How to Water in Plastic Pots


Readily available plastic pots provide a lightweight alternative to more expensive clay pots. Plastic isn't as porous as clay, allowing it to retain moisture longer, which is both a benefit and a problem. While the soil in the pot doesn't dry out as quickly, it is also more prone to overwatering and the soggy soil conditions that lead to plant rot and disease. Watering the plastic pots correctly helps prevent any issues so only the benefits are experienced.

Step 1

Elevate the pot in its drip tray so that excess water drains freely from the pot. Place two or three small stones under the pot or use narrow blocks of wood. Do not block the drainage holes in the pot with the elevating material.

Step 2

Stick your finger into the soil near the center of the pot or within an inch of the plant's stem. Water when the top 1 inch of soil begins to feel dry to the touch.

Step 3

Water from the top of the pot until the moisture drains freely from the bottom. Empty the drip tray under the pot once the soil finishes draining, or within one hour.

Step 4

Check the moisture level in the pots once a day for outdoor plants and every three to five days for indoor plants. Outdoor plastic pots dry more quickly than indoor pots, especially if the pot is darker in color.

Tips and Warnings

  • Cactus, succulents and other plants that need dry soil tend to rot in plastic. Use clay pots for these plants.

Things You'll Need

  • Rocks
  • Water


  • University of Nebraska Extension: Choosing Clay or Plastic Pots
  • Texas A&M Extension: Vegetable Gardening in Containers
Keywords: watering plastic pots, container plant care, irrigating plant pots

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.