How Much Water Do Kale Plants Need To Thrive?

The perfect kale leaf is the result of a combination of factors. Chief among these is watering kales. Not too much. Never too little. But just enough to broaden the leaves and make them firm. So, how much water does kale need?

As simple as that sounds, figuring out ‘how much water does kale need?’ is a struggle for not just you. 

So, how much water does kale need? According to a few gardening experts, requires 1 to 1.5 inches of water every 2 or 3 days in temperate to cold climates. It’s not the same for tropical climates.

Tropical climates are synonymous with high temperatures. And high temperatures increase the rate of evaporation which cause drooping because of thirst.

How much water does kale need?

It is a delicate dance to find that ‘how much water does kale need’ sweet spot. You have seen the sort of kale I’m about to describe if you buy farm-fresh kale from the supermarket or farmers’ market. Big, green, tender, broad, and delicious.

When watering kales, too much water can cause root rot, too little water will cause your plant to droop, and just enough water will not help your plant build a root system. As a result, kale needs a constant supply of balanced water or moisture.

Do you water kale every day?

watering kales in the garden
Kales in the garden

Before you set up a regimen for watering kales, you need to think about a few things.

Firstly, establish moisture content in the soil. Moisture is the amount of water in the soil. A simple trick is using your index finger. It’s time to get dirty-ish!

Insert your index finger into the soil up to your first knuckle. If the soil is damp, the plant is getting enough water.

You can then tell not how much water does kale need but whether they need it. If the soil appears to be dry, water it thoroughly. 

So, do you water kale every day? Depending on your needs, you do not have to water kale every day. Every 2 or 3 days is fine. Unless the weather calls for it.

Let’s say it’s abnormally hot outside and you keep getting thirsty all the time, high chances are your kale are feeling the heat too. In such cases, the soil dries up fast due to high evaporation.

Yet, watering kales is crucial for many plant processes. Without it, they cant make food and they lose their firmness and begin to droop. In extreme cases, if the crops are unattended to, they eventually die.

During hot weather, you might need to water kale every day. Extreme times call for extreme measures. But otherwise, they’ll do fine with the regular 1 to 1.5 inches every 2 to 3 days.

Maintaining the intervals protect the crops from having either too much water or overwatering.

So what is overwatering and what are the demerits?

Can kale be overwatered?

Watering kale

When answering the question ‘how much water does kale need?’, the next wonder is can it be overdone? Can kale be overwatered?

If you exceed 1 to 1.5 inches of water, you are in the zone of overwatering. Especially in temperate climates. Watering daily might do more harm than good.

Typically, plants need water for food manufacture and to stay healthy to fight off disease.

However, when too much of it is in the soil, you risk getting diseases on your kale. Kale diseases like moist environments. 

When the soil is soggy, the bacteria and fungus cause disease to thrive. They attack the roots causing rot.

When it rains, they splash onto the leaves causing powdery and downy mildews among other kale diseases.

What are some of the effects of overwatering?

While overwatering is mostly shown by diseases thriving, in many cases, underwatering displays physiologically. Let’s look at some of the signs of overwatering.

yellow kale leaves from overwatering or underwatering
Yellow kale leaves from overwatering or underwatering

You might see some yellowing in the leaves or stunted growth and wonder. Yes. That is a sign of nutrient deficiency.

When there’s too much water, the soil nutrients get diluted. Not enough is available for absorption by the plant. Lack of sufficient nitrogen causes yellowing of the leaves.

When underwatered, kale plants behave differently.

Symptoms of underwatered plants

stunted kale
Stunted kale

Underwatering is when you irrigate less frequently or use less water than kale plants need. The signs and symptoms of underwatering will appear in any of the following ways:

Kale leaves drooping

When kales experience water stress due to underwatering, the leaves droop. Watering kales is essential in keeping the leaves and stems firmly to support the weight.

Without water, the leaves and stems become weak. Hence the drooping.

Kale yellowing

Strangely, yellowing can happen in either underwatering or overwatering. Why? Because both situations make it hard for roots to absorb nutrients from the soil. When it happens, they become deficient.

While overwatering dilutes the nutrients, underwatering means there is no water to transport the nutrients into the roots for absorption.


To grow strong kale leaves, you’ll need to water them properly and in a balanced manner.

Excessive watering can cause root rot, and underwatering the plant might cause leaf drooping.

As previously said, the frequency of watering is determined by the climatic conditions in your area. However, a simple method is to water your plant when 1 inch of soil is dry. Allow extra water to run out of the hole while watering.

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