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How to bottom water a plant

Want to try watering your plants a different way? Here is how to bottom water a plant and the benefits of this easy watering method!

We all know that plants need water to live – but did you know that there are several ways to water a plant?

You can pour water into the soil, sure, but you can also bottom water the plant!

how to bottom water a plant

What does it mean to water a plant from the bottom?

Bottom watering a plant is just what it sounds like – watering the plant from beneath itself instead of on top of the soil.

Should you bottom water plants?

Bottom watering is great for many plants. I particularly like it for plants that don’t like water pooling on their leaves or folliage.

For example, my Hoya Rope plant leaves will rot and fall off if water drops pool in them. Bottom watering keeps the leaves dry but the roots moist!

What are the benefits of bottom watering?

Here are some benefits of bottom watering:

  • Bottom watering is said to encourage strong root growth as they grow down towards the water
  • Prevents water from just running straight thru compact soil
  • Reduces the chances of overwatering
  • Ensures that water gets down to lower roots
  • Keeps leaves dry
  • Water is evenly distributed in plant
  • Reduces splashing/spilling/runoff
  • Helps to prevent gnats (here’s my treatment for fungus gnats!)
hoya rope plant being bottom watered

Can bottom watering cause root rot?

Yes, bottom watering can still cause root rot. If the plant sits in water for too long, the roots can rot in that sitting water. While bottom watering helps with overwatering, it’s not fool proof.

Can you Bottom Water all plants?

Bottom watering is better for small and medium sized plants. Large plants take a long time to absorb water all the way from the bottom to the top, in which time the roots could rot sitting in water.

Additionally, if a plant is very root bound, it will be hard for it to absorb water and you will need to water from the top.

Finally, you need to be sure you are using a pot with holes in the bottom, or the water won’t have anywhere to go. Here’s my guide on how to drill drainage holes in pots.

Some plants that love being bottom watered:

hoya rope plant being bottom watered

How do you use bottom watering pots?

You can purchase bottom watering pots (I love these from Target). They have a small hole towards the bottom of the pot where you can add water, and the plant will then water itself.

However, you don’t need a special pot to bottom water a plant!

How to bottom water a plant

  1. Fill a sink, tub, or shallow bowl with 1-2 inches of water
  2. Place your pot into the water
  3. Let sit 20 minutes
  4. Drain the water and let the pot sit in a sink or counter you don’t mind getting wet for 15 minutes to drain excess water
  5. Pick the pot up and gently turn it side to side to let any excess water drip out of the drainage holes
  6. Replace in it’s rightful pot or place

I always suggest using rain or distilled water for plants instead of tap water. Here’s my explanation of the best water for indoor plants!

hoya rope plant being bottom watered

How do you know if bottom watering is working?

Push your finger 2 inches into the surface of the soil. You should feel moisture. If you don’t feel confident, try purchasing a moisture meter to help monitor the moisture level.

How long should I Bottom Water?

Wondering how long to bottom water plants? I bottom water for 10-20 minutes. After that, remove excess water and let the pot drip dry a bit before putting it back on any surfaces you don’t want to get wet. Always tip the pot side to side to ensure there’s no pooling water inside.

How do you fertilize when bottom watering?

You can mix fertilizer into the water prior to bottom watering. It will then absorb up through the drainage holes along with the water.

hoya rope plant being bottom watered

How often should you bottom water?

Watering from the bottom should be done as frequently as you water your plant. Always check the soil first and don’t water a plant that is already moist!

Any questions about the bottom watering method?

Thanks for reading!

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