Watering succulents is one of the trickiest parts of taking care of them, especially for novice gardeners. Luckily, there's a method called "Bottom Watering" that ensures people give just a sufficient amount of water for them to stay happy and healthy.
So today, in this article, we will share everything you need to know and as well as how to perform it.
WHAT IS BOTTOM WATERING
This is a technique of watering plants from the bottom up, which makes their roots get stronger since they’ll always be growing directly down toward the moisture. Additionally, performing this technique allows the water to be evenly distributed and that the moisture in the potting soil will always reach all the way to the bottom of your plants’ roots.
How you do it
- First, prepare a tray or a large basin, and fill it up with water. If your potted succulent is filled with just soil, then any water level will do, though putting more will help the moisture reach the top of your soil faster. However, if it got some drainage rocks at the bottom of your planter, then the water level needs to be higher than the rocks. Doing this will allow the soil to absorb the water from your tray or basin.
- Place the potted succulent in and make sure that it’s sitting straight in the water before leaving it alone for about 5-15 minutes or whenever you see that the soil is moist all the way to the top.
- Allow your succulents to hang out for a few minutes to drain the excess water out, in order to avoid root rot.
When to apply Bottom Watering
There are actually a few methods in watering your succulents, and you can try each one to see which one works out best for you. But to give you a clearer idea, you can use the “Bottom Watering” technique for your succulents when:
First is when you realize top-watering your plants doesn't work because the soil cannot absorb water. There are 2 main reasons for this: either your soil is hydrophobic or your succulent is root-bound.
- So what is hydrophobic soil? Hydrophobic soil occurs when the soil, often contains peat moss gets so dry and compact that it starts to repel water. Here is what happens when your soil become hydrophobic: the water just go right through the drainage hole. Nothing remains in the soil. In this case, bottom watering is very effective to fix dry soil. However, it's best to prevent soil from turning hydrophobic by paying attention to your watering frequency so your soil doesn't become that dry.
- The second reason is that your succulents might have started to become root-bound, or there isn't much soil left to retain the moisture when giving them a drink. So if this happens, you will notice that the water will just go straight down to the drainage hole you try to top-water your succulents.
Another situation you might prefer bottom watering is if you live in a very humid climate, where spraying water on the foliage may lead to rotting your succulent. Also, some succulents are quite sensitive and when top-watering, the bacteria and fungus in the soil could fly into the leaves and cause damage to your succulents. Often during summer or in a dry climate, this wouldn't be a problem since the soil dry out quickly and succulents have better air circulation. But in winter or in area with high humidity, it could be troublesome. Under this condition, it is best to use bottom watering to prevent anything from getting on your succulents' leaves and potentially spread disease or bacteria.
Some other reasons succulents growers might prefer bottom-watering over top-watering are: One, they're worried the water will wash away the beautiful farina on the succulents leaves. Two, with succulents growing in tight cluster like string of pearl or string of dolphin, even with a moisture meter, sometimes it's hard to determine whether the soil has dried out or not. So to avoid over-watering issue, you can leave them bone-dry and bottom water them.
Although other watering methods are easier, bottom watering your succulents at least once a month has a lot of advantages. Plus, it is an excellent way to prevent common problems to occur, especially to plants that are not often transplanted.
For detail guide on How and when you should bottom water your succulents, you can watch our video below:
See more about Water propagation for Succulents
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