How To Water Container Plants


Planting in containers allows you to grow flowers or vegetables in areas where traditional garden beds aren't feasible. Growing in containers is versatile, as plants can be grown outdoors in patios, hanging from the eaves or indoors on the windowsill. Whether you grow in plastic, wood or clay containers, proper watering is vital if the plants are to thrive. The soil in containers dries out much faster than it does in a garden bed, and that may quickly stress plants if they are not watered.

Step 1

Check the bottom of the container for drainage holes. Remove the plant from the container and drill a ¼ inch diameter hole in the bottom if no drainage holes are provided. Lack of drainage causes waterlogged soil and leads to plant death.

Step 2

Stick your finger in the soil and check soil moisture daily for outdoor plants, or every three to five days for indoor containers. Irrigation is needed when the top inch of soil begins to feel dry.

Step 3

Water from the top of the pot until the excess water begins draining from the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot, ensuring that the soil is moistened evenly throughout. Empty the drip tray, if applicable, after watering.

Step 4

Irrigate at the base of the plants and avoid wetting the foliage, especially with indoor plants that may take longer to dry. Wet foliage makes plants more susceptible to fungal infestations.

Step 5

Check soil moisture in outdoor containers twice daily during hot, dry periods. Water a second time in late afternoon if the soil is beginning to feel dry.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not place gravel or any other materials inside the pot. These items do not aid drainage and may inhibit it. If something is needed to prevent the soil from washing out of the drainage holes, cover the holes with mesh or landscaping fabric.

Things You'll Need

  • Drill


  • Iowa State University Extension: Container Vegetable Gardening
  • Colorado State University Extension: Guidelines for Watering Indoor Plants
Keywords: watering container plants, indoor plant water, irrigating potted plants

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.