how to water indoor plants without making a mess

How To Water Indoor Plants Without Making A Mess

Watering indoor plants can create a real mess at times. It’s really easy to let a drip tray overflow or drip water all over your floor. This article will give you all the tips on watering your indoor plants without creating a big mess.

How do you water indoor plants without making a mess? You can use non-draining pots, drip trays or you can water your indoor plants in a sink to avoid any mess. You could also use a controlled watering method such as a self-watering pot, watering spike or watering with ice cubes. 

Can I Use A Pot Without Drainage Holes To Contain The Water?

Although it might seem like using pots that have no bottom drain holes solves a watery problem and contains the moisture, you open your plants up to additional problems that could possibly lead to their demise.

The main problem with using pots without bottom drainage is it’s very easy to overwater, which in turn keeps the soil too wet,especially if you’ve used a heavy soil like potting soil instead of a potting mix. This can lead to root rot and once this happens, the best course of action is to discard the plant, as you usually can’t bring it back to health.

Do Self-Watering Containers Really Work?

As long as you don’t go overboard with filling the pot with water, self-watering containers are a mess-free alternative and as the soil dries it wicks up the water held in the container’s reservoir.

Additional pros of self-watering containers are they are inexpensive, come in a vast array of colors and sizes, so there’s something to fit your plant’s size and indoor color scheme. There’s a spout on the reservoir that allows you to pour out excess water, if you’ve added too much, and they work well if you are going out of town for a short amount of time.

Depending on the pot’s size, the bottom reservoir holds anywhere from 2- to about 4-cups of water. In addition, you can either water the soil from the top or add water to the bottom reservoir by pouring it in through the bottom spout.

Use a watering can with a long and thin spout, as it makes it easier to pour fluid into the reservoir without spilling.

Stackable Self-Watering Systems

If you want to grow multiple plants in a compact space,then consider using a vertical stackable self-watering container system. This type of system is nice, as you can add additional pots as your needs grow and the pots go upward instead of outward, saving space.

The pots have a reservoir and as you water from the top, the water leaches down through the system, watering the lower plants. They also make attractive additions to the home. Just be sure to use plants with similar light and water requirements.

How Do I Stop My House Plants From Leaking Water?

Many houseplant containers come with either an attached or separate drip tray that catches the water coming from the bottom drain holes.If you don’t have a drip tray under the pot, you can be assured at some point you’ll end up with a watery flood running out of the bottom.

However, if your pot doesn’t have a drip tray it’s easy to improvise. Using a plastic lid with a lip of about 1-inch situated under the pot also work well in containing the water. Just make sure the lid is a bit bigger in diameter than the diameter of the bottom of the pot so the water has space to flow.

This keeps the surface the pot is sitting on dry and assures that antique table of Grandma’s remains in pristine condition and you get a good night’s sleep.

What Is Double Potting And How Does It Work?

Another easy option to keep the surfaces your pots are sitting upon dry is double potting. You simply place the planted pot with bottom drain holes into one that is slightly larger with a solid bottom without holes.

Of course, about 30 minutes after watering you’ll need to empty the outer pot of water. Allowing too much water to sit in the outer pot can make the soil too soggy, which can possibly lead to root rot problems.

Double potting allows you to utilize decorative pots that don’t drain to cover a less ornate container. If you like, you can place small pebbles in the bottom of the outer pot, which raises the planted pot up out of soggy conditions and adds some height. This is especially useful if your inner pot is a bit smaller than the outer one.

Can I Use Ice Cubes To Water Plants?

As long as you don’t pack the soil’s surface with a massive amount of ice cubes, or butt them around the plant’s base, they are perfect for mess-free watering. This system also assists in utilizing a frozen mess, if your refrigerator’s icemaker becomes too enthusiastic, shooting the cubes all over the floor.

It’s as easy as placing four or five ice cubes, depending on the size of the pot, on top of the soil and allowing them to melt slowly.

Do Watering Spikes Work?

When it comes to watering indoor plants, watering spikes and globes have become popular in recent years and they can add a bit of flare to your indoor plant décor. A journey to your local garden shop or online garden supplier should find a wealth of choices in colors, sizes and styles.

How To Use A Watering Spike

Watering spikes are manufactured from porous materials like terracotta or unglazed ceramics. Depending on the product, the spikes come with plastic tubing and some include a reservoir, although with some,you’ll have to create your own DIY reservoir.

Their use is easy, as you simply place the plastic tubing inside the watering spike, insert the spike into the pot’s soil with the top portion almost flush with the soil, fill the reservoir with water and place the other end of the tube inside of it. Just make sure the reservoir sits a bit higher than the pot.

Create your own reservoir by using any type of bottle like a decorative one, wine bottle or even a plastic soda bottle. The water in the reservoir is pulled through the tubing and into the soil as it dries,keeping it contained with no spillage. Just remember to check the reservoir’s water level and refill as needed.

Of course, if you feel having plastic tubing coming out of your plants and into a bottle is unsightly, this probably isn’t the perfect option for you. However, if you plan to be away for several weeks, this system works well for making sure your plants receive water while you are away.

How To Use A Watering Globe

Glass watering globes aren’t only pleasing to the eye and practical, they come in an array of sizes and colors. They make watering a cinch for both outdoor and indoor potted plants, keeping the water in the pot and not on the floor or that antique table.

They are simple to use, as you fill the globe with water, insert it into the pot’s soil and as the soil dries, the water leaches from the globe into the soil. If your container is sizable, you’ll probably require several globes to meet the plant’s watering needs. Fill the globe with additional water as needed.

Can I Just Water My Houseplants In The Sink?

Of course, an easy way to water your plants,especially those in smaller pots and hanging baskets is to take them to the sink and give them a good drenching. This method works especially well for hanging baskets, as you alleviate the possibility of water spilling over the side creating a sopping wet mess.

Simply place hanging baskets or pots in the sink and run the water until it comes from the bottom. Allow the pot or basket to remain in the sink for about 30 minutes, drain any water from the catch tray, dry the bottom with a towel, if needed, and place it back in its previous location.

This is also a good method to leach any salts from the soil due to fertilizer applications.

What About Using A Sponge In The Plant Pot?

Another DIY trick that helps to absorb water, keeping it in the pot and catch tray is using a sponge. Simply cut a sponge to the sizeof the bottom of your container, place it in the bottom, add soil and plant as usual. The sponge absorbs some of the water that would usually go into the catch tray and possibly on the floor.

Additional Watering Tips For Indoor Plants

These are just some of the options available to make watering your indoor plants mess-free. You also have options in more expensive drip irrigation systems, but the tubing and controllers are visible and hard to hide.

An old-fashion watering can also works well, just don’t use one that’s too heavy to handle when filled, the pour spout is short and bulky, making directing the water hard to control and don’t overfill the pot with water.

In addition, keep your indoor surfaces water- and mess-free by exercising good watering practices, which generally is watering when the top inch of soil feels dry. Applying water to already saturated soil assures it will race out the pot’s bottom, flooding over the drip tray. If you allow the soil to get too dry, it can’t efficiently absorb the water and it will also flood out the bottom and over the drip tray.