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When To Bottom Water Plants? Ideal watering times


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Bottom watering is a technique, which helps in distributing water evenly throughout the Soil structure. However, if done at the wrong time during the day it can reduce the time it takes to bottom water as well as the watering intervals.

The best time to bottom water plants is during early mornings, late evenings, and at nights. Bottom watering during the day (between 10 am to 4pm) can reduce the time it takes for the water to soak into the soil. Bottom watering should be done when the soil is dry for best results.

A controlled environment like inside a house or bathroom is recommended.

In this article, we will share when is the best time to bottom water plants and what are the factors that affect bottom watering so you can effectively apply it to your plants.

The Best Time For Bottom Watering: 

When to bottom water plants

The best to bottom water your plants are:

Mornings Between 7 – 9 am:

Watering your plant from the bottom up in the morning is a perfect time. Watering early in the morning will not burn the surface of plants. 

According to the Horticulture and Pest News of Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, the following are the benefits of bottom watering in the morning:

Little Evaporation

In the morning, the roots soak water completely without the fear of evaporation. Because the weather is almost cool in the morning between 7-9 am. 

With the absence of heat, no evaporation occurs. The water is completely soaked up by roots.

Prepare Plant

Bottom watering in the early morning (7-9 am) is the best time to prepare your plant for the coming day. It provides plants with enough water to bear the hot day waiting ahead.

Boosts Plant Activity

It also boosts plant activity by providing enough moisture to it. It aids in retaining water fast.

Prevent The Attack of Pests

No doubt, watering your plant early morning prevents harmful diseases because no water is left in plant pots, leaving enough moisture on the soil.

Regulate Humidity

In the morning, the temperature is cool which helps in maintaining favorable humidity for plants to survive.

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Late Evenings After 5 pm:

Sometimes, we don’t have enough time to bottom water in the morning. So, it can be done in the evening. 

Bottom watering in the evening also helps in the replenishment of plants. 

It’s not bad for your plant to water it in the late evening.  Bottom watering in the late evening after 5 pm has also some benefits. 

Following are a few benefits of bottom watering in the late evening:

Less Water is Lost

Bottom watering in the evening lets the plant utilize the maximum water instead of losing it in the surroundings. 

During the early (between 9 AM – 10 AM) and late evening hours (5 PM – 6 PM),  the rate of evaporation is low. 

As a result, minimum water is lost in the air in the form of water vapors to cool down the plant. 

The water evenly reaches all parts of the plant with little evaporation. 

Sustained Moisture 

If the evaporation rate is moderate, the plant can get all the essential moisture according to its needs. 

Therefore, if you bottom water your plants during evening hours, the plants will sustain more moisture. 

What is Bottom Watering?

Bottom watering plants infographic

Bottom Watering at Night:

According to the research of Dr. Kim D. coder from the University of Georgia, the best time to water the plants starts from 10 PM till morning. 

Because the water provided to plants is effectively used by them during these hours. 

It’s a myth that you can not water your plants at night. Watering plants at night has its own pros. Down below, we have written a few of them:

  1. Bottom watering at night is an optimal time both for the gardener and for the plants because during the night no or little evaporation occurs.

    So, if you are habitual to water your plants at night, bottom watering is your ideal choice.

    The plants need a little amount of water at night and bottom watering ensures that you don’t overwater your plants. 
  1. One of the greatest benefits is that it helps to prevent diseases and pests, which usually attack plants during the night due to wet foliage.

    Putting water on the foliage of a plant is not involved in bottom watering that’s why foliage remains dry. 

Bottom watering targets the roots. At night the temperature is lower as compared to the temperature of the day.

With bottom watering, the leaves remain dry and the roots uniformly circulate the water to leaves and other various parts of the plants.

Factors That Affect Bottom Watering:

Similar to top watering, there are a handful of factors that can affect bottom watering.

Additionally, the location you choose to keep and bottom water plants can have an effect on how fast the water evaporates from the soil and how often you may have to repeat the process, which is something to keep in mind.

Below, we have briefly explained a few of them:

Humidity: 

According to a research article written by an associate research scientist and [rofessor, Theodore W. Tibbitts, from the Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin, humidity is directly concerned with stomatal gates and the rate of the transpirational pull of plants. 

Humidity is responsible for maintaining the water potential of plants. Low humidity levels increase the rate of transpiration that means an increase in the loss of water. 

In short, humidity indirectly adds moisture to the environment. Humidity is also responsible for taking in the water in plant bodies.

Wind: 

Wind plays an important role in the transpiration of plants. As more wind blows, plants transpire more in the reaction which opens the stomata gates, and water is transpired out through them. 

Transpiration is responsible for losing almost 90 percent of water through the plant body. With bottom watering, the water from the roots goes to the stem and the leaves. 

 When the heavy wind blows for a long time, it harms the plant by losing more water from leaves. Which results in wilting. 

Sunlight: 

Evaporation is directly proportional to heat. Sunlight makes the water molecule evaporate faster, thus, the rate of evaporation increases. 

The more the heat, the more water molecules will evaporate. 

Higher the sunlight higher the evaporation, lower the sunlight lower the rate of evaporation. 

That’s why it is preferred to water your plant in the morning because the rate of evaporation is slow. Sunlight controls the gates of stomata. 

Stomata help plants to transpire water. 

Transpiration (loss of water in the form of water vapor) has a direct link with temperature and the temperature is controlled by the sunlight.

When Not To Bottom Water:

The following hours aren’t considered ideal for bottom watering plants:

Midday

Bottom watering plants during midday will not hurt the plant but it can cause some little trouble. 

When you bottom water a plant during the peak hours of sunlight, water evaporates faster as compared to morning and evening. 

With the rise of 18°F of temperature, the amount of water lost by plants doubles. Water evaporates quickly before it can reach the various parts of plants. 

That is why it is not recommended to bottom water your plants during middays.

On Hot Days

On hot days, there is excess sunlight and the soil is too warm. The water evaporates faster from hot soil leaving behind the soil dry.  

When watering a plant during a hot environment, the water will spread in plant organs, but due to excess heat, this water will start evaporating from the leaves of plants. 

The water which you gave has now evaporated. In short, watering plants during hot days is of no use. 

How Long Should You Let Plants Sit in Water?

If you regularly water your plant, 5-15 minutes of bottom watering is enough on average. 

If your plant is very thirsty because you have not watered it for days or weeks, place it in water for more than 15 minutes. 

After taking the plant out of the water, place it in an empty basin to get rid of excess water which is absorbed by the soil.

Another good way to know when to take out the plant from the water is by observing the topsoil. 

When you see that the topsoil has become damp or moist, take out your plant pot from the water tub. 

JayLea

JayLea has a passion for plants and has been gardening since 2015. He has valuable knowledge about gardening and houseplant care and can answer everyday practical questions that every plant owner has.

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