4 Plant Watering Methods: Which is Best For My Plants?
What are the different plant watering methods?
- Watering can method
- Bottom watering method
- Gradual flow method
“How often should this plant be watered?” “How do I know if it needs more water?”. To answer all your concerns about your new pots of nature and how to ensure they’re well-watered, you should understand the basics — specifically, the different plant watering methods.
Every new plant parent needs to know to take good care of their new plant babies. This is especially important for indoor plants that depend on ample watering. It can get a bit complicated, but our guide on the different plant watering methods. and how to use them can help you get it right!
Misting is more of a supplementary care technique. Many plant types like ferns, bromeliads, philodendrons, and the like — thrive with some good misting in addition to regular watering methods.
If your plants come from the tropics, then it’s likely they need misting. These plants require adequate levels of humidity, and if they’re in places like your office, then the air around them may be too dry. If so, give them a good misting. The surrounding air will be more humid — and it can remove built-up dust on plants with shiny foliage.
Be careful though, as repeatedly misting your plants may reduce their lifespan. Take note of how much water is pooling on their leaves. If there’s a significant amount, hold back on misting. Too much humidity and moisture can cause fungus to form and damage your plant, and can even attract pests.
Watering Can Method
This is one of the most well-known, well-used, and simplest methods of watering. While the watering can method is quick and easy to do, it can be less accurate than other techniques.
Always be careful to avoid overwatering when using a watering can. To make it more accurate, pick a watering can that can disperse the water rather than letting it out through one spout.
Bottom Watering Method
Also known as the sink bath and the immersion method, this is only usable for plants in pots with drainage holes. This involves soaking the bottom of the pot and allowing the plant to draw up water as needed.
There are a few ways to go about bottom watering:
- Using a pot saucer, tray, or container — fill up the container with fresh water, and submerge the potted plants. Let them absorb for a few hours, or until they stop absorbing any water. Empty the container and allow the pots to drip dry before placing them back in their spots.
- Using a self-watering pot — these have water reservoirs attached to the pot. They are incredibly time-saving, and all you need is to refill the reservoir before it’s empty (consumption varies case by case).
Always be sure to allow excess water from the bottom of the pots to drip away to prevent overwatering or rotting.
This method carries a risk of spreading diseases or pests if you’re watering multiple plants in the same water or container. Always double-check your plants’ health before using this method. Otherwise, use separate watering containers.
Gradual Flow Method
This method of watering may be ideal for those who are out of their homes quite often for work or travel. The gradual flow watering method uses apparatus to release small amounts of water into your plant’s pot over time.
These tools can be bought in plant stores, and often look like colorful glass bulbs with a stem. These are filled with water, and the stem is inserted into the soil to gradually feed water for the plant.
You can also make gradual flow tools at home. All you need is a clean and empty plastic water bottle and a sharp knife. Perforate the bottle around the neck by poking a few holes. Fill this plastic bottle with water near the brim, and screw the cap back on. Turn the bottle upside down and insert the neck into the dirt. The water will slowly flow from the holes you made.
Which Watering Method is Best for My Plant?
The answer to this isn’t simple — each plant you own will have its own needs and preferences when it comes to watering. Even two pots of the same type of plant could do well with different watering methods.
The key to picking the best method for your plant comes from practice and observance. Does using a watering can make you overwater your peace lily? You could try using bottom watering instead. There isn’t a hard and fast rule to follow, aside from avoiding over or underwatering.
How Much Should I Be Watering My Plant?
How much water you should be giving to your plants depends on several factors:
- The plant itself — some plants are naturally adapted to receiving less water. One indicator of this is if they have fleshy, thick leaves, showing they can store water. If the leaves are thin or numerous then they will have less tolerance for underwatering and may need more watering sessions than other plants.
- The time of the year — temperature and humidity levels change throughout the year, even in tropical countries like the Philippines. In cooler and wetter weather (such as the rainy season), you can expect your plants to need less water than usual.
- The environment — light exposure, airflow, and other environmental factors affect the need for water. If the area your plant is in receives direct sunlight and is a bit dry, then it might need frequent watering.
- The pot size and material — a large plant in a small pot will need much more water than a small plant in a big pot. If the plant roots are filling up most of the pot, there is less capacity for water. The opposite is also true. Porous pot materials like clay wick water away from the soil, so this means you may need to water the plant more frequently.
One of the best ways to check if your plant needs some water is by checking its soil. Stick your finger about an inch into the soil — does it feel dry or damp? If it’s dry, then give it more water. If it feels damp, then wait another day or two before watering again.
Watering is one of the most fundamental parts of taking care of your plant. Knowing the plant watering methods and how to tell whether your plant needs more or less water is key to keeping them in good condition.
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