How to Water Planter Pots


Planters full of brightly colored flowers or fresh vegetables allow you to bring your garden to areas where traditional in-ground beds aren't possible, such as patios, decks and walkways. Unlike a bed, plants in planter pots rely on you for all their cultural needs, particularly water. Planters dry out much more quickly than beds, especially during hot dry weather. Clay and wooden planters dry out the quickest, as these materials wick moisture out of the soil, but even plastic pots need regular watering if the plants are to remain healthy.

Step 1

Place plants in planters that have at least one drainage hole in the bottom, otherwise the soil may become waterlogged. Place small pots in drip trays. Elevate large planters off the ground by at least one inch by placing them on top of small stones or bricks, to allow the water to drain freely from the bottom.

Step 2

Check the soil moisture in the planter each morning in spring, early summer and fall. During the heat of summer, check the moisture in the planters once in the morning and again at late afternoon. Stick your finger into the soil at the top of the planter and water when it begins to feel dry.

Step 3

Water at the base of the plants in the pot. Do not water the foliage, as this makes the leaves susceptible to disease, according to Texas A&M Agrilife Extension. Water until the excess moisture begins to drain freely from the bottom of the pot to ensure that the soil is equally moistened throughout.

Step 4

Empty the drip tray on small pots, if applicable. Standing water can cause root rot and is also a breeding ground for insects and disease.

Step 5

Water in the morning unless additional irrigation is necessary during hot, dry weather. Wet foliage has a chance to dry before nightfall when plants are irrigated early in the day, which prevents many fungal diseases.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not put pebbles or stones in the bottoms of pots, since this does not aid drainage. If you are concerned about soil washing out of the drainage holes, cover the drainage holes with landscaping fabric instead of pebbles.

Things You'll Need

  • Drip tray
  • Bricks


  • Texas A&M Extension: Vegetable Gardening In Containers
  • Clemson Extension: Hanging Baskets and Window Boxes
Keywords: watering planter pots, container garden irrigation, potted plant care

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.