Growing quality cannabis plants requires giving them the care they need to thrive, which includes the right lighting, nutrients, and proper watering practices. Watering is an essential chore that all growers have to stay on top of.
That Art of Watering Cannabis
Correctly watering your plants could be one of the trickiest parts of growing. Watering too little, or conversely watering too much, will not produce the healthiest plant possible and could cause dire problems. The quality of water is also important. The water should have the proper pH balance and not be too acidic.
Properly watering cannabis requires a lot more effort than filling up your water jug once a week to water the houseplants, which can be a lot more forgiving if they get a little too dry in between watering or get overwatered a bit too much when top watering. When growing cannabis, it is better to pay attention to your plants and water them once or twice a week as needed, as opposed to keeping a rigid watering schedule.
Even so, it can still be a little tricky to know if you gave your plants enough water or a little too much. Fortunately, there is another way that can take the guesswork out of watering and allows your plants to dictate when they eat and drink. Bottom watering, or reverse watering, can result in happier, healthier plants.
Reverse Watering Cannabis Plants
Growers use living soils that allow plants to uptake the nutrients it needs when it needs them without forcing them on the plant. The art of bottom watering gives your plants the opportunity to uptake the perfect amount of water that it needs when it needs it. Rather than pouring water on the topsoil of container plants, the soil is allowed to soak up water into the roots through drainage holes in the bottom of the pots. These drainage holes allow your plants to absorb the right amount of water into the soil without becoming oversaturated.
Benefits of Bottom Watering
There is nothing wrong with regular top watering your plants, although some plants could experience issues if they get too much moisture on the leaves. Top watering containers with drainage holes can lead to leakages if overwatering and could damage shelves or floors wherever your plants are located. Some of the benefits of reverse watering cannabis include:
- Provides even distribution of moisture throughout the soil, whereas top watering could result in some dry spots
- Prevents oversaturated soil
- Forces roots to reach down for water which promotes overall root growth, whereas top watering can hasten the compaction of potting soil, which is not good for root growth
- Helps to prevent fungus gnats and fungi which can occur on saturated top layers of soil
- Prevents splashing water on leaves which could cause burning. This is completely avoided with bottom watering
- Significantly reduces the chance of under or overwatering
- Protects shelving or floors from water spillage or hard water stains
How to Reverse Water Product Cannabis
You first want to make sure that your pot is manageable enough that you can lift and carry it, and remember it will be heavier when the soil is saturated. You also need to make sure that your container has drainage holes in the bottom. Some pots may appear to have a catch plate under a pot with drainage holes, although make sure that this is not attached to your pot as you need to set the pot with the holes directly into a tub of water.
You can use a small washtub type of container, or even a sink or bathtub, as long as it is big enough to fit your plant container, it can work for reverse watering. You want to check the plant’s moisture level by sticking your finger into the soil or using a moisture meter to determine the moisture level of the soil.
When your plants need water, place the container in the tub of water and make sure that the water level rises above any material in the bottom of the pot, like rocks used for drainage. The water level should rise above this material by at least 1 inch. Place your pot with drainage holes in the water and let it sit for about 15 minutes, a little longer for larger containers, so that it can soak up all the moisture that it needs.
Keep an eye on your plants during this time, and if the soil soaks up all of the water during 15 minutes, then you should add more. The soil surface should feel moist to the touch when finished. Keep in mind that potting soil with perlite or sandy soil will take longer to soak up water. If using terra-cotta pots, they also soak up water and may require extra. When finished, let your plant sit for approximately 10 minutes to drain.
Please note that you will still need to water your plants from the top occasionally, approximately every 4 to 6 weeks, to flush salts and minerals that build up in the soil.
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