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8 Tips To Water Indoor Plants Without Making A Mess

Having indoor plants is great, but nobody wants a mess in their homes. One common question that indoor gardeners have is how to water indoor plants without making a mess. That’s what we will discuss today.

Using self-watering pots, cache pots, or taking the plant to the sink or bathtub for watering are great ways of watering plants without making a mess. Using a watering globe or spike can also help you keep it mess-free.

In this article, we will explore different ways of watering your indoor plants without making a mess. You can choose the one that works best on your plants.


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How to water indoor plants without making a mess?

Although indoor plants make the households attractive, watering them can get messy.

Once you understand that, you might look for ways not to make a mess.

Here are the ways of watering indoor plants without making a mess:

  • Use self-watering pots
  • Use cache pots
  • Take the plant to the sink or bathtub
  • Use ice cubes
  • Use watering globes
  • Use watering spikes
  • Use a sponge

Now let’s understand these in detail.

1. Use self-watering pots

Self-watering pots reduce the mess and are also great if you are going on a vacation or are forgetful about watering your plants.

A self-watering pot usually has 2 parts.

While the bottom part contains the water reservoir, the upper part holds the soil and the plant.

The reservoir can also be located at the sides of the pot.

You need to select the pot depending on the size of the plant.

The reservoir sizes vary based on the overall pot size.

A small pot can have a 1-gallon reservoir, while a large pot can have a 5-gallon reservoir.

Next, the pot can have a hole in the rim or a tube with which you can fill the reservoir with water.

The self-watering pots work with the help of the capillary action.

Don’t go overboard with adding water to the reservoir or the soil.

2. Use self-watering systems

You can use a vertical self-watering system to grow many plants together.

If you live in a compact space, you can use this as you can stack the plants upwards.

Like self-watering pots, these also have water reservoirs, and when you water the top-most plants, it also covers the plants in the lower layers.

One thing you need to be careful of is choosing the plants.

Don’t choose plants with very different light and watering needs.


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3. Use cache pots

Cache pots are decorative pots that don’t have any drainage holes.

You can’t put your plants directly in these pots, but you can put your plastic-potted plants inside them.

When you water your plant, the excess water gets collected in the cache pots.

You can get rid of the excess water from the cache pot and then place the plant back into it.

This keeps the surroundings clean and doesn’t make a mess.

Make sure the cache pot doesn’t leak.

You also get pots that do the work of both pots with drainage holes and cache pots.

4. Take the plant to the sink or bathtub

If your plants are not too large or heavy, carry them to the sink, bathtub, or outside to water them without making a mess inside the room.

Once you have relocated your plants, water them thoroughly with a watering can or under the faucet and let the excess water drain.

After the water drains, take the plants back to their original spots.

This is the easiest way of watering your plants without making a mess!

Another way of doing this is to fill a bucket or the sink with water. 

Place the plants in the bucket or sink and let them soak water from the bottom.

Leave the plants in them for some time.

After that, take the plants out and let them drain the excess water, and then return them to their original spot.

5. Use ice cubes

Using ice cubes can be a mess-free way of watering your indoor plants, provided you do it carefully.

You can place 3-5 ice cubes on the top of the soil and leave them there.

Once the ice cubes melt, the soil gets watered.

Don’t go overboard by stacking too many ice cubes on the soil.

6. Use watering globes

Watering globes are available in the market and are a great way to water your plants without making a mess.

All you need to do is fill them with water and insert them into the soil.

As the soil dries out, it will leach out soil from the globes.

However, you will need multiple watering globes to suffice for mature and large plants.

7. Use watering spikes

Watering spikes are great for your indoor plants when you are away.

They can also help you water your plants without making a mess.

These are made from porous materials like terracotta.

Some watering spikes come with a plastic tube and reservoir, while you have to DIY the reservoir for some.

Here’s how you use the watering spikes:

  • Place the plastic tube inside the watering spikes.
  • Insert the watering spikes into the pot’s soil.
  • Fill the reservoir with water and place it higher than the plant’s pot.
  • Place the other end of the tube inside the reservoir.
  • If you have to create your DIY reservoir, use plastic bottles or decorative wine bottles.
  • Keep an eye on the water level of the reservoir so you can refill it whenever needed.

8. Use a sponge

You can use a sponge to avoid the spillage of water on the floor.

  • Cut a sponge to the size of the bottom of the pot.
  • Place it inside the pot, and then add the soil and the plant.
  • The sponge will absorb water that might go into the cache tray or the floor.

How do you water indoor plants in high places?

If your indoor plants are placed at heights, you must find ways to water them correctly.

If not, you’ll end up making a mess.

Here are some common ways to do this:

1. Use a plastic bottle

If you have a spare plastic bottle, you can use it to DIY a self-watering kit for your plants placed high.

  • Take the bottle and drill some holes into the bottle cap.
  • Fill the bottle with water.
  • Place the bottle upside down into the soil.
  • The water will drain into the soil.


2. Use an extended watering hose

You can use a long-reach plant waterer to water the plants placed at heights.

This has a long tube with a precise spout so you can control the water flow.

These are affordable and perfect for watering plants placed in high places without making a mess.

3. Get an automatic watering system

Automatic watering systems make watering very easy for plants placed in high places.

You can easily get these in the markets.

These also help you save water.

They use 70% less water than drip irrigation systems and spray bottles.

Once you set these up, you can forget about them.

It runs on batteries or USB and saves time and effort by keeping your plants watered.

These also have digital timers and LCD screens.

How to water plants with drainage holes?

You might think that using pots without drainage holes will prevent any mess, but that is not the right way to go about it.

Using pots without drainage holes will make your plants overwatered.

You can keep a cache tray under the pot.

Water the plant thoroughly and allow the excess water to drain out.

Once the excess water gets collected in the cache tray, consider emptying it.

You can also use the bottom-watering method by filling a bucket or tray with water.

Then place the plant in it and leave it for a while.

Let the water soak through the drainage holes.

How to tell if a plant needs water?

potho drooping

Most plants show signs when they need water.

One common way plants show that they need are:

  • Droopy leaves
  • Dry soil
  • Crispy leaves
  • Slow growth
  • Weak plant

If you notice these signs, check your plant thoroughly before watering it.

These can indicate other problems, so don’t skip checking the plant first before concluding.

What to put under indoor plants?

If you want to keep the area around your plants from becoming messy, you can place a newspaper or a paper towel under the pots.

Other than these, you can also put trays or large plates under the pots of the plants.

Final words

Nobody wants to make a mess of their homes while watering their indoor plants. And instead of carrying them outside, you can try alternative methods like using self-watering pots, cache pots, or carrying the plants to the sink or bathtub.

I have mentioned a few other ways to water your plants too. You can experiment with a few of these and choose whichever is most convenient. Don’t go overboard with watering your plants, and don’t let the soil remain too dry either.


Sources: College of agricultural studiesUniversity of VermontNational science foundation.