Water is absolutely crucial to plants. Everybody needs to water your houseplants. Watering is the number one way plants die. This happens either from the lack of water or from too much water or they die from a combination of the two. This is really ironic because the weather outside does whatever it wants when it wants. It rains. It doesn’t rain. And plants thrive just fine but when we have plants indoors it tends to be a little bit more finicky and a little bit more difficult to try to figure it out how to keep our plants alive.
So let’s talk about the different ways that you can water your houseplants. You always see in the movies and in the videos, just people taking a watering can and they’re just kind of dumping water on top of the plant or they’ll take a hose and just kind of spray everything and that’s how you water your houseplants. It is actually a little bit more in-depth than a little bit more complicated than that for houseplants.
When you are watering a plant with a watering can you want to go under the foliage and around the base of the plant? That way the substrate underneath is fully saturated. If not done this way there could be a few missed parts of the pot. There will be little pockets that will not get that water. They will not get that moisture and those roots there will end up drying out and they will end up dying off. It will impact your plant negatively. In the majority of cases, this is where you will see yellowing and small portions of the plant looking very sad and droopy. So going around in a circular motion under the foliage is very important.
Bottom Water Your Houseplants
You can also do bottom watering. Which is when you take your plant and you place it in a bowl or a tub full of water. You can also have fertilizer mixed in if you have liquid fertilizer. This is perfectly fine. What this is going to do is have the substrate soak up the water and the roots will soak up the water and it will make sure that the entire pot is evenly moist.
This is a fantastic way to rehydrate your plants especially if the soil is what’s known as hydrophobic. Where the soil is hard to touch and it’s pulled away from the pots and it’s rock solid. If your soil is hydrophobic and you water it from the top as we talked about earlier then it is not going to actually soak up any of that water. It will just kind of run off of the sides and it will repel the water. You might have hydrophobic soil if you have a tendency to let your plants overly dry out. If this is the case then the bottom watering method is going to work better for you in the long run.
Another thing to keep in mind if you are bottom watering is that you want to flush your plants out. Basically what that means is you want to go and run it under water or some type of hose and just kind of top water it. So that everything that has been sitting in there and everything that’s been pulled up. The excess minerals etc. pulled up from that water that might have built up in the soil is flushed out. You want to do this about once a month. Have that water go through and push out all of the excess buildups that your plant doesn’t need.
Also when you have indoor plants it’s important to not spray all of the foliage. The reason for that is we don’t have any air circulation inside our homes. We don’t have anything to blow the water drops off of these plants. So a lot of times it will sit there on the foliage and bacteria is in the water that is going to get on the leaf. This can cause rot, mold, mildew, and fungal and bacterial infections. It can have a long-term detrimental effect on your plant.
This is why we also don’t recommend just misting your plants. Misting your plants doesn’t count as a watering technique either. It is not really a way to water your houseplants. You can mist the side of a terrarium and that will kind of count as watering a plant.
However, if you have an actual plant, in a pot, just sitting out on your table or your shelves and you mist it; then you just leave that yuck on there it will cause problems. Unless you live in a very hot environment where the water is going to evaporate very quickly or have fans blowing like in a greenhouse. Then this will get the water drops off and it will create that air circulation. It will create a good healthy environment that our plants can thrive in.
A couple of safety tips to keep in mind when you are watering your plants. If you are going to put your plants together all in one tray in order to water them; you want to make sure that they are not going to be sharing whatever pests they have. Make sure your plants are pest-free.
Another thing to keep in mind is that if one plant has root rot; you put it in with a whole bunch of other plants in a tub they could end up sharing the root rot. Some plants will be perfectly fine and be able to fight it off. If you have a weaker plant with a lot of damage then that plant could end up getting root rot like your first plant as well. So you just want to keep that in mind to always be checking your plants. Keep an eye on them while you’re watering them.
Specifically, the pest that you need to worry about most when you are bottom watering is Root Mealies. Root Mealies will spread from one plant to another. Those eggs will come out of one pot and they will float up to be absorbed into other pots. Granted it may not be very much and may just be one or two eggs but if it is left untreated and unnoticed for long periods of time; there can be an entire collection that can be taken down. It is pretty unfortunate. I have seen it happen where multiple plants have been taken down by the same type of pest that was shared through the water like this.
So if you are bottom watering your plants make sure you are changing out that water regularly.
If you are watering your plants with water that has been sitting around for long periods of time there could be bugs, larva, or bacteria built up in that. So try not to water your plants with stagnant water as well just to prevent those issues.
Watering your plants can seem really complicated and it can seem really simple depending on where you’re looking at it. It is really not super intricate. It is just all about reading your plant’s cues and hopefully, this gave you some answers as to how your plant works;why it does what it does so that you can have healthier happier plant life.