How Often Should You Water a Vertical Garden?

Watering plants correctly is a constant challenge for both new and seasoned gardeners. While I find vertical gardening does make watering my plants that much easier, I still have to make sure that I’m watering them enough and according to their individual needs. After some experimentation, I feel like I’ve worked out a good system that keeps all of my plants happy and hydrated.

As a general rule, vertical gardens should be watered every 1-2 days. However, keep in mind that how often you water a vertical garden depends on the types of plants you are trying to grow, the local climate, and the type of vertical garden system you are growing them in.

It’s important to remember that the plants growing within the system are no different from those growing in conventional gardens and they must be watered according to their individual needs. However, how you water them can vary significantly.

By the end of this article, you’ll know precisely how to water your specific type of vertical garden and how often as well as several influencing factors that you should consider to maximize success.

How often you should water different types of vertical garden systems

There are many different types of vertical garden systems that each employ different watering techniques. However, there are some universal truths when it comes to watering plants that apply across all vertical garden systems from simple containers to complex hydroponic towers.

Now let’s take a look at what this means for some specific vertical garden systems.

How often should you water a Green Living Wall?

How often you need to water a green living wall depends primarily on two factors: its location and the plants used in the system. The living wall structure is most likely made up of small pockets of soil with reasonably good drainage to avoid dampness. This means that the soil can dry out quickly. This is particularly true if the living wall is located outside, particularly in direct sunlight.

In this case, you should seek to water your living wall at least once per day to avoid it getting too dry, particularly in summer. For living wall systems located indoors, every 1-2 days should be sufficient.

An indoor living wall should be watered every 2-5 days depending on the plants used

How often should you water a Vertical Container System?

Like living walls, vertical garden systems build from tiered stacks of containers (such as those built from old palettes, soda bottles, or planters) contain well-drained soil that is susceptible to drying out quickly, particularly when located in the sun.

Containers should be watered every 1-2 days approximately

It’s important to understand the needs of the types of plants you’re growing here too. I usually grow herbs and leafy greens. For me, watering every 1-2 days seems to work well and ensures that the soil never gets too water-logged.

To reduce the manual effort needed to water your plants you may wish to consider installing an irrigation system, that can automatically water your vertical garden at set times.

How often should you water Hydroponic Vertical Gardens?

Now here is where things get a little interesting. If you have a home-built or store-built hydroponic vertical garden system, chances are you have installed a pump that automatically takes care of watering for you.

Hydroponic garden systems are very water efficient. Depending on the plants, roots require watering 1-10 times a day

Ultimately, the aim is to keep your plants moist, but not damp. This could require anything from 1 to 10 waterings each day depending on what you are trying to grow. You’ll need to fill up the water reservoir once every 10-20 days, depending on the hydroponic system you are using.

I would recommend purchasing a timer for your hydroponic garden. This will help to regulate the flow of water and nutrients automatically. Generally, I find that setting the time to activate the water pump every 30 minutes for every hour of daylight works really well to keep plants hydrated and fed.

How often should you water Aeroponic Vertical Gardens?

Much like Hydroponics, the aim is to keep the roots of your plants moist. Again, this could mean anything from 1 to 10 short, sharp ‘mistings’ each day. This can be done with the help of that nifty timer I mentioned above. Your aeroponic system (like those provided by Tower Garden, one of the most popular providers) will take care of this for you automatically, but take note of the needs of each plant you are growing. Again, the reservoir should be refilled every 10-20 days or so.

Universal watering truths

1. Read up on the specific plant types and how much water they need

Each plant has its own needs and the amount of water they need will vary between species. For example, a vertical garden growing cacti and succulents will require less watering than one growing lettuce. Make sure you read up on the plant’s individual needs before planting.

2. Consider the season

Seasonality is another important factor to consider when gardening in general. Simply, during the summer months when it’s usually very hot and dry the plants in your vertical garden may require watering more often than during the autumn when it’s cooler and wetter. This of course doesn’t apply to indoor gardens in the same way.

3. If using soil, test the moisture by hand

If the top two inches of soil are completely dry it’s a good sign that you should probably give your plants some water. You can test this easily by sticking the first two knuckles of your index finger into the soil and seeing if it comes out clean and dry, or wet and dirty.

You can also purchase soil moisture meters. I use the XLUX Hydrometer Sensor which is simple and effective.

4. Don’t be tempted overwater

Watering too much can be just as bad as watering too little. Don’t be tempted to over-water the plants in your vertical garden. Closely follow the three points above and you should be fine.

5. Set up an automated irrigation system

If you’re more technologically adept you may wish to set up an automated irrigation system to minimize the effort involved in watering your vertical garden. This is more challenging for more rudimentary vertical container gardens but most self-contained hydroponic or aeroponic gardens like those offered by Tower Garden, for example, have reservoirs and pumps built in already

6. Always water your vertical garden from top to bottom

One of the major advantages of a vertical garden is that it’s…well…vertical. This means that thanks to gravity water can more easily flow from the roots of the topmost plants to the roots of the bottom-most. A good practice is to water from the top and allow water to flow down through each plant on its journey to the ground.

7. Water your plants in the early morning

The early morning is the best time to water your vertical garden because it’s cooler and allows any excess or trapped water to burn off during the day, helping to prevent rot. Watering in the heat of the day means water is lost due to evaporation and is less effective.

However, you must also consider the typology of plants growing in the living wall system. Succulents, for example, are a popular choice for living walls and require very little water (once per week). Make sure to read up on the needs of individual plant species and ensure you are watering according to their needs.

Do vertical gardens use less water?

Yes, they do! Depending on the vertical garden system used, it’s possible to use up to 98% less water. Hydroponic and aeroponic vertical garden systems are the most efficient at capturing and recycling water.

In fact, there are many different ways that a vertical garden is more sustainable than a conventional garden. Read all about it in my dedicated post.

Using less water is a great way to reduce the impact of your gardening on the environment. Vertical gardening can also be a great way to shave the costs of your monthly water bill.

Are vertical gardens hard to maintain?

One of the most frequent activities involved with gardening is watering. Since started vertical gardening the time I spend watering and caring for my plants has been reduced significantly for a number of reasons.

As a general rule, a vertical garden is much easier to maintain than a conventional, ground-based garden. I’ve written an article about that too at the above link.

This is because vertical gardens keep plants lifted off the ground, which better protects them from pests and diseases. It is also much simpler to capture and recycle excess water automatically which reduces the effort of frequent manual watering.

Read my dedicated article at the link above to find out more.

To sum up

Vertical gardens are a great way to save water and a bit of money on your bills. But, while they may be more efficient at capturing and recycling water, this doesn’t mean that the plants themselves can be watered less than that usual. The main thing is to consider both the location of the vertical garden and the plants you are trying to grow, making sure that each plant is receiving enough water for its individual needs.

Related articles


William, an experienced consultant and passionate advocate for technology and sustainability, is the founder of Smarter Home Gardens. William's journey into gardening began with the purchase of his first home, which came with a small backyard garden. Despite initial challenges brought about by limited space, soil, and sunlight, William's determination to create a vibrant garden led him to research and experiment with innovative gardening technologies and sustainable practices. Driven by his lifelong enthusiasm for technology and sustainability, William explored various gardening methods, including vertical gardening, hydroponics, companion gardening, and composting. Through these efforts, he realized that it was possible to combine his passions with his newfound love for gardening. Smarter Home Gardens was born out of William's desire to share his research and experiences with others, helping them create smarter gardens that leverage cutting-edge technology and contribute to a more nature-positive world. The blog offers in-depth articles on innovative gardening technologies and methods, helpful 'how-to' guides, reviews of the latest gardening technology, and research on cost-effective garden maintenance solutions. William's commitment to sustainable and technologically-driven gardening has made him a trusted voice in the field. His enthusiasm for creating gardens that work with the planet, rather than against it, is evident in every post he shares on Smarter Home Gardens. Through the blog, William hopes to engage with a wider audience, encouraging others to join him on this exciting journey towards smarter, more sustainable gardens.

Recent Posts