How Often to Water
Various Container Plants
Technical Bulletin Series
The four major factors involved in making the decision for how many days a week to irrigate a container plant are:
The Composition of the soil
The seasonal climate or temps
The type of plant being irrigated
The depth of soil in the container
Throughout the many technical bulletins within this website you will find a concentration on soil composition, as it is the most important AND overlooked factor for determining proper irrigation amounts and frequency.
In this Bulleting the focus is on the Type of Plant being irrigated growing in a container.
There is virtually an unlimited variety of plants that can be grown in a container. Those that grow fast and get large are not generally grown in a container once mature. Plants beed to have root sizes appropriate for their top or canopy size.
Ornamental and agricultural are the two primary plant divisions to consider. For the purpose of brevity the very large ornamental section is not the subject of this garden tip.
In particular we will be discussing agricultural plants, those that are edible or that produce edible fruit.
One interesting thing that all these plants prefer is good draining soil. So, as this type of soil will dry out faster, then making sure to have the weekly frequency correct is that much more important.
Very often plants with different frequency preferences will be watered from the same valve or zone. Which means the irrigation will run the same runtimes and days for plants that may be different.
We will discuss some techniques to overcome this obstacle.
Frequency of Watering vs. Quantity of Water. Know the difference. Days per week (or Month) represents "frequency", while "minutes of run time" (indicating gallons of water) represents quantity.
It's a good idea tp change your frequency of watering throughout the seasons, while attempting to leave the Quantity (gallons or minutes) unchanged as is practical. unchanged.
The following recommendations for appropriate typical watering amount and frequency are not specific guidelines. These are provided to the reader as a convenience, in order to compare typical with their individual situation. Soil, Sun, Slope and Plant type differ greatly, and so will water requirements. Gardeners are often only looking for a starting point and general guidelines for watering. This bulletin only seeks to satisfy this request, while providing some background information regarding various landscape environments and plant types.
Most container plants will fall into the "Regular Watering Frequency" category. Further down in this Bulleting there is a chart that will help you to see the appropriate watering frequency for each plant type. The Garden Calculator Pro-I will also incorporate the aspect of container depth for you.
What are some drought tolerant edible plants?
Zucchini (Dark Star)
Fruits and Fruit Trees
Some Tomatoes (smaller fruit size types)
Dwarf Citrus Trees
Dwarf Pomengranate Trees
When these plants are young they need regular watering and then frequency can be cut back after the roots have grown deeply enough.
The depth of roots is always a vital consideration for healthy plants. Shallow and frequent watering discourages a plant from pushing it's roots deeper into the soil.
Some edible plants requiring moist soil and frequent irrigation
Fruits and Fruit Trees
Typical Watering Frequency¥
HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU WATER ?
(how many minutes / gallons)
Remember "how many minutes" varies with the emitter(s) you use.
Most are rated in gallons per hour, so for convenience, please utilize the Garden Galaxy Galculator for easy and accurate information on watering frequency.
Please consult with a qualified professional. One who is certified in Soils, Irrigation and Plant Horticulture is qualified to avise.