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Tuning drip irrigation..

Hi all, 
relative gardening noob here, all my plants are in containers, generally 12x12 up to 18x18 sizes. Mixed planting of roses, hydrangeas, begonias, plus a couple of others unknown as yet :)

I have drip irrigation and am looking to fine tune it a bit. I started off by rough-guessing what amount I would have applied with a hose and then going from that. The drippers I have are 4lph and i do have some 2lph ones but not used yet.

Currently applying using a split schedule AP/PM and also intermittent cycle - 10 minutes on & 10 minutes off as it is supposed to allow more water to absorb into the soil rather than just going straight through and out in one big flow. The amount is also varied a bit based on temperatures.

What I am seeing is a fair bit of through-flow - should i reduce the amount to lower this or just ignore it? It's currently doing approx 2ltrs AM & 2ltrs PM per pot, at a day temperature of 26-30c.

I know watering is not an exact science, but would like to get a good grasp of what is better/best etc. Also, why are containers not placed on trays like houseplants can be? Seems it would hold some water at low level which could soak up into the pot? Just wondering :) 


  • KT53KT53 Posts: 8,750
    Many of my pots are on saucers for the reason you give.  I've used drip watering for some years now and 7 minutes morning and evening works for me.  I don't worry about through flow, and it's never done any harm.  As long as the excess does run off it shouldn't be an issue.
  • DaveKearleyDaveKearley Posts: 130
    Thanks for that, can i ask, 7 minutes but at what flow rate please?
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,124
    My drippers are cheap ones that weren't calibrated (and they get a bit bunged up over the years with limescale from the hard water) so I'm not very scientific about it. I aim not to have much run-through and I find particularly in hot weather more but shorter spells of watering works better. Mine is currently on 10 minutes every 8 hours but I'll be dropping it down a bit now that it's cooled down some. Last year I used saucers under the tomato pots because the water was running straight through them (I blamed the compost) but this year they're OK without.
    If all the pots right up to the far end of the system are getting run-through, you can reduce the time. If some are getting run-through and some aren't, you could try using the lower-flow drippers on the ones that are.

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • DaveKearleyDaveKearley Posts: 130
    Thanks, seems i'm overwatering then as i collected at least a litre of the two litres i put on this morning in the tray. I'll turn it down a bit.

    These are calibrated at 4 & 2 lph and also run on a pressure regulated feed so variations don't cause more or less water flow. It all came as a kit and i have added to it a fair bit.

  • DaveKearleyDaveKearley Posts: 130
    edited August 2022
    Is it OK to keep pots with roses in moist all the time?

    I'm reading so much conflicting stuff on watering, its confusing me now :) All my plants are containers, all with good drainage. 

    I'm trying to fix on a watering irrigation schedule that works but no idea really what i am looking for.

    Sources say leave the soil to dry between, others to water twice a day in temps above 28c, long and heavy, and so on, what is the best option for roses and plants in containers ??

    I turned the irrigation off two days ago and the pots are still very moist so my guess is to only water every other day maybe ?
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