Bottom Watering Tips - Knowledgebase Question

Boulder, CO
Question by bettiepaige1
May 16, 2000
I am wanting to bottom water all of my plants. However, I am not sure how to do it? How much water should I place in the pan? And if the plant should be raised to drain how do I or when should I do this if I am suppose to place it in a pan of water? Please be detailed and step by step directions when answering this question, I am a beginner. Also if you know of any alternative references that would be great too ! Thanks !

Answer from NGA
May 16, 2000


The best way to bottom water is to place the pot in a pan of water (water level anywhere below the rim of the pot but at least an inch or so deep) and then wait until the soil has absorbed water enough to show on the surface. Then, move the pot to a location where the excess water can drain away freely and leave it there until water stops draining out the bottom. How long this will take will depend on the soil type and whether or not the pot is made or a porous material such as terra cotta, and also the size of the pot in relation to the depth of the water. Tepid water will usually work faster than icy cold water, however. I am wondering why you want to bottom water the plants since it is really an extra bit of work compared to carefully watering from the top, allowing any excess to drain into a saucer and then emptying the saucer. With a little practice you can water from the top without too much excess and it is much faster. The saucers also protect your floor and/or furniture from moisture damage. For more information about caring for house plants you might want to look at a book or two. One I particularly like is "Houseplants for Dummies" by Larry Hodson, Dummy Press, ISBN 0-7645-5102-7 because it gives good clear explanations about caring for the plants we typically grow at home.

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