watered:

Water isn’t always the priority of all plants. Some like to go against the trend. There are some plants that do not appreciate their leaves being watered, or should I say, overly watered.

We will go through those houseplants that don’t like moist leaves. Plants like Orchids, African Violet, Snake plants, and many more are on the list.

1. Orchids:

Orchids are the kind of plants that have huge and expanded leaves. They tend to avoid direct exposure to the sunlight and standing(still) water.

It is believed that Orchids often grow upside down, decreasing the chance of water getting stuck in the core of the plant. That’s why you should take care of the plant, that water doesn’t reach its core.

2. Snake Plants:

These plants don’t mind at all. They are not the “getting angry at being ignored” type. Snake plants can live happily, even if you don’t water them for literal weeks.

Another interesting thing about them is that they even work as air-purifiers for your house, which makes them appealing right?

3. African Violets:

These beautiful plants can make ends meet with such low resources. They require quite a little water, only for the purpose of moisture.

Watering them too much makes them vulnerable to pathogens like Crown Rots or Root Rots. African violets are also sensitive to cold water places, so try keeping them warm.

4. Pothos:

You will see plants like these in washrooms or office rooms. They are very office friendly and require very little care. They just need water to keep going and do not bother the owners with too many demands.

Consider watering these plants once every one to two weeks.

Best Time to Water Plant Leaves:

Early mornings from 6 a.m to 8 a.m and late evenings are ideal times for these plant leaves to be watered.

The leaves tend to dry quickly during the course of the day. The rate at which water is removed from the plant is accelerated by high winds and hot sun which is experienced between the morning and evening periods.

Is Direct Leaf Watering or Misting Better Plants?

Direct leaf watering is good and beneficial for the short term, as plants can also absorb water from their leaves, but it is not ideal.

Plants usually receive the bulk of water from their roots, as it is the safest bet. Because, sometimes due to humidity, the water may get condensed on the leaf surface, and surface water can find its way inside the plant.

Alternative to Watering Plant Leaves

One easy alternative to watering plant leaves is bottom watering. Bottom watering is the process of applying water to the bottom of a plant.

The plant is placed into a shallow water bath and left to sit for 15 to 20 minutes. This time frame is enough for the water to be absorbed into the entire mass of the soil. 

By having all the soil in the pot moist the plant will have a greater amount of nutrients available as the water will liberate the nutrients from the entire soil structure.

Additionally, this encourages the plant to grow a larger and healthier root system which in turn results in an overall healthier plant.


Overall, watering plant leaves is proven beneficial and healthy for the plants. It helps keep the leaf alive and shining. By doing so, you keep the leaf and plant at low risk of getting infected with any kind of disease.

But, as I always say, “excess of anything is bad“. Try not to overwater the plants, because as you read above, many plants don’t prefer lots of water, it may be dangerous for them. Thanks

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