Water vapor in the stratosphere makes a significant contribution to global climate change by altering the radiative energy budget of the Earth’s climate system. Although many previous studies have shown that the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) has significant effects on the water vapor content of the stratosphere in terms of the annual or seasonal mean, a comprehensive analysis of the seasonal evolution of these effects is still required. Using reanalysis data and satellite observations, we carried out a composite analysis of the seasonal evolution of stratospheric water vapor during El Niño/La Niña peaks in winter and decays in spring. The ENSO has a distinct hysteresis effect on water vapor in the tropical lower stratosphere. The El Niño/La Niña events moisten/dry out the tropical lower stratosphere in both winter and spring, whereas this wetting/dehydration effect is more significant in spring. This pattern is due to a warmer temperature in the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere during the El Niño spring phase, which causes more water vapor to enter the stratosphere, and vice versa for La Niña. This delayed warming/cooling in the lower stratosphere during the El Niño/La Niña decay in spring leads to the seasonal evolution of ENSO effects on water vapor in the lower stratosphere.