Stardew Valley Watering Guide

Watering is one of the main activities in Stardew Valley and that shouldn’t be a surprise considering this is a farm-life sim game. For those of us with 1,000 hours in the game we have every type of sprinkler system set up imaginable to water plants every day on the farm(s) in Stardew Valley and possibly some huts of helpers, it can become an afterthought.

However, there are many different nuances to watering lowers, plants, and other crops in Stardew Valley. If you’re new to the game and want to know all there is to know about what you need to water, don’t need to water, and when, you’ve come to the right place!

Let’s dive in to this full watering guide for Stardew Valley!

Stardew Valley Sprinkler Heavy Farm
Watering crops gets a lot easier in Stardew Valley once you have advanced sprinklers…also I missed a spot.

What Do You Need to Water Every Day in Stardew Valley?

The short answer is yes, most of the time you will need to water your crops every day in Stardew Valley. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part if in doubt, watering is a good idea.

When do you NOT have to water in Stardew Valley?

  • When it is raining or storming outside in the Spring, Summer, or Fall
  • The crop is fully mature – it will stay fine as long as you harvest by the last day of the season
  • The last day of the season (nothing will mature same day so those crops you mistimed the planting on are done)
  • Rice that is planted within three squares of a body of water
  • Trees – trees (and this includes fruit trees) grow on their own and require no water

Otherwise yes, you need to water your crops every day in Stardew Valley and that includes flowers, wild seeds, and seasonal forage crops. Once they’re fully developed they will stay that way until harvested or until the end of the season. If the said crop is a 2-season crop (like corn or coffee) then as long as the next season is “in-season” the crop won’t die.

However, fully grown crops that are only one season crops, if they’re not harvested by the time the seasons change then you lose them. So make sure not to slack off too much on the 28th if you’re waiting until the last minute – and don’t forget to sell those flowers on the last day of the season that the bees are using!

Will My Crops Die If I Don’t Water Them in Stardew Valley?

If you miss one day of watering your crops, they won’t just die overnight. So don’t worry. While crops that are not watered won’t grow that day (which can be a problem if you had crops set to fully mature on the very last day of the season) they won’t day if you miss just one day of watering them.

What happens if you don’t water your plants in Stardew?

As to the question of “What happens to my plants if I don’t water them?” in Stardew Valley the answer is one we tackled in our Why Are My Crops Dying in Stardew Valley article, you are okay if you miss just one day.

However, if a crop misses two days of getting watered, then it dies.

This is why watering plants is so important in Stardew Valley on days where it’s not raining. It’s also the reason that players love seeing a rainy day, because that saves a lot of time and energy since you won’t need to

Is There a Better Way to Water Plants in Stardew Valley?

Funny you should ask 🙂 If the game forced you to water plants manually through the entire game it would get very tedious and not be nearly as successful as Stardew Valley has grown to be.

So if you’re tired of the hassle of having to keep watering plants in Stardew Valley, what are your options?

The good news is that there are several systems and solutions built into the game so you won’t have to manually water every single square of crops every single non-rainy day. Because for those of us who love huge farms, that would be torture.

Some of the watering help can be found immediately while others are going to be late game strategies.

Upgrade Your Watering Can

This is an absolute necessity if you are running a file on the Beach Farm, and while the high end water cans might not be the highest priority because you get sprinklers fairly early in year one, a copper water can can still cut down on the hassle.

How do the upgraded watering cans work in Stardew Valley?

  • A copper watering can allows you to water 3 squares at once instead of 1.
  • A steel watering can allows you to water 6 squares in a straight line.
  • A gold watering can allows you to water a 3×3 square all at once
  • An iridium watering can allows you to water a 6×3 square all at once (and you want to rush for this early year 2 if you’re on the beach farm)

In addition to this, each upgrade also increases how much water your water can holds, which means less trips to visit the farm pond, river, or well for a refill.

Generally I upgrade to copper when I see some rainy days coming up so I can time it out right, and then rush the mines to get the materials needed to build quality sprinklers so I don’t really worry about bigger upgrades until later in the game when I’m just looking for stuff to spend my money on.

How much does it cost to upgrade these watering cans?

  • Copper Watering can costs 2000g and 5 copper bars
  • Steel Watering can costs 5000g and 5 iron bars
  • Gold Watering can costs 10,000g and 5 gold bars
  • Iridium Watering Can costs 25,000g and 5 iridium bars

IMPORTANT: It takes two days to upgrade a watering can in Stardew Valley, including the day you bring the watering can in for Clint to improve it. This means you need to time it so you don’t miss a day of watering your fields. A pro move is to check the TV to see when it’s going to rain the next day, water your crops in the morning, THEN immediately run to Clint’s to pay for an upgrade.

The more upgraded the watering can, the more water it holds and the larger an area it can water.

Many players just rush sprinklers, or take one or two upgrades while mostly rushing for sprinklers since these automate most watering. Which I guess is the perfect lead-in to the next way to automate watering in Stardew Valley: sprinklers.

Build Sprinklers

Sprinklers go off each morning and take care of watering those crops for the day. These are a major progression in the game, though there is a definite split in the community on sprinklers. Many people love the easy to get initial sprinklers and dot the farm with them in spring. I hate them and refuse to build any until I get to the ability to build quality sprinklers.

Stardew Valley sprinkler comparison
The perfect screenshot to compare how sprinklers work in Stardew Valley. Picture shows regular sprinkler, quality sprinkler, and then an iridium sprinkler at the bottom.

Sprinklers (available at level 2 farming)

Requires: Copper Bar + Iron Bar

So confession: I hate regular sprinklers and never build them. I’d rather use that copper for a water can upgrade, copper pickaxe, and building furnaces to produce more metal bars. The iron bars are needed for A regular sprinkler covers four spaces – one in each cardinal direction.

This leaves bare spots if you’re tilling all the land around sprinklers so you’ll need to water the additional spaces diagonal from the sprinkler or not plant in those spaces if you want to keep all the watering automatic.

I’m personally not a fan, but some players leap at the chance to get these out which means you only have to reach the ice levels of the mines versus the lava levels to create them since this is where iron consistently begins showing up.

Quality Sprinklers (available at level 6 farming)

Requires: Iron Bar + Gold Bar + Refined Quartz

Quality sprinklers are where the automated watering in Stardew Valley really begins to take off. This covers every space touching the sprinkler, so each quality sprinkler can water 8 spaces on a daily basis. Usually these start getting made in late spring and can spread widely on the farm in summer.

Life is much easier when 20 quality sprinklers takes care of 160 planted crops every single day.

Iridium Sprinklers (available at level 9 farming)

Requires: Iridium Bar + Gold Bar + Battery Pack

You have to go a bit far into the late game of several plots in Stardew Valley to get to the point where you can survive Skull Cavern and get the materials you need to make them, but iridium sprinklers are amazing and cover a huge amount of ground, covering a full 24 spots out from the sprinkler, allowing them to cover three times the ground as a quality sprinkler.

When you can mass produce these, you basically don’t need to worry about the watering can anymore.

Rain Totems

Rain totems are definitely a late game feature, as they are expensive to create and require multiple skill upgrades to make the ingredients to make a rain totem. A rain totem sets the weather for the next day to rainy, assuming it is not the a festival or the 1st day of the season. These days can’t be forced into rain.

Creating a rain totem in Stardew Valley requires: 1 hardwood, 1 truffle oil, and 5 pine tar.

This is in addition to having a full Level 9 in foraging in order to get the recipe to craft these in the first place.

I’m not sure this is easier than having sprinklers throughout the farms, but spamming rain totems is a viable option to keep the crops watered without having to spend all that energy doing it by hand with the watering can.

Do I Need To Water (Blank) in Stardew Valley?

Players seem to have a lot of questions about watering various things in Stardew Valley. Here’s a section of the watering guide trying to hit the main questions or topics that need a little bit more explaining than a simple FAQ (although that’s further down, too!).

Do I Need to Water Trees in Stardew Valley?

Trees do not need water to grow in Stardew Valley. This is true for the basic trees like oaks and pines, for mahogany trees, and for fruit trees. As our Stardew Valley Fruit Tree Guide explains, the biggest thing a fruit tree needs is space until it grows to full size. It doesn’t need water or anything else.

This means not only is there no need to watering trees in Stardew Valley but there’s also no positive benefit to doing it. The trees don’t grow faster or anything like that.

Do I Need to Keep Watering Flowers in Stardew Valley?

You do not need to keep watering flowers in Stardew Valley after they are fully grown. To make sure they reach adulthood daily watering will be required, but once the Blue Jazz, Tulip, or other flowers are fully grown there is no need to continue watering them.

Keep in mind that they will die out of season and so if you want better than wild honey you will need to plant new flowers each season.

Do I Need to Water Plants in the Greenhouse in Stardew Valley?

Yes. For plants to grow in the greenhouse they will need to be watered. Sprinklers do work inside of a greenhouse so an optimized setup like this one:

Stardew Valley Optimal Greenhouse Layout
Three iridium sprinklers definitely get the job done!

Until you have a sprinkler setup in the greenhouse you will need to make sure you do water them until that setup is complete and running smoothly.

Do You Have to Keep Watering Cranberries or Strawberries?

Yes. The plants mature to provide fruit. If you want them to keep producing fruit instead of dying, then you need to make sure these plants continue to get watered over time.

Stardew Valley Watering FAQ

What does the Greenhouse do in Stardew Valley?

The Greenhouse allows the planting of any crops from any season, regardless of the outside season. You can set up sprinklers, seed makers, garden pots, kegs, and even fruit trees. While the greenhouse is versatile, most players start by growing a lot of starfruit in the winter before eventually switching to ancient fruit.

Do you need to water the trees when you grow them in the greenhouse?

No. Trees do not need to be watered in this game, and that means that whether outside or in the greenhouse you don’t need to water or care for them. As long as they have the right space, they will grow.

Can Junimos from the Junimo Hut water cops in Stardew Valley?

Unfortunately no, they can only harvest. The Junimos harvest crops but they don’t water them. However, this can make a sprinkler + Junimo Hut combination really strong.

Do you need to water crops on a rainy day?

No. Crops count as watered when it is raining or storming. However, if you are growing winter forage seeds snowy days do not count as watering the crops.

Stardew Valley Watering Guide: In Summary

While learning the basics can be a bit overwhelming at first, and a lot of the early days are spent with very basic tasks that can be simplified, outsourced, or automated down the line to some extent, it doesn’t take long to get into the full groove of the game and get your farm up and moving.

While watering is a big task early on in the game, especially as you are leveling up non-existent skills, scrapping for every gold piece, and creating giant fields of crops while praying every single day for rain…and hoping there’s no shortage of spring onions for energies in the southernmost section of the Cinder Sap Forest.

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