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Woman's smart hack for watering plants is so simple yet brilliant

Experts say that this watering technique is far better than the traditional watering method, especially for potted houseplants.

Woman's smart hack for watering plants is so simple yet brilliant
Representative Cover Image Source: Pexels | Huy Phan

Caring for plants, whether indoor or outdoor, might seem easy, but it actually requires a lot of knowledge and hard work. Ensuring they stay healthy involves both aesthetics and diligent care. When Hilda (@0broomhilda0) from Florida noticed that the heat was rapidly drying out her houseplants, she adopted a clever watering hack. In 2020, she shared this hack on TikTok, and the video quickly went viral.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Minan1398
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Minan1398

Hilda, a plant lover and artist, realized her plants were thirsty by checking the soil, which was dry. In her #planttok video, she is seen using an unconventional watering method. Instead of watering the plants from the top with a spray can, she dipped each planter into a glass bucket half-filled with water. The planters, which had 3 to 4 holes at the bottom, allowed the roots to absorb water directly.

The video has been viewed by 4.6 million people and liked by over 620,000. @emfvrst commented, “Wait why have I never watered my plants like this I’m obsessed!” @adrieem affirmed that they had “heard this is the right way to water plants.” Australian comedian and content creator, Christian Hull (@christianmhull) exclaimed in a comment, “STOP. I feel like I’ve just learned a really high-level gardening secret.”

Image Source: TikTok | @_vampirehaechan6
Image Source: TikTok | @_vampirehaechan6

Many users even asked Hilda questions like “How long do you leave the plants inside the water?” and “How do you know when to remove the plants from the water?” Subsequently, Hilda shared several videos showing the same clip explaining the process in more detail. One video is a close-up and slowed-down version of the watering clip. In another follow-up video, she shared the explanation behind this hack, tagging it as #bottomwatering. “Once the roots are done drinking, the water will stop going down, that’s when I remove the plant from the water. And then toss the water!”

Image Source: TikTok | @anafroze
Image Source: TikTok | @anafroze

As it turns out, “bottom watering” is a popular trend among gardeners and plant owners. It is something of a “middle way between underwatering and overwatering.” According to GardeningSG, a Singapore government agency website, “Bottom watering is a technique in which plant pots are semi-submerged in water for up to an hour to allow the soil to soak up moisture via a pot’s drainage holes.”

Bottom watering works by capillary action, where dry soil soaks up water until it reaches the “point of saturation.” The water is absorbed upwards until the soil is moist.

Image Source: TikTok | @healyourselfwithnature
Image Source: TikTok | @healyourselfwithnature

Many experts believe that this method of watering plants is much more effective than the traditional top-watering technique. Kate Ferguson, the co-founder of Flourish, explained to entrepreneur and TV personality Martha Stewart, "Watering from the bottom is a great way to ensure plants are taking up the appropriate amount of water and allowing even distribution to the plant."



According to The Spruce, bottom watering has several benefits. First, water is better absorbed. Second, it ensures the entire potting medium gets saturated, leading to stronger root systems. Third, it is a more controlled method, preventing overwatering. Lastly, it discourages fungus gnats from laying eggs on the moist surface.



Martha Stewart quoted plant doctor Chris Satch saying that this method is simple to implement. All one needs is a shallow dish, saucer, tub, or bucket, and fill it with water. Put the pot, with a drainage hole, into the container. Let the soil soak in the water for about 10 minutes up to an hour, until air bubbles start appearing. Take out the potted plants and let them drip dry.


But what are the best plants for this method of watering? Ferguson explains, "We love this method for ferns, philodendrons, and pothos plants because they have dense and robust root balls that can take up the water effectively. We wouldn't recommend this method for plants with a bulb, like alocasias." Also, Dr. Satch points out that watering from the base works best for smaller plants or plants in pots that are less than 6 inches in diameter.

You can follow Hilda on TikTok and Instagram for more lifestyle and gardening hacks.

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