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Pro Houseplants Watering Techniques

By Staff Writer
Share to PinterestPro Houseplants Watering Techniques

You don't have to be an expert gardener to keep vibrant foliage in your home. With the right plant species in suitable conditions, all you need is a proper watering technique. Some plant species flourish in evenly moist soil, while others prefer to dry out considerably before rewatering.

Light levels, plant health, and the pot you use also affect how your greenery stays hydrated. By getting to know your houseplants and recognizing their warning signs, you'll keep them leafy and vibrant.


Keep it simple with top watering

Share to Pinterestwoman watering her house plant

Moisten the soil evenly around the base of your plant with a watering can, filling the pot to the brim. Let the water recede and repeat the process until water pours freely from the drainage holes into the saucer. Dump excess water after 30 minutes to ensure the roots are fully hydrated but not waterlogged.

Top watering is best for most plants — especially those with shallow roots, like pansies, petunias, succulents, and cacti. In general, keep the water focused on the soil and away from the leaves if you use this method.


Start from the bottom

Some plants, like African violets, don't like their leaves wet. Others prefer to dry out in between deep waterings, like string of pearls and cast iron plants. Bottom water these specimens by setting them in a container with a few inches of water. Allow the moisture to draw upward into the roots for about 10 minutes, and let them drain before returning them to their posts.

Remember to top water and flood these plants about once a month to flush minerals and impurities from the soil.


Let gravity do the work

Share to Pinterestwater globe watering an ivy houseplant

Leaving town for any reason can be stressful if you don't have a plant sitter. Water globes are perfect for gardeners on the go since they can keep your favorite houseplants hydrated for up to two weeks. You simply fill the glass bulb with water through a long stem, then flip it upside down and insert it into the soil.

Terra cotta stakes work similarly, leeching water into the dirt through the clay. These work best for plants that prefer consistently moist soil, such as prayer plants, begonias, and elephant ears.


Find a self-watering pot

Share to Pinterestself-watering planter on a kitchen counter

Some watering systems help you keep a plant hydrated without directly wetting the soil. Self-watering flowerpots, for example, work by absorbing moisture from a water reservoir at the bottom into an upper compartment — where the roots and soil are. These pots are perfect for foliage that prefers evenly moist but not soggy soil.

Plants like African violets, pothos varieties, and orchids thrive in self-watering pots, which also help prevent root rot.


Say goodbye to dirt

Share to Pinteresthand holding a small plant grown with hydroponics

Hydroponics is the process of growing plants without soil. Whether you use clay pebbles as a medium or submerge your plant's roots in a vase of clean water, it's possible to grow healthy greenery in only H2O—plus some nutrients, of course.

Place your foliage in decorative vases or jars and enjoy them for a week before changing the water to prevent root rot. Varieties that thrive in hydroponic environments include the Peace Lily, Snake Plant, leafy greens, and herbs.


Build an entire ecosystem

Share to Pinterestenclosed terrarium in a large bottle

Tropical and moisture-loving foliage can be a challenge for indoor arrangements. Closed terrariums are the stylish solution to providing these exotic plants with the warmth and humidity they need. The enclosure works like a greenhouse, forming a mini ecosystem that, once established, requires very little watering.

You'll have to monitor the soil's moisture content and watch out for condensation and mold, but the results are breathtaking. Gray artillery plants, nerve plants, and ferns work beautifully in terrariums.

Check out our terrarium tips in this article!


Give your greenery a bath

Share to Pinterestair plants having a bath for hydration

Soaking in a bath doesn't just help humans relieve stress. It also enables thirsty houseplants to rehydrate. Air plants don't absorb water through their root systems. They take in all the water and nutrients they need through their leaves.

To ensure your air plants remain healthy and hydrated, soak them in a bowl of fertilized room temperature water for 20 to 60 minutes every 7 to 10 days. The soaking technique is also ideal for kokedama, a hanging plant with its root ball wrapped in moss.


Put a wick in it

Share to Pinterestfour plants being watered using the wick method

A wick watering system is an easy and budget-friendly technique to help prevent underwatering. To set a plant up while you're out of town, place one end of a cotton rope, twine, or strip of fabric into a water reservoir. The other end of the material gets buried about two inches deep into the potting soil, absorbing moisture into the medium as needed.

Wick watering isn't just a temporary solution. Install water reservoirs in hanging baskets during the summer to keep plants like geraniums and lipstick vines from becoming too dry.


Schedule a plant shower

Share to Pinterestplants in bathtub for watering

If you need help confronting your vast collection of houseplants, look no further than your shower. Most indoor specimens will tolerate a sprinkling of water if they're in a container with drainage holes.

Close the drain in your tub to trap a couple of inches of water, and let your greenery soak for no more than one hour. Showers are best for plants like the ficus, monstera varieties, and prayer plants, which prefer moist soil and enjoy humidity.


Bring technology into the mix

Share to Pinteresthouseplants using an automated watering system technology

Automatic watering systems are the next frontier in houseplant healthcare. A central water pump connects to potted plants via rubber tubes, pulling water from a reservoir—such as a five-gallon bucket—to keep plants hydrated for months at a time.

Some models work with mobile apps so you can set programs for each plant and monitor them from anywhere. Watering systems are best for all species, though you might want to reconsider using them with sensitive plants that would suffer in the event of a power or water outage.



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