How often should you water plants in containers?
The only answer that can be given to “How often should you water plants in containers?” is as and when required. It will very much depend on the type of plant, compost, size and type of container, position, time of year and weather conditions. All these factors will determine how often you should water your container.
The most important points to bear in mind though, are as follows:
- The wind is much worse than the sun for drying plants out. Bear this in mind during the winter. If there is a mild & windy spell of weather during winter, this has the potential to dry containers out, particularly if planted with evergreen shrubs.
- Rain is not enough. Very often people will think that the rain is enough to water their containers. Unfortunately this is not the case, especially if the weather is windy or the container is in a sheltered position against a fence or wall where the rain doesn’t really reach.
The Best Way to Water
Focus on the root zone. Remember that it’s the roots that need access to water, not the leaves. Wetting the foliage is a waste of water and can promote the spread of disease.
Water only when needed.
Automatic timers are especially useful; just make sure to watch the weather, and reduce frequency when rainfall is abundant. Too much water can be just as damaging to plants as too little.
Water deeply and thoroughly.
Lawns and annuals concentrate their roots in the top 6″ of soil; for perennials, shrubs and trees, it’s the top 12″. In heavy soil, it may take hours for water to percolate down 6-12″. Use your finger or a shovel to check the progress.
Water in the morning.
If you do get moisture on the leaves, this gives them time to dry out. It’s much more difficult for plant diseases to get a foothold when the foliage is dry.
Mulch reduces surface runoff and slows evaporation from the soil.
Use the right tool. For efficient watering at the root zone, use a soaker hose or an even more precise drip irrigation system instead of a sprinkler.