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I see a number of posts here about basil, and it is a useful and rewarding thing to grow, but reading the other day I was told 'Water basil in the mornings, it hates having its feet wet overnight'. This was news to me, I have always kept it generally fairly damp, and I am wondering if anyone else has heard this, and what is the effect of watering late in the day?
 
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I see a number of posts here about basil, and it is a useful and rewarding thing to grow, but reading the other day I was told 'Water basil in the mornings, it hates having its feet wet overnight'. This was news to me, I have always kept it generally fairly damp, and I am wondering if anyone else has heard this, and what is the effect of watering late in the day?
Watering any plant late in the day might cause fungal problems because of the possibility of the foliage not drying.
 
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Such advice must always be put in context. If one is growing Basil (Ocimum basilicum) in a relatively cool, humid climate, that extra precaution might be advisable. In hotter, and especially in drier regions, it would make much less difference.
Indeed, in drier climates, evening water is often recommended in order to reduce evaporation loss.
 
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Completely disagree with above statement. I live in a hot dry climate and watering anything late in the afternoon is not a good thing. In the cooler temps of winter it is even worse. But if one waters early enough so that the moisture evaporates from the foliage it is not so harmful. But it is best to not get the foliage wet at all, anytime. Let rain do that.
 

Meadowlark

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My climate in summers is hot and dry. It is critical that Basil here be "loaded" with water going into the hottest part of the day...not evening/dark. Basil will droop badly in the heat
basil.JPG
if it doesn't have adequate moisture. It lacks a woody structure to support itself and relies on a constant supply of moisture in the soil. Water it early here.
 
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As I said earlier, preferred watering times will vary by region. And in truth, it often ends up not being so crucial. Damp foliage is just on element to consider for whether a fungal disease will progress or not. After all, it does rain at night,
and almost all the moisture put in the ground the night before will still be there for the plants in the morning.

Where I live there is no summer rainfall and evening irrigation is quite common. Nobody would complain or worry about it raining at night, just as long as it rains sometime. In January, we resemble Portland, in July you would think you were in Phoenix.

So hot and dry can mean different things to different people. I consider eastern Texas to be hot and humid.
Regarding precipitation, parts of eastern Texas may be somewhat dry, at least in a dry year, but usually there is rainfall throughout the year, and it is almost always humid in the warm season.

Of course, all things are relative. I really don't want to start an argument about how hot is hot and how dry is dry.
 
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Yes it does rain at night and a few nights of rain is not a good thing. Late afternoon/nighttime watering on anything from lawn grass to vegetable plants leads to plant pathogens and this is not about how hot it is or how dry it is. It is about moisture on the foliage. The faster moisture is eliminated from foliage the healthier a plant will stay and moisture just does not evaporate as fast at night as it does in the daytime. I am just talking about a plants susceptibility to disease and not about a plants time requirements for water as @Meadowlark has alluded although a tomato plant staying wet is a prime example of NOT watering late.
 
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They specifically said "Hates having wet feet" as though it is water on the roots that counts, not on the foliage. Do you think that might make it colder on the roots? Is it then they need air to the roots?
It was in a seedsman's publication, they are usually fairly reliable, they want people to have good experiences of their seed. And it was stated as a fact, not 'Some people say'.
 
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They specifically said "Hates having wet feet" as though it is water on the roots that counts, not on the foliage. Do you think that might make it colder on the roots? Is it then they need air to the roots?
It was in a seedsman's publication, they are usually fairly reliable, they want people to have good experiences of their seed. And it was stated as a fact, not 'Some people say'.
Wet feet means having the soil STAY too wet. This applies to just about all herbs and vegetables. As far as temperatures are concerned anything below about 50F is NOT conducive to good growth. Soil temps should be above 60F. All things considered basil is fairly easy to grow and maintain. As long as your temps are OK, the soil has good drainage, doesn't stay saturated, you don't overhead water and water in the AM hours your basil should be fine.
 
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"Hates having wet feet" just sounds like a colourful way of saying "provide good drainage".
Yes it does rain at night and a few nights of rain is not a good thing. Late afternoon/nighttime watering on anything from lawn grass to vegetable plants leads to plant pathogens and this is not about how hot it is or how dry it is. It is about moisture on the foliage. The faster moisture is eliminated from foliage the healthier a plant will stay and moisture just does not evaporate as fast at night as it does in the daytime.
No, fungal pathogen susceptibility has a lot to do with temperature and humidity.

Also, the risk of having wet leaves will depend on the both the plant species and pathogen species involve, as well as host of other variables. There are many plants form wet climates that are well-adapted to having wet foliage.

There also fungal pathogens that will only grow in dry conditions.
For example, many forms of Powdery Mildew develop in humid but dry conditions, and can be prevented by water on foliage.

The variables are complex, and there are absolute generalities.

When wet foliage is a concern there are multiple methods of preventing it. Mulched soil can reduce spore exposure and there are a number of irrigation methods that pally water directly to the soil.
 

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... I am just talking about a plants susceptibility to disease and not about a plants time requirements for water as @Meadowlark has alluded

I agree with the general rule about susceptibility to disease...but the question specifically on Basil is much more than that.

I've experienced it...water at night in our summers and the plant cannot stand up to the next day's sun. Water basil in the morning to avoid the problem of drooping and plant damage.

"it is important that you water in the morning."

https://www.allaboutgardening.com/water-basil/#:~:text=Basil%2

"Always water basil in the morning to charge the plant with water before a potentially hot and dry day ahead"
 

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