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How to Drip Water for Potting Plants

By Sarah Metzker Erdemir ; Updated September 21, 2017

Watering plants with a drip system is a good way to keep your potted plants alive when you go away on vacation, or to keep your plants from burning up in the summer sun while you’re at work. A drip system is any kind of watering method that delivers water directly to the soil or to the plants’ roots through slow-release or capillary action. Drip watering can be as simple as putting your plants in trays of water, or it can be a more complicated system of hoses, emitters, and timers.

Put your pots in the shade if you’re going on a summer vacation. If you’re leaving for less than a week, plants can even go into a garage or shed without suffering much from lack of light. Keeping the plants cool and shaded will lessen their watering requirements.

Use a simple drip watering method for short vacations of less than a week. Before you leave, water your plants well and place the pots in trays filled with water to let the roots soak up water through the pots’ drainage holes. You can also poke a few small pinholes in the bottom of a plastic bottle or milk jug, fill it with water, and set it on the soil next to the plant. This will release water slowly directly into the soil.

Look into vacation watering systems for your potted plants if you’re away on business a lot. Some of these are quite basic, like a spike that attaches to a full upturned water bottle and pressed into the soil. Other types are more elaborate, such as a small cistern attached to a system of hoses that uses gravity to bring the water to your plants.

Consider a more elaborate watering system as a hassle-free way to keep your potted plants watered when you’re at work during the day or away for long periods. A drip system attached to your outdoor hose spigot with a timer delivers water directly to the soil at set intervals. You can use a mini soaker hose that runs across the pots or a drip hose with emitters that drip into each pot. This type system also has the advantage of using less water because water goes right to the roots and less is lost to evaporation.


Things You Will Need

  • Water
  • Shady place
  • Trays
  • Plastic bottle
  • Milk jug
  • Pin
  • Watering spike
  • Vacation watering cistern
  • Outdoor hose spigot
  • Timer
  • Mini soaker hose
  • Drip hose with emitters