We all love our green friends and know that watering is essential for their growth and survival, but have you ever wondered why water should drain out of the bottom of your plant? While people swear by bottom-watering as a way to avoid overwatering, fungus, and pesky gnats, others water just enough to dampen the soil and roots. Both methods will cause problems down the line.
While bottom-watering and superficial soaks are fine sometimes, it's very important to fully water your plants regularly and let excess H2O flow out of the pot's bottom.
Well, let's break it down!
4 Reasons to Top-Water Your Plants
Watering your plant from the top soil until water drains out the bottom of the pot is so important. Further, the excess water should be removed from the drainage saucer promptly after watering. Here are 4 reasons why this is so important for healthy houseplants.
1. Flushing Salts and Minerals Helps Maintain Proper Soil pH
Firstly, the pH level of your soil is essential for your plant's health. Constant bottom-watering or superficial soaks can change the pH level of your soil over time due to the accumulation of salts and minerals. Without periodic flushing of the soil, your plant will experience nutrient deficiencies and other problems down the line. Therefore, watering fully is important to regulate the pH level of the soil and ensure that your plants have access to the nutrients they need to grow.
2. Root Rot
Second, letting water drain out of the bottom of your plant prevents root rot. This is more common in plants set in pots without drainage holes. Nobody wants their plants to die a slow, soggy death! When water accumulates at the bottom of the pot (as can happen with bottom-watering), it creates a stagnant environment that can suffocate your plant's roots and lead to rotting. So, let's give our plants some breathing room and make sure excess water doesn't sit in the soil.
Preventing soil gnats without bottom watering
While bottom-watering can be an effective solution for a short time (during hot summer months), it's not advantageous for your plant to continuously bottom water. Read more about organic gnat prevention strategies.
3. Provides Adequate Oxygen
Third, allowing water to drain out of the bottom of your pot helps provide your plant with adequate oxygen. Yep, oxygen is necessary for the roots of plants to breathe, just like humans need to breathe oxygen to survive . Without access to it, your plant's roots will begin to suffocate and cause a variety of issues, including stunted growth and root rot. Enhance this feature even more by performing periodic soil aeration.
4. Gives Full Access to Nutrition
Fully watering your plants from the top of the soil also helps with nutrient uptake from fertilizer. When you water your plants, the water flows down through the soil and carries nutrients from the fertilizer with it. This allows all the roots to absorb the nutrients and promote healthy growth. If you only bottom-water or water superficially, the water may not reach all the roots and the nutrients from the fertilizer may not be distributed evenly. Therefore, it's important to water your plants fully from the top of the soil to ensure that they are receiving the nutrients they need to thrive.
Watering your plant fully, until you see ample water draining out the bottom of the pot, is the proper way to water.
Allowing water to drain out of the bottom of your plant is crucial for healthy growth. It helps maintain soil pH and nutrient access, prevents root rot, and provides for adequate oxygen flow. While bottom watering can be useful for some plants, it's important to ensure that excess water is allowed to drain out of the pot to avoid problems down the road. So the next time you water your plants, be sure to let the water drain out of the bottom of the pot, and you'll be rewarded with healthy, thriving plants.