How Long To Bottom Water Plants?


So you wanted to let your plants to bottom water? but you don’t know how long do you bottom water plants?

Keep reading we have covered everything you needed to know in this post.

Every person who loves plants has at least once overwatered their beloved green friends. Sometimes we over-water our greeneries in an effort to prevent them from becoming dehydrated.

The roots require water, no doubt, but they also need time to breathe. Fortunately, bottom watering or reverse watering plants give you the best result: you can prevent them from drowning while also avoiding submerging them.

You may have heard from experienced plant owners that bottom watering is beneficial and one of the best ways to hydrate your plants. However, it is also essential to know how long to bottom water plants.

It’s simple to learn how to bottom water plants, and we’ll teach you all you need to know. However, it is also essential to know how long to leave them in the water. Therefore, in this article, we will discuss how long your potted plants need to be left in the water while using the bottom watering technique.

Let’s jump in.

How To Properly Bottom Water Plants? And Does Bottom Watering Work?

woman watering her plants
Photo by cottonbro on

In order to bottom water the plants, you will have to consider two essential requirements:

  • First, make sure the pot is light enough for you to lift and transport. Remember that the plant will get heavy when the soil is soaked if you can hardly move it when it is dry. It’s advised to leave a heavy plant and planter where it is and use a jug or can as a substitute if you’re working with one.
  • The second requirement is that the container must have drainage holes at the bottom. Before placing the plant pot in the liquid, you must remove it off the tray. This cannot be done with planters that have permanently connected drainage trays or cachepots without any drainage.
  • Check if your plant needs additional watering before you begin. To check the moisture content of the soil, stick your finger into it or if you have one, you can use a moisture meter.  Water can be placed in a bathtub, sink, big bucket, or another comparable container. It can work as long as it is large enough to accommodate your plant container. Here are the steps for bottom watering the plants:
  • Fill the container with warm water to start. If you are in a region where municipal water is chlorinated or fluoridated, it is better to use distilled or filtered water. Put enough in it so that it will extend at least an inch over the base of the tub or container.
  • Add fertilizer if necessary right away.
  • The water must be at least an inch above any drainage material, such as pebbles or broken pottery, that may be located in the bottom of the pot. And wait for the needed amount of time which will be discussed just now.

How Long Do You Bottom Water Plants?

hands watering the chinese money plant
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on

If you want to attempt bottom-watering, it’s actually fairly easy. Pour some room-temperature water into a bowl or saucer, and if necessary, add some fertilizer.

From this point, you can just put the plant in a large container and wait for around 15 minutes. However, the time depends on the plant type and soil. Keep in mind that the larger pots will require more time. you sometimes need top-water plants to wash out excess salts that might build up in the soil.

Don’t let your plants stay in water continually because this can cause root rot. Therefore, it is important to have them placed in the water until you feel the top of the soil getting moist. Once the top gets moist (but not wet) you can remove the plant from the container.

Remember that Terra Cotta material pots will require more water since they absorb it along with the soil. Allow the plant to remain for around ten minutes to drain after draining or dumping away any excess.

If you live in the container longer, the soil will keep taking up more moisture and will eventually become soggy. The plus of bottom watering is that if you remove the pot on time, the plant will get the exact amount of hydration that it needs and the threat of root rot is eliminated.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Bottom Watering

how long should i bottom water my plants
Photo by cottonbro on

Just like everything else, bottom watering comes with its pros and cons. If done improperly, it can lead to some major problems.

However, If it is done properly, then it will definitely make your plants happy. Here is a small table which shows clearly the advantages and disadvantages of bottom watering.

Advantages Of Bottom WateringDisadvantages Of Bottom Watering
Soil take the amount of water that is neededSalts stay trapped in the soil
Plant are protected from pestsHaving less control over watering
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Advantages Of Bottom Watering

Soil Takes The Amount Of Water That Is Needed

A wonderful approach to hydrate your plant without letting extra water pool at the bottom of the pot is to bottom water it. You won’t overwater your plant if you water it from the bottom and never let it stand in water for longer than 15 minutes. In addition, you may check the soil’s moisture level by letting it drip for a further five minutes after you remove it from the water.

Plants Are Protected From The Pests

Bottom watering has the additional benefit of keeping the top part of the soil dry. You may protect your plant from insects, fungus, and other pests by covering the top layer of soil with a dry layer of dirt.

All of these pests are drawn to moisture and do their best in a humid environment. The atmosphere is less favorable for these pests when you use the bottom watering technique on your plant.

Disadvantages Of Bottom Watering

Salts stay trapped in the soil

The inability to effectively remove salts from dirt is the first and major drawback of bottom watering. When you hydrate plants with top watering, excess fertilizer salts are drained to the pot’s bottom in addition to the plant’s water needs.

You may use water to hydrate your plant and clean the area around it by utilizing your pot or container with a drainage hole, which is highly recommended.

Unfortunately, you’ll never completely remove the salts if you consistently bottom water your plant. For this reason, combining top and bottom watering is a terrific idea. Combining the two methods of watering ensures that your plant receives the right amount of moisture while also sanitizing the area around it.

Having less control over watering

The second disadvantage of bottom watering is that the soil may absorb more liquid than it needs if left too long and it can become too soggy. If you’re using the proper dirt type for your plant, there must not be a problem.

However, if you are growing a cactus on soil that isn’t meant for cacti, then bottom watering may harm the plant and even cause overwatering. When watering the plants with the top watering, you have far more control over the quantity of moisture you provide it.

Bottom Line : How Long Should I Bottom Water My Plants

Bottom watering comes with its benefits and ensures that the soil is moist since it occasionally causes water to go straight through the pot, which can prevent plants from developing robust root systems. It’s also an excellent choice for indoor plants that don’t appreciate having damp foliage. Some claim that it can also aid in the prevention of bothersome insects like fungus gnats.

It is important to correctly bottom water your plant and this includes having them placed in the water for a specific amount of time. Typically, plants will need to be bottom watered for up to 15 minutes. However, the time depends on various factors such as the pot size, plant type, and soil texture. 

Peride Beradze
Peride is an avid planter, Tour Manager and freelance writer. She is a plant collector who mainly focuses on succulents. She loves studying cultures, traveling and learning new languages.

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