Should You Go For Bottom Watering In Terracotta Pots?

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Have you brought a new plant baby? Are you planning to bottom-water your new plant? And overwhelmed due to various pot options? 

If yes, we have your back! Practically all plant parents have gone through a similar situation before initiating bottom watering. The classic terracotta pots can help you. Yes, you heard that right! Bottom watering your plants rather than top-down watering is the most common method. 

Many plant parents wonder, “should I go for bottom-watering my plants in terracotta pots?” Here is the answer.

Yes, you can use terracotta pots for bottom watering your plants. They’re easy to find, cheap, and versatile options for plants. But because they are made of porous soil, it takes a little longer for plants to soak in water completely. Therefore, some gardeners hesitate to use them for bottom watering plants. 

However, the choice is entirely yours! You may use any pot for bottom watering, but if you plan to go for terracotta pots, you have landed on the right page. 

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In this article, you will look at the pros and cons of terracotta pots for bottom-watering and tips for maximum plant growth with terracotta pots.

Bottom watering

Bottom watering is an effective way of watering your houseplants and other potted plants. In this method, plants can sit in water containers to soak water from the containers. The roots soak water and evenly spread it throughout the plant. 

Since the roots are forced to grow downward to reach water, it results in healthy root growth.

Moreover, some plants, especially succulents and African violet, prefer their dry leaves. So bottom watering works best for these plants. In this method, the topsoil remains dry, which inhibits fungus gnats.

Five different ways to bottom water your plants

Now, this is something really interesting. You can bottom water your plants in five different ways. So this method provides you a diversity instead of a monotonous watering routine. All five methods work perfectly fine; you can opt for a method that suits you the best.

1. Bottom watering using a watering tray

It is the most popular and widely used method for bottom watering succulents. jade plant, pothos, and African violets. In this method, you must fill your watering tray with water and place the pot in the tray. In 10-20 minutes, the water gets soaked by the roots and spreads throughout the soil. You can drain excess water from the tray.

2. Use self-watering pots

Another interesting method is using self-watering pots. These pots have water reservoirs at their bottom that wick water into the root system.

3. Use a deep drainage plate

These deep drainage plates are used for thick pots that require higher water levels. The drainage plates are at least a few inches deep. The higher water level makes it easy for thick pots to soak water easily.

4. Use water globes and spikes

This method is used for plants that are at a height, need frequent watering, and are extremely thirsty. So the plant watering globes, also known as aqua globes, constantly provide water sips to your plants. These aqua globes direct water into the root system of plants.

In this method, the top layer of the soil remains dry. Therefore this method is effective against fungus gnats that live in the wet soil near the top layer.

5. LECA semi-hydroponic system.

It is a semi-hydroponic technique in which roots are allowed to settle in Light Expanded Clay Aggregate (LECA) balls. It is a unique bottom-watering technique where the roots sip moisture and other nutrients as the plant requires.

Should you go for bottom watering in terracotta pots?

It depends upon you which kind of pots you want to choose for your plants. Different pots have pros and cons, so you need to choose the pots that fit your requirements, your surroundings, and the types of plants you own. 

For example, bottom watering in plastic pots is quick compared to terracotta pots. The later ones absorb moisture, whereas the plastic pots don’t. So if you are a busy parent, you can go for plastic pots; else, terracotta pots are a good option.

Merits and demerits of terracotta pots

As a parent, you might be in a dilemma regarding the type of planter to use for your plant babies. With various pots available in the market, like plastic pots, terracotta, metallic, ceramic, etc., it might confuse you to choose an appropriate planter for bottom watering. 

Though you may choose any pot, using terracotta pots is inexpensive and convenient for bottom watering your plant compared to other pots. 

However, like any other pot, they have their merits and demerits. Read below to get an insight into the merits and demerits of these pots:

Merits

  • Terracotta pots come with matching saucers and have plenty of drainage holes for water to drain out, preventing soggy soil. These drainage holes prevent soil from retaining too much water.
  • They are durable, easy to clean, and do not need to be watered as often as other pots. 
  • You can use these pots indoors as well as outdoors. This feature is super useful for plants that need warmth in winters and colder environments during summers. 
  • They are cost-effective. You can add umpteen plants to your garden or indoor space.
  • These pots are timeless. You can optimize them too for a change.

Demerits

  • While using terracotta pots, you have to bottom water frequently because they are porous, so they absorb moisture.
  • They are not as strong as other pots and can easily break or crack due to mishandling when wet when the plant is heavy and in cold weather. So you have to be extra gentle while handling these pots.
  • Another demerit to using these pots is that the water will evaporate too quickly, and the plants will dry soon. People use these pots to avoid overwatering the plants, which can also cause the plants to dry out.
  • However, to compensate for water loss, people often use a fine mist sprayer to water the plants.
  • They are harder to move from one place to another and are more likely to crack if they are moved.

3 Tips for using terracotta pots for bottom watering

Terracotta pots are the priority of gardeners because of the benefits they offer. For example, you must keep a few things in mind before using them:

1. Soak the pots in water before using

Soak your terracotta pots in water for 30 minutes before using them. As they are made of baked clay, soaking in water will help them absorb the moisture, so they won’t be stealing the water when you water the plants.

2. Use a plastic saucer under terracotta pots

Using terracotta saucers can damage the surface you keep the plants, be it the floor, table, carpet, or any other surface. So using a plastic saucer is much recommended.

3. Use coffee filters inside your pot

Another smart hack is to use coffee filters inside your pots. Since these pots have drainage holes at the bottom, placing coffee filters will ensure that only water drains out and there is no soil loss. This hack doesn’t require extra effort; put the coffee paper in the pot, and it’s done!

Bottom line

Thus, you can use terracotta pots for bottom watering. It is a great way to ensure your plants get the water they need, even when the ground is too hard for a traditional watering can. Moreover, the terracotta pots help save on water costs because the pots hold the water for your plants. 

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