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Drip Irrigation for Potted Plants - Drip Irrigation for Potted Plants

Who should read this?
Anyone with potted plants on a deck, patio or in a greenhouse should check this out. Drip irrigation is an excellent method for watering potted plants.

Planting flowers in pots with drip irrigation


Whether you have potted plants on a deck, patio or in a greenhouse, drip irrigation is an excellent method for watering them. Below are three drip irrigation options that you can try. See which one (or combination) works best for you. Each drip irrigation design begins with a 1/2" drip tubing supply line. (If you have questions, read our tutorial and  learn how to connect to the water supply.)


Your solid drip mainline tubing will consist of 1/2" Polyethylene pipe. This pipe will feed all of the flower pots.



From the 1/2" main line you will run a section of 1/4" solid tubing to each flower pot. Poke a hole in the 12" tubing with a hole punch. Insert a 1/4" barbed connector into the hole in the 1/2" tubing. Connect the 1/4" solid tubing to the other end of the connector.



Run a length of 1/4" solid tubing into the pot. At this point, you have some choices (see diagrams below).

1. Adjustable Stream Bubbler

(Additional Parts: Adjustable. Stream Bubbler) If you find that you move potted plants in and out of your greenhouse often, drip irrigation may be the best watering solution for you. The adjustable stream bubbler has a built-in stake, which makes it easy to stick into the soil of the potted plant. Since it is adjustable, you can turn it completely off with a slight clockwise twist. This is handy if you remove a plant from the greenhouse and do not replace it right away. Overspray is possible, so keep that in mind if this is a problem.


2. 1/4" Drip Emitter Tubing - 6 spacing

(Additional Parts Drip Emitter Tubing , 1/4" Flow Control Valve , Goof Plug) Drip emitter tubing, sometimes called soaker hose, contains drip emitters, or drippers, inside the tubing. The drip emitters are spaced every six inches and dispense 1/2 gallon of water per hour. The drip emitter tubing is easily coiled around the inside of a potted plant and capped off with a goof plug. If you need to remove the pot or replant it, simply pull the drip emitter tubing out of the pot and swap out the pot or replant it. Once your work is done, replace the coil of tubing around the plants.  You may find that a wire or plastic stake is necessary to hold the tubing in place. Drip emitter tubing will not overspray and is a good irrigation solution if your pots are in a windy location.


3. Drip Emitter with Stake

(Additional Parts: Pressure Compensating Drip Emitter, 1/4" Flow Control Valve, Micro Tubing Stake) This drip irrigation for potted plants combines the ease of a stake and the dripping water of an emitter. This is a good option for very small plant containers in particular. The adjustable stream bubbler is designed to spray. It may be difficult to adjust the spray down for plant containers smaller than six inches in diameter.


Final Notes

The flow control valve will allow you to moderate the water flow to individual flower pots. You can also use the flow control valve to shut off the supply of water completely when a flower pot is not in use. When comparing your drip irrigation options here are a few things to consider:

1. If you plan to swap out your flower pots often, the staked options might be easier to work with than the coil of drip emitter tubing.

2. If you have a lot of pots to water, the drip emitter tubing and PCE drip emitter options use less water per pot (1 gallon per hour) vs. the variable amount used by the adjustable stream bubbler. Since your flower pots are small, the adjustable stream bubbler, when throttled down, will probably dispense about 1.5-2 gallons per hour. Note If your water supply is a hose bib (faucet), you have 240 gallons-per-hour total to work with.

3. If you anticipate using larger flower pots at some point (or a variety of sizes), the adjustable stream bubbler will accommodate a diameter range from six inches to three feet.

4. You may decide to mix-and-match the above options. With our competitive pricing you should consider experimenting and see which potted plan drip irrigation solution works best for you and your flower pots.

Potted Plants

Last modified: May 11, 2015

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