Tips & Tricks

Top or Bottom Watering?

A woman watering her new Rooted plants on a table with books and a Rooted box. The backdrop is a large blue and white painting.

There are different methods for watering plants, each with their own benefits. So, are you a top or bottom waterer? Learn the differences and how to practice both in 3 easy steps. Once you have all the details, you can decide what works best for you and your collection.

Overhead Watering 💦

This is the most common method for watering indoor houseplants. It’s a great way to control the amount of water your plant is receiving, and also helps to flush out excess minerals that may have built up in the soil over time.

  • Pour water slowly over the top soil in circular motions until it drips out the bottom drainage hole.
  • Toss out any standing water in the drainage tray.
  • Repeat when the plant is ready for its next watering.

Sometimes, water can spill right out before being properly soaked up by the roots, especially in plastic pots. Be sure to use enough water to ensure your soil is saturated. When watering from above, do your best not to wet your foliage (unless you're watering a bromeliad). This can encourage leaf spot infections or create waterlogged spots.

A cylindrical snake plant potted in a forest green planter being watered with a yellow watering can.

Bottom Watering 🌊

Bottom watering, also known as reverse watering, is a great technique to use so long as all your planters have drainage holes. This method works particularly well for plants in plastic nursery pots or terracotta

  • Grab a large drainage tray and fill it with water or fill your bathtub, creating a shallow pool.
  • Set your pot in the water, allowing the roots and soil to drink what they need through the drainage holes.
  • Check back every 10-15 minutes, and remove from the water when the top soil is moist to the touch.

Keep in mind that you may have to add more water as you go. This method may require a little extra time and attention than the former, but once you're done, you'll have a fully-quenched plant until it's time for its next drink.

A large bird of paradise plant in a white bathtub.
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