How to Water Commercial Planters: Tips for Saving Time, Water, and Money

Planters are a great way to add some greenery and life to any outdoor or indoor space, whether it be commercial or residential.

Customers, office employees, and residents enjoy the benefits of plants and they add the wow factor to any decor. In fact, our products are found in hotels, golf courses, and public spaces throughout America.

But large planter projects are not without challenges.

After months of planning and installation, comes the time to start planting and watering. Maintenance of plants can get expensive; not only for your bottom line but also for your precious time.

How nice would it feel to sit back and relax while your plants flourish, customers flock, and costs plummet?

We have all the tricks and tips you need to successfully water your commercial planters and get the botanical landscape of your dreams.

But first, some common pitfalls:

Overwatering

Outdoor plants in the ground in a field, or garden, can take a lot of excess water but plants in a container need a softer touch. That’s because the moisture in a container is, well, contained!

watering
Overwatering is not good for your plants @ eag1e / Getty Images Pro

Overwatering is a huge problem and is the leading cause of death for household plants. It can encourage the growth of fungus and root rot in the soil. This can be difficult or impossible to recover from.

Underwatering

Underwatering is also a common but obvious problem: without watering the plants, the roots won’t grow and your plants will wilt and die. A drought can be a challenge for any species of plant.

plant die because of underwater
Plant is about to die because of underwater @ Internet

Containers can also dry out faster than in-ground plants especially in really hot conditions so you need to water them more often.

What is the best way to check if your plant needs water?

The best way to check if your plant is ready for watering is by sticking your finger in the soil to about 6 inches deep. If it is still wet, that’s the sign that you don’t need to water it.

Fingers feeling brown soil
Fingers feeling brown soil @ Ryan Dekenah / Getty Images

Now you need to make a plan to determine how often your plants need more watering. This will stop any waste of resources such as excess irrigation, and most importantly your investment.

How often should you water your plants?

Watering frequency will depend on the type of plant, where you live, and the season. For example, in the summer you will need to water more often because temperatures are hotter and evaporation has a big effect.

Large outdoor pots should be watered once per week for about 15 minutes so that all the moisture reaches down into the roots.

watering outdoor plants
Watering outdoor plants @ kodachrome25 / Getty Images Signature

Indoor growing plants can be watered once per week for about 30 seconds or every other day as needed for some plant species like poppies and violets.

The materials of the planter make a big difference too. A metal planter will get much hotter in the summer and lose moisture faster. Whereas fiberglass containers are great in all temperatures. Our full guide to planter materials can be found here.

Basic maintenance to save money

Checking for holes

It’s important to check that your planters are in tiptop shape before anything is planted. A small crack or fracture in the pot can drastically drain moisture from the container.

cracked planter
A cracked planter @ Internet

When the pot is empty simply fill the planter with water to make sure you don’t have any leaks.

How to fix a cracked planter

Depending on the materials used in your panters, a fix can be an easy process. For fiberglass, pour a thin layer of epoxy into the crack, let it dry, sand it smooth, and then fill the container with water to check for leaks.

a cracked fiberglass planter
A cracked fiberglass planter @ Internet

When applying sealants or epoxy, be cautious not to get too much material onto the pot surface in case of accidental contact with the plant. Remember to touch them up with paint to match the surrounding color!

Our guide to watering planters

Mulching

A time-tested method to keep the potting soil moist is to water plants heavily and then place a layer of mulch over the top.

Mulch paper
Mulch paper @ Internet

The mulch will not only keep down weeds but also help prevent evaporation from the surface soil and reduce heat loss during the day. The soil stays wet for longer.

The simple garden hose

Connect a garden hose to your outdoor faucet and turn it on half-blast. Use a hose nozzle to direct water at each plant pot but be careful not to harm the plant’s leaves or stem with too much water pressure.

Garden hose
Garden hose @ delihayat / Getty Images Signature

A long soak of each container will let moisture reach to root level. You can even bury the tube to the bottom of the container to directly target the plant’s roots. This design is more efficient than a sprinkler and will help you save water.

Sprinklers

A sprinkler is a great way to reach dozens of planters and large parts of the landscape. Simply attach a sprinkler hose to your outdoor faucet and turn on the tap. Make sure you have an adjustable nozzle or sprinkler head to direct water from farther away, and that there is enough pressure for it to reach the entire area and all of your pots at once.

garden sprinkler
Garden sprinkler @ Annette Shaff / Canva Pro

Watering timers

Using a timer is one way you can make sure your outdoor space stays green all year round. Simply add the timer to your sprinkler or hose, set the timer for 15 minutes, and it will turn on at a certain time each day (but better in the morning).

Watering timer
Watering timer @ Internet

You will need to increase the average watering time if you are working in a landscape full of sun and heat because moisture will absorb quicker into the atmosphere.

These timers are great if you want to make sure your planters get watered when it’s convenient for you.

Invest in a ‘Smart Controller’

Yet another way you can save money is by getting yourself a smart controller that allows you to program waterings. These controllers are also equipped with sensors that monitor weather conditions and automatically activate when needed.

Garden smart controler
Garden smart controler @ Internet

This means they shut off during cold temperatures to prevent costly frozen pipes, conserve during rainy periods and avoid peak demand times without human involvement.

Drip irrigation systems

Drip irrigation systems are a great option for gardeners and businesses who want to be sure that their plants get the right amount of water with no waste.

Drip irrigation systems distribute water at low volumes directly to the roots of plants via small holes on flexible plastic hoses. This system is designed for large projects where you need to cover a large amount of ground.

Drip irrigations system
Drip Irrigation System @ Internet

Many of them are also compatible with mobile apps and software, so you can keep track of water usage and settings on your smartphone or tablet.

There are two main types of drip-irrigation systems: surface drip and subsurface drip. Surface drip is the most common type.

Surface drip systems

The system consists of a plastic water pipe laid on or just below the soil surface, which is fitted with emitters spaced evenly along its course to deliver water to individual plants. Create a network of these pipes and the process of watering a large growing area becomes much quicker.

surface drip system
Surface drip system @ Internet

Subsurface drip systems

Subsurface drip requires a slightly more complicated installation but it’s perfect when you need to conserve water by delivering it deep into the soil where the roots are, for example in a food-garden.

subsurface drip (on the left) and surface drip (on the right) systems
Subsurface drip (on the left) and surface drip (on the right) systems @ Irrigation Express Website

This design is better suited to traditional gardening that doesn’t use planters.

Choosing the right plants for effortless gardening

You should also consider what type of plant is best suited for your space:

  • Succulents are great if you want something low maintenance and easy on your wallet
  • Cacti are easy to take care of and will absorb a lot of the water you give them
  • If your area is prone to drought, planting some trees can help provide shade so plants don’t need as much watering
Choose the right plant is very important
Choose the right plant is very important @ Dmitrii Anikin / Getty Images

When is the best time to water my plants?

It’s always better to water in the morning. This will give your plants a chance to dry throughout the day with less risk of disease or fungus growth.

Morning is the best time to water plants @ Internet

What do I do if it rains?

It’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the weather and adjust your watering schedule. If it rains your potted plants will get a good soak and won’t need water until the soil is dry again.

drainage hole in fiberglass plant
Drainage hole in fiberglass planter @ Internet

However, if the entire container is water-logged, you need to create a drainage hole in the bottom of the planter. Manufacturers like ourselves offer that service pre-shipment.

Free weekly watering schedule

For those of you with a large yard and lots of plants to keep an eye on, we created a free weekly watering schedule you can use to provide detailed instructions for yourself or for your employees.

At Vietnam CDM We offer quality fiberglass planters in various shapes and sizes. We even custom make planters, including drilling drainage holes at their base which will help roots and plants stay healthy.

This is just one of the ways we are conscious of your project design challenges or those of your customers. In fact, our planter manufacturing is a work of art. So while you are here, why not take a look inside our factory to see how planters are made.

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