Drip Watering For Potted Plants – Home / gardening techniques / container gardening / How to install a DIY drip irrigation system for potted plants

An automatic watering system for outdoor plants makes life easier, and saves you a lot of time. It’s also very easy to install your own, and doesn’t take much time (it’s worth every second!). Follow this easy step-by-step guide to install a DIY drip irrigation system for potted plants.

Drip Watering For Potted Plants

We have an area behind our house that gets full sun that I always thought would be perfect for growing, but it’s under the hills of the house so it doesn’t get a lot of rain.

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My husband planted a few pots of peppers there last year, but hand watering all those pots was going to be a major chore in the summer heat. We had a drought last year, so we had to water these pots several times a day. What fun!

My husband told me he wanted to line the area with potted peppers this year, so we decided to add a drip irrigation system to make it easy to water our container plants.

It turns out, installing a DIY drip system for potted plants is just as simple as installing sprinklers above our greenhouse.

Plus we had some poly tubing left over from that project, so we were able to use that for this project – bonus!

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Think of a drip irrigation system as an automatic watering system for pots and containers. It hooks into your garden hose or spigot so when it turns on, your pots get watered at the same time.

You could turn the water on by hand, or set an automatic timer to create a self-watering system for potted plants (trust me, a timer is worth it, and it’s not very expensive to get one buy for yourself!).

Installing a drip irrigation system for potted plants has many benefits for you and your plants. The main benefit is convenience, and let me tell you, an automatic drip irrigation system makes container gardening SO MUCH easier!

Self-watering pots not only make your life easier, but it’s also better for your plants, ensuring they get the right amount of moisture.

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Regular watering not only keeps your potted plants happy and healthy, it also helps prevent problems like blossom end rot.

Healthy plants have fewer problems with pests and disease, and produce TONS of tastier food for us? What’s not to love?

Depending on how many potted plants you have, a drip irrigation kit may be all you need to install your entire system.

You can buy a smaller kit if you have 8 pots or less, or you can get a larger kit like this one that works to automatically water up to 20 pots.

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Drip irrigation kits are a great way to start, and they include full instructions for setting everything up. Some accessories even come with a timer.

But keep in mind that even when you start with a drip irrigation machine, you may still need to buy a few extra parts (for example, most do not come with a pressure regulator). So be sure to read the details of what is included in the package.

Of course, you can also make your own custom drip irrigation system design, which is what we did to get set up since we already had the main pipe and a few other parts to get us started.

Step 1: Attach connectors to faucet, hose or spigot – It’s easier to hook everything up if you attach the connectors to your hose or spigot first. So grab the proper backflow preventer, pressure regulator, and faucet tool for this step.

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Start by attaching the backflow preventer to your outdoor pipe or spigot (it just screws on). Next, you connect the pressure regulator, and secure the faucet fitting (this just screws on too – no tools needed!).

Basically, you’ll finish hooking the garden hose fittings together in this exact order (backstop, pressure regulator, faucet fitting).

Step 2: Connect the 1/2″ poly tubing to the hose fitting – Take one end of your 1/2″ mainline tubing, and push it into the open end of the faucet hose fitting. Once pushed in, pull down the collar on the hose fitting, and tighten to secure the tubing.

You may want to shake the tubing and turn the water on to make sure there are no leaks at this point, otherwise you can wait to test everything later on the step 7.

How To Install Drip Irrigation

Step 3: Plan Your Drip Irrigation System Design – The next step in installing a drip system is to determine how far apart the drip heads will be, so you know exactly where to place them. the micro-tube in.

We just laid out the pots where we wanted them, then laid the poly tubing down in front of them (Tip: let the tubing sit in the sun for a while to warm up first, it’s easier to put down when it’s warm).

Then we measured where each pot was, and marked the poly tubing where we needed to add the drip tube lines for each of the drippers.

Once we measured everything out, we cut the tubing at the very end using our PVC cutter (you could use a PVC pipe saw to cut the tubing instead), and we finished the tube with the end cap.

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Step 4: Determine how long the drip lines will be – Next we measured how long each piece of mini pipe needed to be for the drip lines.

That’s just the length from where you marked on the main pipe, up to where the drip head will be inside the pot.

We added a few extra inches to the length of each piece of mini pipe so that it was loose enough to allow us to move the pots around a bit if we wanted to (which we did, and it worked- out very well).

Step 5: Install the micro pipes – Adding the drip lines and micro sprinkler heads is easy.

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For drip line installation, you simply punch a hole in the main poly pipe (using a drip irrigation hole punch) where you want to add the drip lines (these are the spots you marked on the tubing in step 3).

Don’t worry if you hit a hole in the wrong place. I know it’s not good to make a mistake, but if you put a hole in the wrong place… well, that’s why they make goof plugs! It’s good to keep them on hand just in case.

Then you connect the drip line connection to the main pipe first, and then connect the micro-pipe drip device to the other end of the connection.

Step 6: Install the irrigation drippers – Installing the dripper heads is also very easy. Basically you just insert them into the open end of the micro-tube, and then insert them into your container.

Automatic Watering Systems For Healthy Gardens With Potted Plants

Our micro dripper heads came with spikes to hold them in place, so they stay where we put them.

We placed the micro-heads in each of our pots, just to one side of the base of the plant(s). Be careful not to damage tender roots or seedlings when pushing the irrigation spikes into the soil though.

Step 7: Test Your Plumbing Setup – Before installing the main line, test everything to make sure it’s all working without any leaks. You definitely don’t want anything leaking.

At this point it is also a good idea to change the drip heads. The head tops rotate so you can control the amount of water that comes out.

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We changed each one to make sure they weren’t splashing outside the pots, and that they were all working properly.

Step 8: Secure the poly tubing – Once everything was installed and tested, we got the main pipe into the ground with some drip irrigation tubing 1 /2″.

The stakes clip onto the main pipe, which makes it easy to secure. Then we just buried the tubing in the ceiling to give it a cleaner look.

Note, you can place your poly tubing behind your pots rather than in front of them like we did here. That way, the micro pipe will run up the back of the pots, and it won’t be as visible.

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But it will work fine either way. (We just put ours in front to make it easier for you to take pictures)

Step 9: Set the timer for automatic watering – Finally, we set our hose timer to run on a schedule so we never have to worry about watering those pots again (which is especially nice while we’re on vacation!).

Once you have your automatic drip irrigation system running, I recommend checking your pots regularly to make sure they are getting the right amount of water. Then you can adjust your timer accordingly to get it right.

We turn off the drip irrigation timer when we get a lot of rain, and increase the length, or

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