How to Stop Houseplants Dripping Water

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This an article about how to stop getting water everywhere when you’re watering your house plants, NOT about guttation/ your plant crying/sweating/leaking.

I have a separate article on that here.

This is about stopping your plants from leaving watermarks on your surfaces.

Now, a quick note about hanging plants.

I don’t have a way to water my plants in situ that I’m comfortable with. Plenty of people use macrame hangers that incorporate a saucer for the plant to drip into, but they always seem a bit flimsy to me.

Use saucers

I’m a fan of using pasta bowls as saucers. They’re cheap, so you can buy a lot an have them look like decor PLUS it makes bottom watering super easy. If you’re plagued with fungus gnats, this is a great way to get rid of them.

I thoroughly water, the water lands in the pasta bowl, not on your surfaces.

You’re MEANT to get rid of the water after, using a turkey baster or similar, but if they’re sat in just a trickle of water, I just leave it be. As long as you’re not underwatering, and your soil is pretty chunky, you’re unlikely to get root rot. If the water’s still there the next day, remove it.

The only issue I have with this method is that you do need to wash the dishes sometimes. I’m simply not a fan of adding extra washing up into my life.

A small note on saucers: if you have terracotta pots and want to use terracotta saucers, make sure you get glazed ones (they’re a little more expensive, but not by much) otherwise the water will walk through.

Water into something

I saw this on The Jungle Haven and…it’s genius, so it’s what I do now.

So the reason Claire does this is so that she doesn’t waste nutrient water BUT it’s also a good way to stop drippage on your furniture.

The setup looks like this:

It’s a stock pot with an oven shelf sitting on top.

The best thing is, you can put your watering receptacle (I use a 5l water bottle) in the stock pot whilst you’re wandering around watering.

So, you put your plant on the grill, water it thoroughly, then leave it to drain whilst you fetch the next plant.

Now, the bottom will still be, if not wet, definitely not dry, so you’ll still need something under your plant to protect your surfaces, but something small, and cheap that you can hide (like a square of kitchen paper, or a coaster) should do the job

Put your plants into cachepots

I keep a lot of my plants in cachepots, because it makes them waaaaay easier to water.

Also, I have a couple of big plants in soil that can get a bit hydrophobic, so I like being able to put water in the bottom of the cachepot and have the plant absorb it over time. Sometimes I water it from the top as well for a treat.

Big, pretty plant pots can be expensive, so I prefer not to risk drilling holes in them. By keeping them in nursery pots I can also easily switch them around I want to.

Elho planters are PRICEY but you can often find them cheap in discount shops. I got six large ones (like, 30 cm) for TWENTY ONES POUNDS from Yorkshire Trading.

Move your plants to water them

I have FAR too many plants to do this. I did it once at my old house and it nearly killed me, running up and down the stairs with armfuls of plants.

My intent was to take them all outside and hose the dust off them which worked like a dream, but also the thought of doing it again fills me with dread.

A lot of people put all their plants in the bathtub, or shower and water them that way. Leave them for a couple of hours to dry off and then put them back where they were.

Make sure you’re not overwatering

Plants should only be leaking water from the pot just after you’ve watered them.

If you have pots that are a pain to move and clean under (like heavy pots on the floor) then there are a couple of options.

The first one is to get one of those wheely things – look up plant trolley online. That way you can wheel it somewhere convenient before you water, or spill on the floor, move the plant, then clear it up.

The second thing you can do is put a plant in the pot that won’t need watering too often. I HATE watering hanging plants, so the only three I have are a Tradescania zebrina, a Hoya bella, and a Philodendron brasil. They’re also hung in north-facing windows (but bright rooms) so that they get ample light but don’t get too hot and allow all the water in the soil to evaporate.

I am considering some kind of pulley shelf system in the future because hanging plants look amazing but are a pita to care for. I’ll keep you posted

Final thoughts

The cachepot/outer pot system is probably the way to go if you don’t like saucers. DO NOT try to pot your house plants in pots that don’t have drainage holes.

You’ll drive yourself mad trying to work out the exact amount to water your plants and it’ll sap all your enjoyment for your plants away.

Come to think of it, if you hate the look of nursery pots, but lack the funds to buy nice pots, the JUngle Haven (who I linked to at the beginning) has some great videos on decorating nursery pots.

If anyone has any great tips for preventing water leakage from your plants I’d love to hear it. Leave me a comment or DM me on Instagram.

Caroline Cocker

Caroline is the founder and writer (and plant keeper) of Planet Houseplant

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