The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

It is said that watering houseplants from below and draining is preferable to watering from above . Why? If liquid plant food is applied is can it be given at the same time as water uptake is taking place?


By Hhhhh

United Kingdom Gb



Hello Hhhhh, Some plants (African Violets for one) don't like to get their leaves wet so watering from the bottom is preferred for that reason. With so many variables concerning liquid fertilizers it's hard to give a pat answer to your question.Like Marguerite says, it's best to follow the directions that come with it or read up on the plant you want to apply it to. Hope this helps.

29 Nov, 2008


I guess I am in the same reply mode as the ones above. This also applies to the cacti I grow. Once in a while --during the growing season this helps. NOT NOW. Using rain water or non-chlorinated water and soaking is good, then draining the plants may drain some of the salts your overhead watering has added to the soil. Put some feet under the pot to let it drain.IMO, this is not the time to do it.

I would not put in a fertilizer, aside from some B-1 or Oxygen Plus if the plant is in trouble. This is done for leaching purposes only. As Gardengnome said some plants do not like to get their leaves wet. He is correct.

I try to water such plants only on warm sunny days (say orchids) at a time their foliage can dry off before dusk. In our declining solar hours this is very important.

House temperature water is good too. My tap delivered water is in the 40's I allow it to warm up in watering jugs before using. .

Aside from some organics such as greensand, kelp, fish I would stay away from chemical fertilizers until spring.

OOPS, the why of it. When you saturate a container plant from the bottom and then let it drain, it also draws oxygen to the root system.Sort of like lungs, a Heimlich maneuver. This is with total submersion.You push the old air in the pot upwards (bubbles will be seen) and when you drain the pot new air is drawn downward. I hope this makes sense.

Simply sitting a plant in a tray and watering from that one inch saucer is not the same thing. Stagnant water can actually be more harmful than watering from above. Putting some pea gravel in those saucers will help.

Basics as already suggested. Avoid watering the leaves of certain plants.
Use warm water when you can.
Ise unclorinated or rain whatever when you can.
Once or twice yearly douche your plants entirely in a container and let drain. This in the summer.
Lower or stop fertilizing in the winter months.

Change your soil, maybe every two years.

Hope that helped.

30 Nov, 2008


Hi there Hhhhh, it all depends on the plants you have, in general they do like to be watered from the bottom, and the best way to do this is to stand them in an inch or two of water allow them to take it up and then drain off any access water, so that they are not standing in water for any length of time and surface of the soil is not wet, the reason for this is because damp soil surface can cause damp rot and a whole host of other problems.- the worst thing you can do to any house plant is over water it! and watering from the bottom you are less likely to do this, there are some house plants that prefer water from the top or on the leaves but generally speaking watering from the bottom if you are unsure would be your safest bet most house plants will respond well to the odd dose of baby bio, or something simular, but it is really hard to give you more detailed care instructions without knowing what plants you have, because they all like different conditions, and care while watering and feeding, if you don't know the name add some pictures if you can and we will be able to better advise you.

30 Nov, 2008

How do I say thanks?

Answer question

Related photos

  • Amaryllis
  • Ferns in the Loft
  • Pelargonium........ (pelargonium.)
  • Mini Double Close Up (Saintpaulia ionantha)

Related blogs


Related questions

Not found an answer?