Best Way to Water Plants In Fabric Pots

awestruckMarch 24, 2014

What is the best way to water plants in fabric pots? Someone told me that watering from the top is bad for the plants. I can't figure out any other way to do this, unless I can put the pot in some water and let it wick up from the bottom of the pot?

This post was edited by awestruck on Mon, Mar 24, 14 at 10:24

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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

What did that " Someone" propose ?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 5:52AM
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awestruck

Nothing, but I did ask, so I will wait for a response. She just said that the pictures of the soil I sent in looked fungal and she thought of the possibility of overwater. Then she asked if I were watering from the top and said that I shouldn't be watering from the top (didn't say why).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:10AM
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hairmetal4ever(Z7 MD)

Doesn't bottom watering make it virtually impossible to flush salts?

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:19AM
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awestruck

I like watering from the bottom when I am using plastic or Jiffy pots with seeds I am trying to germinate. If I were using those type of pots with my transplanted plants, I could still put them in water and let the water 'wick up' the soil, but I can't imagine doing that in a fabric pot, especially when the pot holds 20 gallons of soil. I can only water them from the top using a fabric pot, unless there is something I don't know about watering plants in fabric pots (which is very possible for me to not know).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:29AM
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awestruck

I like watering from the bottom when I am using plastic or Jiffy pots with seeds I am trying to germinate. If I were using those type of pots with my transplanted plants, I could still put them in water and let the water 'wick up' the soil, but I can't imagine doing that in a fabric pot, especially when the pot holds 20 gallons of soil. I can only water them from the top using a fabric pot, unless there is something I don't know about watering plants in fabric pots (which is very possible for me to not know).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 11:24AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Well, I bottom water all my seedlings. But they are in 4-5" plastic pots. How can bottom water a 7 gal. fabric pot ? I wouldn't trust fabric pot to lift all season in and out of water. One day it might just fall apart.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2014 at 10:39PM
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Jay Part Shade (Zone 10B, S21, Los Angeles)

Hey, I have about 100 fabric pots, everything from trees to veggies. I have watered every imaginable way, including wick systems.

I think that person told you not to water from the top so you don't get the plants' leaves wet. That's good advice, otherwise your plants will have mold and all sorts of bad stuff.

You want to just water the soil, not use a sprinkler or hose everything down. Drip systems also work really well. Keep the leaves dry, the soil wet.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:32AM
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awestruck

I think that is good advice. I love using the spray bottle, but it does get the leaves wet and that is not good. I have an ancient hose set up that would serve like a soaker hose, but I will not use it. It is probably 30 years old and I just took it out of the box yesterday. The plastic on it was sticky from being in a box for so long. But, I would like to figure out how to use a soaker system. Perhaps I should just buy a soaker hose and lay it over my plants? I don't need along one. I wonder if there are shorter ones available?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:47AM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Top watering is not the same as SPRINKLE watering. You can use a garden hose, watering can to water your tomatoes without getting the leaves wet. Additionally :

--- trim the lower leaves
--- water in the morning so, even if the leaves get wet, they will dry up during the day. Most fungal diseases is resulted from evening watering. BUT then what you do when you get a lot of rain ? Dealing with natural elements is not an exact science.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 7:41AM
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awestruck

So, I guess the main goal in watering these plants in containers (or really any plants) is to not get the leaves wet? I am looking into getting a soaker hose today. It might be a little long, but I will see. Also, I have bought some potting soil that is organic but it is put out by one of those major companies like Miracle Gro or Scott. I really like this potting soil compared to what I was using, but it is extremely expensive. It is not tight though, and will allow water and air to go through and get to the roots. I'll see if that makes a difference too.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:13PM
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Jay Part Shade (Zone 10B, S21, Los Angeles)

Soaker hoses are fine, but you'll need to keep the pots lined up so there aren't gaps between the pots. Otherwise, the hose will sag and the water will pool at the lowest point. I used soaker hoses for a number of seasons but now I've moved completely to a drip watering system. Drip watering, while looking complicated, really isn't -- just stick to 1/4" tube and 1/2 gal emitters. You can get everything you need at Home Depot. It's maybe $20 to set up a dozen planters.

Also, you can fill your bags up more (based on the pic above) -- there's really no reason to keep bags only partially filled. It'll make laying out hose/drippers much, much easier.

Finally, in the past I've used Kelloggs Patio Plus and Gardner and Bloome Blue Ribbon. The Blue Ribbon, at about $9/bag, is not cheap but it's pretty quality and much, much better than Miracle Gro. I've started making the 5-1-1 mix but that's a lot more time intensive, though ultimately cheaper.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2014 at 12:34PM
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awestruck

Thanks so much for all this wonderful information. I started out with container gardening about 2 months ago as I was tired of animals destroying my outside garden. I found Smart Pots and they seemed to have a good recommendation. I just didn't realize all the other goodies I would have to get in order to make it all work. But its ok. I am learning new things everyday, and am grateful for forums like this one.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2014 at 12:47AM
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waterstar

Hi awestruck,

I see you have used Jiffy-Pots. I am using them for the first time and reading horror stories here. ) : Did they work for you? How could you tell when they were moist enough? I have mine on a tray with a towel and water from the bottom to keep the towel moist. I also hae some on a tray with a towel and in the pan have a clay pot (unglazed with the hole plugged) to wick up water. But, I cannot tell if the pot is supposed to look moist or if just the soil will be moist.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2014 at 1:48PM
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