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How to add drip irrigation to your hanging baskets

3 simple steps

Adding drip irrigation to a hanging basket is easy and can be done in an afternoon.


Step One: Sketch & Measure

Step Two: Create a parts list

Step Three: Installation

In this example, you have four hanging baskets placed in the corners of a shade structure. See the sketch below.

The structure is 12ft x 12ft. The hanging baskets are 8ft high and the 1/2" drip mainline tubing is 5ft away from the shade structure. Since this tutorial is focused on adding drip irrigation for hanging baskets, we will not cover connecting to a main water supply and assume that you have a 1/2" solid drip line in place.

You will use 1/4" solid poly tubing for this most of this project and add a drip emitter and mister to each hanging basket.


Step One: Sketch and measure.


Starting with a top view of your shade structure, draw a rough sketch like this:


Sketch of drip irrigation system for a hanging basket

Measure and add the dimensions to your sketch:

Sketch of drip irrigation system for a hanging basket with dimensions

Add the drip line, fittings, and emitters:

 Sketch of drip irrigation system for a hanging basket with foggers and bubblers  

STEP TWO: Create a parts list


You may find that it is easiest to make a take-off list (see below). Walk around the location and mark down the number of fittings needed.

Irrigation Take Off List

Suggested parts for your project (prices & photos on "Parts List" tab):



Calculate the amount of tubing needed.

From your sketch: 12 ft + 12 ft + 12ft + 8ft + 4ft + 5 ft. = 53ft

Since the maximum run recommended for 1/4” tubing is 50 feet, you will need to use a small section of 1/2" tubing to get you under that threshold. The 5 ft section between the existing 1/2" drip tubing and the shade structure is perfect for that. Now you can run the remaining 48 ft with 1/4" tubing.


Determine the number of fittings needed.

Final Parts list for this project:


5 ft. - 1/2"  Solid Drip Mainline Tubing
48 ft. - 1/4"  Solid Drip Micro Tubing
1 - 1/2" Tee
1 - 1/2" End Cap
1 - 1/4" Connectors  
6 - 1/4" Tees (barbed)
4 - 1/4" Elbows (barbed) 
4 - Fogger Mister (barbed)
4 - Adjustable Stream Bubbler (full circle)

We always recommend buying a few extra parts, so round up your numbers before you order. Check the "Tips" tab for additonal tools and parts that you may want to consider.


STEP THREE: Installation

The drip irrigation set up for each hanging basket will look like this:

Diagram of parts for hanging basket drip sytem

From your 1/2" supply line, branch off with a 1/2" tee pointing toward the shade structure.

Run 5ft of 1/2" tubing from the tee to the shade structure.  Once at the shade structure, cap off the end of the 1/2" tubing with a 1/2" end cap.

At the base of the shade structure, punch a hole into the 1/2" tubing so that you can run the 1/4" tubing up to the first hanging basket. Place a 1/4" coupling in the hole and connect the 1/4" tubing to the other end of the coupling.  You can now run your 1/4" tubing up to the first hanging basket.


For each hanging basket you will need:

    2 - 1/4" tees

    1 mister

    1 adjustable stream bubbler

    About one foot of solid 1/4" tubing

1. Add a 1/4" tee and point it down toward the hanging basket.  (For the hanging baskets at the end of each run, use 1/4" elbows).

2. Add another length of 1/4" tubing to an Adjustable Stream Bubbler. Cut that tubing about 8"-10" above the hanging basket and insert a tee and a small piece of 1/4" tubing.

3. Then add a mister, as shown below. Push the staked bubbler down into the soil and attach the 1/4" tube to the tee above. Repeat this for all hanging baskets.

Now relax and let your drip irrigation system do the work.
Drip system installed in hanging basket

Drip irrigation systems are versatile, flexible, and very forgiving. Look for other areas in your garden where drip emitters or drip emitter tubing might be the perfect solution for your garden irrigation needs.

Last modified: September 21, 2011

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