Of all the aspects of indoor plant care, watering is probably one of the most difficult. Plants need water, but too much of a good thing can be dangerous and lead to serious issues like root rot. Learning when and how much to water is key to any successful garden. Bottom watering is one such technique for watering. In this article, we’ll look at what bottom watering is, and how it can help you make sure you’re providing the correct amount of water to your plants.
What Is Bottom Watering?
Bottom watering is almost exactly as it sounds, watering the plant so that it is absorbed through the bottom of the soil rather than the top. This is usually done by filling a dish, tub, or similar container that your plant’s pot sits in with water, and allowing the soil to absorb the water through there.
It’s important to note that this will only work if your plant’s container has drainage holes for the water to be absorbed through. If you don’t have any drainage holes, then this technique obviously won’t work.
Benefits Of Bottom Watering
Bottom watering has numerous benefits, some of the most prominent include:
Reduces Chances to Overwater
One of the biggest benefits of bottom watering is that it helps prevent overwatering. By allowing the soil to absorb water, instead of supplying it yourself, it takes on only what it needs. This makes it a lot harder to overwater the soil, which is one of the biggest issues indoor gardeners face.
Prevents Water Damage To Leafs:
Some plants, like succulents, can actually be damaged by water that is sitting on their leaves. This usually happens for indoor plants by accidentally doing so when watering. Bottom watering completely removes this risk since the water is coming from below.
Easy To Do:
Finally, bottom watering is easy. It takes only a bit more effort than normal water, and the whole process is very simple. Even if you’ve never done it before it should be no problem to learn.
How To Bottom Water
As noted above, bottom watering is very easy to do; here’s a quick breakdown of the steps:
1. Determine Water Needs
First, you should only bottom water when your plant actually needs water. While it is more difficult to overwater with this technique, it still is possible, so you don’t want to go overboard.
While watering differs by plants, for the majority you’ll want to check the top 2-3” of soil. If it’s dry, then that’s a good sign that your plant is ready for some water. This tip won’t necessarily work for all plants, cacti are a good example where you’d want to wait longer, but will generally work for most plants.
2. Fill Your Container
Next, you’ll want to fill your container with water. For very small pots you can use a pot saucer, but for larger pots you’ll want to use a large tote or even a bathtub.
Fill your container with enough water to cover about ¼-⅓ the height of your plant’s container. For a 6” container, for example, you’ll want to use about 1.5-2” of water. This ensures that there is enough water to be properly absorbed by the soil.
3. Place Your Plant In The Water
Now you’ll want to actually place your plant in the water. Gently put the entire container into the water, and leave it for about 15 minutes. Be careful with lighter containers as they may float or tip over. If this is the case, use a little less water.
4. Remove and Dry
After about 15 minutes you’ll want to remove your plant and let the excess water drain. Move the plant to a dry place, and let it sit for about 15 minutes to allow all the excess water to flow out of the container. Be careful, this water can be messy; make sure you have something to catch it.
And that’s all there is to it. Bottom watering is quick, easy, and helps you make sure you’re getting your plants the proper amount of water.
Bottom Watering Plants
Bottom watering is a great technique to help avoid issues with watering. Watering can be tricky to get for first time gardeners, and bottom watering is a great way to remove most of that difficulty.
Have you tried bottom watering? Let us know how it went and whether you continue to do it.