We’ve gotten this question a few times in our Monstera Resource Facebook group, so we thought we’d do a post on it:
Should you bottom water a monstera?
In case you haven’t heard this term before, bottom watering refers to a watering technique where you set the plant’s pot in a container of water so the roots can absorb water from the bottom. Of course, this only works if your pot has drainage holes!
This is a popular watering technique, but is it right for a monstera?
Let’s look at the pros and cons of bottom watering a monstera.
- If your plant is root wrapped, bottom watering may be an easier way for it to absorb water.
- You won’t get water on the leaves. (This can sometimes cause problems for monsteras and other houseplant varieties.)
- Helps ensure that the lower roots receive water (especially when done in conjunction with top watering).
- Can help strengthen roots because they’ll grow down toward the water.
- The risk of overwatering is fairly low because the soil will only soak up as much water as it can absorb. You aren’t forcing more water into it by dumping it on the top.
- Can cause a buildup of excess salts in the soil. To remedy this, you’ll want to water from the top every once in a while to flush out the soil.
- If done exclusively with no top watering, bottom watering can cause the upper roots to dry out.
- Fertilizing it a little more difficult when you only bottom water because it’s hard to make sure your plant gets a precise amount.
So what do monsteras prefer?
Honestly, you’ll get different answers. Some people swear by bottom watering their monsteras while others are strictly top waterers. It also doesn’t help that preferences can vary from plant to plant depending on your monstera’s condition, soil, and environment!
Overall, monsteras typically do well with bottom watering and the risks of trying it are relatively low. As long as you keep a close eye on your plant whenever you try a new technique, you’ll be able to catch and correct any potential issues early on!
(Tip: If you’re totally new to watering monsteras, make sure to read this guide for an intro.)
How to Bottom Water a Monstera
Step 1: Make sure your monstera actually needs water. The soil should be completely dry 2 or 3 inches down.
Step 2: Fill your container. Find a container big enough to sit the planter inside and fill it halfway with water. Place the planter in the container of water. You can also do this in the sink. You can even add a little Monstera Plant Food to the water to give your monstera a boost of nutrients!
Step 3: Check on the plant in about 10 minutes. Do another finger test or use a moisture meter to see if the plant has absorbed enough water. The meter should read moist and the soil should be damp almost all the way to the top. If it’s not thoroughly watered yet, leave it for another 10-15 minutes and check it again.
Step 4: Let it drain. Once the soil is watered through, drain the container, and put the plant back in so the excess water can drain. You can also put it back in its drainage tray and empty it later if necessary.
That’s it! Most houseplants respond well, or at least indifferently, to bottom watering, so give it a try with your monstera! You might even find you like this method better and start watering this way regularly.
If you decide bottom watering is the way to go for your monstera, you’ll still want to water it from the top once per month to flush excess salts from the soil, make sure that your pot and soil drain well and that your monstera gets plenty of light.
If you decide to give bottom watering a try, let us know how it goes in the comments!