Did you know that overwatering is the #1 reason plants die?
Watering is the trickiest part of taking care of a garden. Knowing how and when to water your container garden is key to nurturing a healthy plant that produces big harvests.
When gardening in containers, it can be specifically challenging to water your plant well, ensuring your plant gets both enough and not too much water.
Here are 6 container garden watering tips.
1. Choose the Right Container
If you don’t choose the right container, it becomes very easy to over or underwater your plant. Be sure to choose a container that breathes and drains well. You do not want your plants to get waterlogged — your plants will not survive!
By choosing a container like the Gardenuity grow bags that aerate and drain, you’ll help yourself avoid overwatering.
Clay and terra cotta containers dry out very quickly and are not ideal growing containers.
Similarly, metal containers will “bake” your soil because they attract so much heat. If you choose to use these containers, monitor your plant carefully and water more often than you would fabric or plastic containers.
When it comes to containers, larger is better. Bigger containers hold more soil and therefore more moisture. They also give the plants lots of space to grow roots that effectively soak up water.
If you choose to grow in a small pot, be more consistent in checking moisture levels.
2. Know Your Plant
Each plant has a different set of needs when it comes to watering. For example, garlic prefers very little water via inconsistent deep waterings while tomatoes like tons of water and consistent moisture.
Once you choose your container garden plant, do your research! Discover how your specific plant likes to be watered.
Generally speaking, vegetables like to be kept moist and need a lot of water. Herbs like to dry out a little between waterings (this creates a stronger flavor). Keep the plant tag embedded in the soil or on hand for easy reference.
Ask our Grow Pros if you have specific questions regarding your plants’ water needs.
3. Use the Thumb Test
Check moisture levels regularly. Before you water (and occasionally on days you do not), check your container garden’s soil with the thumb test.
Stick your thumb into the top inch of soil. If it feels moist, don’t water. If the soil feels dry, water. In the heat of summer, it’s good to check every day — sometimes even twice a day. In the cooler months, check the top two inches for moisture rather than just the top inch.
Doing so regularly will ensure you do not overwater your plants. Similarly, you might catch those extra dry days and give your plant what it needs.
4. Water the Soil
When you water your container garden, be sure to water the soil — not the leaves. Some plants have leaves that are susceptible to sunburn — the sun can burn the leaves if filtered through water droplets. Wet leaves can also increase the chance of fungus or disease. Instead, be sure to water the soil around the base of the plant deeply.
5. Water Deeply
Most of the time, plants prefer to be watered deeply. Frequent shallow waterings encourage your plant to stay near the surface of the soil and discourage deep roots. By watering deeply, you will encourage the roots to grow long, which is preferable.
Give your plants a long, good drink — ideally until water begins to drain through the bottom of your container.
6. Watch the Foliage
The best way to tell if your plant is getting the water it needs is to observe it. If your plant’s leaves are wilting or turning brown, they likely need a drink!
Check the soil immediately!
If your plant’s leaves are yellow and droopy, it is likely overwatered. Check the soil with the thumb test and, if wet, lay off your watering routine for a few days to revive your plant.
If you implement these 6 container garden watering tips you will immediately see an improvement in your garden’s health & wellbeing. For more information on watering check out our in-depth watering guide.