Drench & Dry Watering

Drench and dry watering is just what it sounds like; watering plants heavily and waiting until they are very dry to water again. This method trains plants into growing big and strong root systems and makes maintenance for yourself easier. Plants that I water this way include…

  • Aglaonema – Silver Chinese Evergreen
  • Aloe vera – Aloe
  • Beaucarnea recurvata – Ponytail Palm
  • Dracaena marginata – Dragon Tree
  • Dracaena fragrans – Corn Draceana
  • Ficus elastica – Rubber Tree
  • Ficus lyrata – Fiddle-Leaf Fig
  • Kalanchoe beharensis – Felt Bush
  • Monstera deliciosa – Monstera
  • Peperomia – Variegated Peperomia
  • Philodendron – Heartleaf Philodendron
  • Pilea – Chinese Money Plant
  • Sansiveria – Snake Plant
  • Strelitzia – Bird of Paradise
  • Tradescantia pallida – Purple Heart Wandering Jew
  • Most orchids
  • Most succulents and cacti

DISCLAIMER: This way of watering is not suitable for every plant. Ferns, selaginella, moss, and umbrella palms are some of the plants that cannot and will not tolerate drench and dry watering.

Crassula arborescens ssp. undulatifolia

Because I have drainage in all of my plant’s containers I take each plant to my kitchen sink or tub (depending on the size of the plant) and soak it. Try to only water the soil, the foliage of your plant doesn’t do the drinking. I will then fill up the soil until the water is about to spill out at least twice to make sure all the soil gets saturated. I then let each plant sit and drain until there isn’t a steady drip coming out before I put them back where I got them.

Be aware of what kind of water is coming out of your tap, you may not want to use it directly on your plants. Many sources recommend using distilled water that is free from hard water deposits and chlorine. Letting your tap water sit out in your watering can for a day will allow chlorine to dissipate.

A few plants are safer to water from the bottom up. Plants with fuzzy leaves like African Violets and varieties of Kalanchoe are often watered like this because they react poorly to wet leaves. To do this, fill your sink or tub with an inch or two of appropriate water and set the plant into it. Wait until the soil is saturated.

As for how long to wait until the next watering – each plant will be slightly different because of the type of plant, the size of the pot, the amount of sun it’s getting, etc.

Leafy plants often show you first by wilting, and then by losing leaves or having discoloration in the leaves. With my leafy plants I actually usually tell by weight. Once you’ve had a plant long enough, you will get used to how it feels when it is full of water and when it’s not.

Cacti and succulents can go for very long periods between watering. I typically wait until the soil is starting to pull away from the sides of the pot to water cacti and succulents. Another tell with succulents is if it’s been over a week since watering and some of the leaves are looking “wrinkled” it is probably ready for a drink.

Orchids show you they need water when their roots are no longer green and have started to go a silvery gray.

Have a plant that likes to be watered this way that I haven’t listed? Comment below!

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