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Watering Systems for Container Gardens

By Elton Dunn ; Updated September 21, 2017
In the summer, container gardens need daily watering.

Container gardens can exhaust the gardener in the heat of summer, often requiring daily or twice-daily watering. Lawn sprinklers can be automated to hydrate the grass on a hot day and you can do something similar for a container garden. Make your own watering system on a budget or purchase a system from a garden center or nursery near you.


Container gardens dry out faster than gardens in the ground. This can leave flowers and leafy greens to wilt and vegetables to develop poorly due to lack of one of the main nutrients--water. Watering systems help gardeners care for container plants all year round, but are especially valuable in the heat of summer.

Bottle Systems

Gardeners can purchase or create bottle systems to irrigate container gardens. To make a simple (and inexpensive) bottle system, cut the bottom off a small water bottle and unscrew it cap. Hammer a nail into the cap to create a hole, or use a drill. Place the cap back on the bottle and bury the top 2 inches of the bottle in your planter so the cap is buried and the cut bottom sticks out. Fill the bottle with water, which will drip out the hole and keep the plant irrigated. Purchase decorate plant watering globes for a more elegant look.

Drip Irrigation

Gardeners can use their drip irrigation tubing to cover container gardens, too. This works best for container gardens on a patio or in the yard, since drip irrigation systems are intended for outdoor use only. Run the tubing along the back of the planter and over the soil. Puncture the tubing and slip in a small emitter to include container gardens on your drip irrigation line.


Container garden watering systems are not fully automated. Gardeners should still monitor their systems to ensure the plant is getting the right amount of water. Both overwatering and underwatering are dangerous. If the container's soil feels wet and muddy, you're giving the container too much water. Correct the problem now to avoid drowning the plant.


Though not a plant watering system per se, hydrogels can become part of your container garden watering routine. These gels absorb moisture--up to 100 times their weight, notes Purdue University Extension--then slowly release it into the soil. Add hydrogels into your potting soil before planting a container garden, then use a bottle-style irrigation system to keep your plants well watered.


About the Author


A successful website writer since 1998, Elton Dunn has demonstrated experience with technology, information retrieval, usability and user experience, social media, cloud computing, and small business needs. Dunn holds a degree from UCSF and formerly worked as professional chef. Dunn has ghostwritten thousands of blog posts, newsletter articles, website copy, press releases and product descriptions. He specializes in developing informational articles on topics including food, nutrition, fitness, health and pets.