How to Water a Container Garden


Growing flowers and vegetables in container gardens makes it possible to garden in nearly any location, regardless of the soil conditions. Placed on decks and balconies, container gardens brighten an entertainment area and allow you to tend your plants easily. The type of plants you grow, the size of the container, the growing medium used, the location of the planter and weather conditions all affect the amount of water your plants require. But, there are some basic rules of thumb to keeping your plants well watered and healthy.

Step 1

Group plants according to their water needs so that each container garden is comprised of plants with similar needs. Although many plants prefer soil that dries slightly between waterings, some prefer evenly-moist soil while others prefer drier soil. Determine the soil requirements for your specific planter and aim to maintain that level of moisture.

Step 2

Water the container until water runs free of the drainage holes in the bottom of the container when you plant the container. This saturates all the soil in the container giving you a starting point to determining your container garden's need for water. Note the day on a note pad or calendar.

Step 3

Check the soil daily by inserting your finger into the soil to a depth of 1 inch. If soil feels dry at this level, a container garden with plants that prefer average soil requires water. For moisture-loving plants, water when the surface of the soil feels dry. For those that prefer drier soil, use a depth of 2 inches as your guide. Water until water runs free from the bottom of the pot. Note the day you watered your container.

Step 4

Repeat the procedure for determining if soil requires water and note the new date on the calendar. Typically, a pattern develops quickly. Your container garden may require watering weekly, daily or every few days. Establish a routine for watering your plants.

Step 5

Observe for any signs of wilting or increased water needs. Soil dries quickly during hot dry spells, during periods of active growth and as your plants mature. Adjust your watering to meet the changing needs of your container garden.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering can/hose
  • Note pad
  • Pencil
  • Calender


  • University of Illinois Extension: Successful Container Gardens
  • Colorado State University Extension: Container Gardening

Who Can Help

  • University of Illinois Extension: Tips for Great Looking Container Gardens
  • TAMU Floriculture Program: Container Gardens
Keywords: water container gardens, water potted plants, water raised beds

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.