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Back to Watering Guides MainWatering Your New Small PlantsTo Watering New Larger Shrubs and Trees

in Northeast Florida Landscapes During the

Establishment Period


  Just like installation practices can differ when installing small and large container plants, proper watering techniques during the establishment period will vary depending on the size of the plant you purchased and installed. This guide is to help with watering your new small plants after being planted into the landscape.

Small is a relative term, so to define it here for our purposes, I will say anything small enough for you to fit it in your car and take it home with you falls into this category. If it had to go into the back of a truck bed or trailer, these instructions are not for you!

Click this link for help with watering larger landscape plants and trees.


How Much Water do My New Smaller Plants Need?

How much water your new plants need can be affected by allot of different factors. Some plantings may need water every day while others will have consistently moist soil for days and need watering less frequently maybe only a few times per week.

Things That INCREASE A Plants Need For Supplemental IrrigationWatering small plants in decorative containers

  • Sandy soils
  • High water need plant selections
  • Well draining soils like decorative containers or raised bed areas
  • Sloping ground
  • Dry weather or prolonged periods of drought
  • Sunny days
  • Plants located with a full sun or afternoon sun exposure
  • Windy days 
  • Hot days
  • Planting in the summer
  • Large container sizes ( 15 gallon nursery pots or larger) 

Things That DECREASE A Plants Needs For Supplemental Irrigation

  • Heavy clay soils
  • drought tolerant plant selections
  • Poorly drained planting locations
  • Flat ground with no visible slope
  • Rainy weather
  • Cloudy or overcast days
  • Calm days with little or no wind movement
  • Cooler temperatures ( 70 degrees and lower)
  • Planting in the fall and winter months
  • Smaller sized plantings ( 7 gallon container pot sizes and smaller)
  • Mulch over the roots system of the plant under the foliage

With all those variables, how do you know when your newly installed plant is ready to be watered again? The answer may be simpler than you think!

When the top two inches of soil underneath the mulch is dry to the touch

it is time to water again!

* IF the top two inches of soil is still wet from watering the day before,

skip a day and check again tomorrow.


 As a general guide, in the Northeast Florida landscape, daily watering is needed for the first two weeks, then every other day for the next two weeks followed by twice a week after that time or once to twice a week as soon as the plant shows visible signs of new foliage growth.


A few tips to remember when watering your small plants

in Northeast Florida's gardens and Landscapes

  • Don't rely on irrigation systems designed to water your lawns for newly planted flowers, shrubs and trees. Lawn irrigation only waters the top two to three inches of soil where the grass roots are, and your plants entire root system as well as the soil that surrounds it will need to be watered to the depth that it was planted. The best way to ensure your new plantings are getting adequate water is to hand water with a hose.
  • Water early in the morning instead of late at night to prevent root rot and foliage fungus problems. Plants will do better if the foliage and roots do not stay wet at night consistently. 
  • Mulch your newly planted items to reduce water loss from evaporation and prevent weed growth that will compete with your plant for water and nutrients.