> Bottom Watering: Why or why not? – Plant Daddy YQG
Bottom Watering: Why or why not?

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Bottom Watering: Why or why not?

Bottom watering is one of the most common suggestions you'll encounter online -- but what is it, and is it actually as helpful as everyone claims?

Bottom watering (or, hilariously, "butt chugging") is where you place a pot with drainage holes into a larger container that has water in it, and leave it for a while -- generally about 10-15 minutes. Because of capillary action, the water gets drawn up into the soil. Once the top is moist to the touch, you remove the pot, since the soil is equally and thoroughly saturated.

It's often suggested for specific plants with leaves that are prone to rot or discolouration if there's standing water on them -- such as African Violets -- because there's no chance of water getting on the leaves, but it's also often treated as a panacea/cure-all for any watering issues. (If you DO get water on the leaves while watering, you can easily just sit it in front of a fan for a few minutes! That'll resolve any issues, generally.)

It can be helpful, for sure -- but it's not going to be the be-all-end-all. 

The main reason that bottom watering can definitely be helpful: it makes sure that the soil is thoroughly saturated every time you water. This means that you're not only watering part of the root system, you're far less likely to underwater, and because you're not adding extra water after saturation, you're less likely to overwater. (It's still definitely possible -- but a bit harder.)

The biggest downside to bottom watering is just the process and time involved in doing so -- a lot of people with large plants (or large plant collections) will use their bathtub as the bottom receptacle for the pots to sit in, but even still, you need to wait at least 10-15 minutes with each round of pots, and if you have a large plant collection, that time adds up -- whereas, with top watering, I can water my roughly 100 plants in about 15 minutes instead.

There isn't any inherent disadvantage or reason not to bottom water. If that's your preferred method, you do you! Just know that it's not going to cure every problem you have, despite what's written online!

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