The Benefits of Sub-irrigation

Regadora by Xavi TalledaOne of the most basic needs of any plants is water. However, water does not come naturally to indoor plants. As an interiorscaper you must solve this problem for your clients. Typically is means sending a technician on a regular schedule to check the plants and water as necessary. Sub-irrigation is another option. It usually won’t cut out the middle man but it will make their job easier allowing time for other aspects of maintenance.

How Sub-irrigation Works

Sub-irrigation does exactly what the name implies. The plant sits over water and soaks it up over time through its growing medium.  Any drain holes in a container are plugged and there is a shaft down the side of the container that allows water to be added directly to the bottom of the container. There is typically another layer between the soil and the platform separating the water to slow the uptake of water into the soil. Sub-irrigation usually also includes a water level indicator so it is clear when more water is needed. See this link for a diagram of one of NewPro Containers sub-irrigation systems.

Why Choose Sub-Irrigation

If sub-irrigation doesn’t cut out the middle man what does it do? According to Plant Care Tips, some of the benefits include less stress on the plants as well as seasonal plants maintaining their blooms longer. Because  the rootball of the plant stays at a constant moisture level it is not stressed with drying out or getting to soggy. Over watering, which is a common problem for indoor plants, can be avoided.  Soil is not moved or lost as water is added as well. There is also less opportunity for mess especially for plants in hard to reach places.  The water is poured directly into an area where there is space for it and not into the soil where it must soak in or overflow.

According to NewPro Containers many of their sub-irrigation systems will keep plants watered for up to 12 weeks. So why do you still need the middle man? The sub-irrigation still needs to be monitored. Water levels must be checked and the soil must be checked as well to make sure your plant isn’t staying too dry or too wet. A technician may need to make adjustments if this is happening. A quick check however, rather than toting water to all of the necessary places will free up a technician’s time for other plant maintenance. For example, dusting and inspection for pests. Overall, with a healthy water level, increased care and early detection for pests and diseases the sub-irrigation system should save you and your business time and replacement costs.

Try It Out

If you are considering sub-irrigation check NewPro Containers’ selection of containers and systems and give a few a try to see what you like.

Have you tried any sub-irrigation systems? What have you liked about them? What didn’t work? What plants have worked well with sub-irrigation? Have you found any plants that don’t respond well to sub-irrigation?  If you have not tried these systems, what are your hesitations?

Photo Regadora by Xavi Talleda

Melanie is a plant enthusiast and expert contributor at and Melanie's experience in internet marketing, business management, and horticulture allows her to bring a unique perspective to the community. Melanie received a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Leadership from Purdue University and is the Marketing Director at NewPro Containers.

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