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The Proper Way To Water A Potted Plant

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
even if you could nudge them a bit to get an idea of the weight.... but short of that and a meter with probes long enough to get to where you want to measure, you could try the old dowel rod dipstick trick... any soft wood will pick up enough moisture that you can use it to tell where the wet dry line... just know that the idea of a wet/dry line in a hard sided container becomes a wet/dry center core surrounded with drying soil all around.

There are beginner electronic circuits that can be easily built that can accurately gauge conductance, and it wouldn't take a lot to install a sensor or two that could give you an indication of the core moisture automatically. I can easily see how a sensor placed immediately below the old rootball on a transplant might be very useful as well as one midway toward the wall of the container. I might look into something along these lines on my next grow journal because under a large SCROG screen and in 10 gallon cloth bags, I will be looking at a similar problem as yours and looking for a way to solve it.

Once flowering starts it is time to change strategies when it comes to watering. It is then time to see what the roots you have been carefully cultivating in veg can do, and then it is appropriate to see how much water the plants are taking in on average per day, and then give them that, watering slowly just to the point of runoff each day or at least every other day while carefully monitoring how much it takes to get there. If the amount it takes to get to this point goes up each time you water, and it should during stretch, then you are giving the right amount. If it goes down, you are waterlogging the plant and you are watering too often and need to add a day to your cycle. Not everyone can develop roots capable of a 1 or 2 day cycle during flower, but in order to get the most water and/or the most nutes into the plant while it is building buds, this subtle change in the watering cycle is how to accomplish it.
 
Hi Emilya
I would be interested to hear your thoughts and ideas on watering from the bottom, in veg and flower, if you have any notions on either or both. It seems as though you've put alot of thought into this subject of watering. Thanks.
 
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Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
Hi Emilya
I would be interested to hear your thoughts and ideas on watering from the bottom, in veg and flower, if you have any notions on either or both. It seems as though you've put alot of thought into this subject of watering. Thanks.
Well, there is one form of it that I am a sort of a fan of, and another that I am not at all. Dunking... actually picking up the container and dunking it into a tub to totally saturate the soil from the bottom seems to be a quick and efficient way to saturate the soil. After the dunk the soil can be allowed to dry in the normal way, with gravity pulling the water table down and pulling oxygen deep down into the soil. I question its use as to the pH problem... do you pH adjust that entire tub of water? And then what happens if you water several plants, because after the first one, the pH of the water will have changed. Do you keep adjusting? What a pain.
The other method, using some means to wick the moisture up through the bottom by sitting in a wet substrate, first of all has the same pH problem, but second... it ends up starving the lower roots from oxygen since it no longer gets pulled deep down into the medium from the top by actions of the top of the water table acting like a diaphragm, but it also topsy turveys the entire system and instead of the top roots being primary sources of water and nutrients, they end up being secondary and oftentimes do not even get a lot of water. When watering from the bottom you might as well start oxygenating the water you are sitting them in and call it some sort of hybrid hempy or a yet another unnamed form of hydro. I am not a fan. Why does this seem better than simply watering from the top?
 
Not better Emilya, just alternative. I never feed from the bottom, but water only. I'm aware of dunking, but have never practiced it, though it seems a good idea for the reasons you stated. Imagine, if you will, a 16 plant sea of green in soil, 1/2 gallon nursery containers in 1 sq ft reservoirs about 3 inches deep. When watering only, I can add 1/2 inch of water to each res and let the plants wick up. Each plant has it's own res. I'd say the advantage is convenience with no harm done to the plant. I've used this method for many years with success. I think there's something to be said for not disturbing the top layer more than necessary. That being said, i only feed from the top. Thanks for your thoughts and quick reply. I look forward to perusing your posts, as you seem a thoughtful and intelligent soul. God bless
 
In addition, you are also correct that my grow style is a soil/hydro hybrid in some sense. The water I add is oxygenated. I only add water to "light" pots. Each individual plant gets it's own attention this way. I feed these 1/2 gal pots in the manner you describe in watering your plant, small sips, go smoke a bowl, soaking the soil until field capacity is achieved.
 
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Bjeezy504

Active Member
The Proper Way to Water a Potted Plant
Also covered: the importance of pH and why we successively up-pot


How to Water
Over the last several years I have put a lot of study into this, and I feel that I can now define the proper way to water a potted plant. Keep in mind that this discussion applies to at least 3 gallon containers and bigger. Please realize that this special plant of ours does not grow like anything else you have ever tried to grow, and no matter how good you are at growing peas, beans and tomatoes, you will have to change your methods to grow a weed.


The first rule of watering is to always water slowly, using no more than a quart at a time, pausing often to let the soil suck air in behind the water as it pools on the top. For me, that involves a routine of watering each of my plants with 1 quart, then taking a nice relaxing drink of whatever beverage I have brought with me to the tent. Then I take a deep breath, making sure to exhale deeply onto this plant, letting her know that I love her. After this, I take a nice big hit off of the pipe that also followed me into the tent, and then after a nice pause and maybe another drink, I go back to plant #1 and repeat the cycle. For 2 rounds, I water the entire surface of the soil, watching it pool up and get sucked down.


After this initial wetting of the top, my watering method changes a bit. Now, I want to do whatever I can to make the outside edges of the container, the wettest areas. Still only using a quart at a time, I now carefully water only there, all around the plant, only on the edges. While doing this, I slow down a bit so that the water doesn't pool as much in the center, always concentrating on the edges. The center will end up getting some too, and that's fine, but the wettest areas of the pot will be on the outside edges and you will be driving nutrient rich soil into the dense original root ball. Continue this, again going slow, maybe with a deep breath in the middle of it, and then continue all around, taking drinks, deep breaths and hits in between each round. Continue until you see the first signs of runoff, and then stop.


Look carefully at the surface of your container now. You will clearly see where the root ball is from your last transplant, because it will now be sticking up just a little bit above the original outer rim. Very fine soil has been driven through the original root ball with the flow of water and soil from the outer edges. This micro fine soil is very rich with nutrients because of its mobility. When you water from the outside edges, you force this micro fine sludge into the dense root ball, where it can do the most good. Once you establish this flow pattern in the container, you can be assured of totally replacing the micro soil in the center of the root ball with new soil, every time you water. Watering in the normal way does not create his circular flow, and root growth cannot be nearly as aggressive.

Lastly, take one last quart of water, and water very very slowly, just in the raised area where the original root ball is. As you do so, watch what happens at the outer edge of the original root ball.

You will see the very finest soil, almost a mud, migrating out of the old root ball, and into the middle! This completes the process of soil exchange in the container. In this manner, all the roots get to take advantage of the nutrients in the soil, and the roots follow the migration of the nutrient rich soil, toward the outer edges, creating lateral growth. I strive to actively drive the soil out of the middle, making room for the roots to grow more dense and bigger there, and as they do, the lateral growth also has to increase. Using this method, I have seen a steady increase in the amount of water needed to get to run off throughout the grow and by the end, plants watered in this way use approximately 30% more water than is seen using standard watering techniques. Watering in the manner I have described allows for a constant circular flow of soil throughout the container and will create an extremely dense root ball.



Now it is time for a truism. It is best to water the roots, not the plant. A healthy and robust root system means a happy and productive plant. Neglect the roots and your plants can die, and certainly will be less than they could have been.

When do we water?
By far, one of the most common plant problems that I see with new gardeners is a lack of understanding as to when to water. New people get it set in their mind that watering every day or every other day is best, or that somehow, mysteriously, they know in their own human minds exactly how much water the plants need. These well-meaning new gardeners will determine that they will give exactly one quart or some other random amount, each time, no more... and no less, and really believe that they are doing a good thing for their plants, making these decisions for them.
Just as bad as these over-thinkers are the tomato gardeners, the "stick your finger in the ground" crowd, who proclaim: it's time to water when it is dry below the second knuckle. What they fail to realize is that when the top 2 inches is dry, the lower half of the container could still be saturated with water. Both of these common mistakes in watering methods are quick ways to drown your plants. These methods are not correct for growing weeds, and using them can actually kill your plants.


Marijuana is a weed, and the main thing that this scientific term refers to, is a class of plant that thrives in adversity. In order to grow it well, you need to understand that this incredibly robust plant works differently than other, less hardy plants. It is an extremely aggressive grower if you allow it to be, and to grow prize winning pot, you need to use its abilities to send out new roots to your advantage.


Watering incorrectly is the most common mistake that new weed farmers make. This plant needs a clear wet/dry cycle in order to thrive. If you keep it moist, you will kill it. The roots will aggressively chase your water, whatever you give them. If you just give a small amount every couple of days, that water will drop right to the bottom of the container. Your roots will follow, and will cluster on the bottom, instead of growing laterally throughout the container, and since they continually sit in the nutrient rich water, the plant sees little need to grow additional roots. How you water makes a huge difference in the formation of the root ball, and how this development happens is up to you.


There are many ways to tell when it is time to water, and if you wait long enough the girls will actually tell you that they are thirsty. They do two things when they see that they need water, they throw out a smell, and they begin to wilt, starting at the bottom, moving up. You can also use the lift method to tell when the container is dry, and almost always you will "feel" a dry container, before the above mentioned wilt and fragrance pump happens. Rusty Trichome taught me an important lesson; every time I think that I need to do something to my plants, I wait a bit... and I try to move at the speed that my plants are moving. "Patience, above all else." --Rusty


If you have a moisture meter you can also use it to find where the wet/dry (water table) line is in your container, and you can watch that wet/dry line move down over time. I used to graph my water table level by day, so that I could project ahead when the wet dry line would reach the last inch of container. Your wet/dry line will never go lower than that last inch or so, because once you get down in there, you are in all the big tap roots and mass at the bottom, and it tends to stay wet there longer because of capillary effect. Again, if you wait for the first sign of wilt and that perfume pump that happens at "water me" point, it will usually be just a bit longer than your measurements would indicate. Once the water table line is anywhere in that bottom inch is ok to water. You have dried out 95% of the water by that time and the roots have been chasing it as the wet/dry line progresses both downward and outward. The suction caused by the diaphragm that is the water table, will have pulled oxygen down deep into the container, and filled any voids. The roots will be happy.


Why do we up-pot?
The art of successive up-potting is important in growing a healthy root system. People like to be lazy. I am constantly seeing new gardeners take a little sprig of a weed and put it in a big 3 or 5 gallon container, thinking that they have done a good thing, and are now done with it... it's on to harvest time! The problem is, this doesn't work, because it gives you zero control over developing the roots, and without crazy watering techniques, almost no chance of a solid root ball forming. It is imperative to successively up pot your plants through stages so that the root system can roughly take on the same size and shape as the plant in order to get the maximum productivity. The roots grow aggressively in these weeds, and if you confine them to a container the size of the plant, they will fill that space in a short time with a dense root system. Putting a plant in an oversized container can and often does, result in all the roots going to the bottom, drowning the plant, root rot and overall poor health because of a lack of a root ball, and certainly less than optimum harvests. It is important to force these weeds into producing a root ball at various stages, to give the plant the ability later on to take in the massive amounts of nutrients needed to produce lots of quality buds.
The plants in the smaller containers can also more directly show you when they are thriving or more importantly when they are not. A strong healthy plant will eventually outgrow its container and an observant gardener is carefully watching the length of time between wet/dry cycles, and directly relating shorter cycles with more robust roots. A smaller container also gives the gardener the ability to see when the moment arrives that the amount of soil the plant is in is no longer large enough for the plant's abilities to be happy in it, because it will be obvious when the plant can drain the water that soil is able to hold, in less than 24 hours. Your soil and your container at that point have ceased at that point to be a good enough buffer, and it is time to double the space the roots have to work with. Let your plant show you when that time is, and try not to make decisions for her.


Why is pH important?
Some people claim that pH is not important, and if you are a pure organic gardener, never applying chlorinated water or salt based synthetic nutrients at your plants, pH indeed is not important. For the 99.9% rest of the world, a very important lesson for the new gardener to learn is the importance of pH. There is a scientific reason why a proper pH allows the plants to use synthetic nutrients, and why being outside of the proper range can cause deficiencies. If you want to grow pot using chemicals, you need to invest in a method to test the pH of any water going into the plant, whether it is plain water or water mixed with nutrients, and whether it is applied to the roots or sprayed on the leaves. If you neglect the pH, you can easily create deficiencies in your plants, and if left unchecked, you can even kill them. If you spend a lot of money on nutrients, it makes sense that you would want to also create the proper environment so that the plant can use these nutrients, but with a pH way out of the 6.3-6.8 range in soil, a lot of those expensive nutrients will just sit there, not doing the plant any good. If you are in a soilless mix, pH in the range of 5.5-6.1 is necessary. It is only within these ranges that all the nutrients are mobile, are able to be broken free of their salt bonds and be in the form that can go into the plants. Most soils and systems are designed so that you can apply liquids at a lower pH and then the soil or the soilless mix causes a drift, so that the pH can visit each spot in the usable pH range for that medium, and all of the 17 needed nutrients will be picked up, each in its turn.


I hope that this study on containers, watering and pH helps someone who reads it. This paper was a result of having to explain these same concepts over and over and over again to new growers at they hit the forums, until finally I put all these thoughts together into this paper. Some of the thoughts previously given have also been refined for this publication, as questions were asked and answered the last time I posted it, and I have learned better ways of explaining my thoughts. Here, I give you, approximately draft 10 of this paper.


Be well everyone and blessings from my garden to yours,
Sense Emilya
This has helped me a lot. I never realized I was over watering because I never saw "signs" now I see I cud be causing alot of potential future harm thanks
 

MikeBigbud

Member
Let's see if I can help.

Under watering, the plants simply wilt, starting at the bottom and then finally the entire trunk will bend over. Underwatering is rare, but it does happen, and the cure is to water completely and properly. Underwatering is stressful, but actually less harmful to the roots than overwatering, unless it happens all the time, so much that it keeps the plant from growing.

Overwatering causes a droop of the leaves, different than a wilt, and the leaves will all point downward. A happy plant reaches upward, a sad plant points to its roots to show that it is unhappy. An overwatered plant will try to get out of trouble by supercharging its ability to evaporate water. When the plant does this in increases its surface area of the leaves at the top and in a breeze, and crinkles the leaves up and swells them in a way that is a dead giveaway to those who know this sight. With continual overwatering, the lowest fan leaves will begin to yellow and the plant will show all signs of a nitrogen deficiency. Growth will slow and leaves will die and fall off starting from the bottom and working their way up. A severely overwatered plant looks sick. The cure for this one is to let the plant dry out, every time, between waterings.

During the healing period of overwatering, you should expect a gradual greening of the yellowed leaves and extremely slow growth. You should expect droopy leaves and a sad looking plant until the lower roots are able to finally get oxygen. A severely overwatered and damaged plant could take as long as 3 wet/dry cycles to get back to normal aggressive weed growth, definitely at least 2 weeks in severe cases.
An underwatered plant requires next to no recovery period. If you catch her in time, simply watering properly will bring her back to normal looking in under an hour.

Hope this clears things up for you James...
I notice when watering that you can get dry areas where the water will run around these areas avoiding them completely. I'll poke holes with a thin rod throughout the soil as to help water these dry areas. Anyone have any information as to a better way to cure this problem maybe stones in the soil?
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
I notice when watering that you can get dry areas where the water will run around these areas avoiding them completely. I'll poke holes with a thin rod throughout the soil as to help water these dry areas. Anyone have any information as to a better way to cure this problem maybe stones in the soil?
good filler material that provides for extra aeration and avoids compaction like perlite is usually used. I would avoid large stones in the soil as capillary action would make the surface of that stone a wet area itself while adding very little to the overall soil composition. Poking with a rod to aerate the soil and void those dry empty areas can help too, but can also damage roots.
 

Justgrowbaby

New Member
The Proper Way to Water a Potted Plant
Also covered: the importance of pH and why we successively up-pot


How to Water
Over the last several years I have put a lot of study into this, and I feel that I can now define the proper way to water a potted plant. Keep in mind that this discussion applies to at least 3 gallon containers and bigger. Please realize that this special plant of ours does not grow like anything else you have ever tried to grow, and no matter how good you are at growing peas, beans and tomatoes, you will have to change your methods to grow a weed.


The first rule of watering is to always water slowly, using no more than a quart at a time, pausing often to let the soil suck air in behind the water as it pools on the top. For me, that involves a routine of watering each of my plants with 1 quart, then taking a nice relaxing drink of whatever beverage I have brought with me to the tent. Then I take a deep breath, making sure to exhale deeply onto this plant, letting her know that I love her. After this, I take a nice big hit off of the pipe that also followed me into the tent, and then after a nice pause and maybe another drink, I go back to plant #1 and repeat the cycle. For 2 rounds, I water the entire surface of the soil, watching it pool up and get sucked down.


After this initial wetting of the top, my watering method changes a bit. Now, I want to do whatever I can to make the outside edges of the container, the wettest areas. Still only using a quart at a time, I now carefully water only there, all around the plant, only on the edges. While doing this, I slow down a bit so that the water doesn't pool as much in the center, always concentrating on the edges. The center will end up getting some too, and that's fine, but the wettest areas of the pot will be on the outside edges and you will be driving nutrient rich soil into the dense original root ball. Continue this, again going slow, maybe with a deep breath in the middle of it, and then continue all around, taking drinks, deep breaths and hits in between each round. Continue until you see the first signs of runoff, and then stop.


Look carefully at the surface of your container now. You will clearly see where the root ball is from your last transplant, because it will now be sticking up just a little bit above the original outer rim. Very fine soil has been driven through the original root ball with the flow of water and soil from the outer edges. This micro fine soil is very rich with nutrients because of its mobility. When you water from the outside edges, you force this micro fine sludge into the dense root ball, where it can do the most good. Once you establish this flow pattern in the container, you can be assured of totally replacing the micro soil in the center of the root ball with new soil, every time you water. Watering in the normal way does not create his circular flow, and root growth cannot be nearly as aggressive.

Lastly, take one last quart of water, and water very very slowly, just in the raised area where the original root ball is. As you do so, watch what happens at the outer edge of the original root ball.

You will see the very finest soil, almost a mud, migrating out of the old root ball, and into the middle! This completes the process of soil exchange in the container. In this manner, all the roots get to take advantage of the nutrients in the soil, and the roots follow the migration of the nutrient rich soil, toward the outer edges, creating lateral growth. I strive to actively drive the soil out of the middle, making room for the roots to grow more dense and bigger there, and as they do, the lateral growth also has to increase. Using this method, I have seen a steady increase in the amount of water needed to get to run off throughout the grow and by the end, plants watered in this way use approximately 30% more water than is seen using standard watering techniques. Watering in the manner I have described allows for a constant circular flow of soil throughout the container and will create an extremely dense root ball.



Now it is time for a truism. It is best to water the roots, not the plant. A healthy and robust root system means a happy and productive plant. Neglect the roots and your plants can die, and certainly will be less than they could have been.

When do we water?
By far, one of the most common plant problems that I see with new gardeners is a lack of understanding as to when to water. New people get it set in their mind that watering every day or every other day is best, or that somehow, mysteriously, they know in their own human minds exactly how much water the plants need. These well-meaning new gardeners will determine that they will give exactly one quart or some other random amount, each time, no more... and no less, and really believe that they are doing a good thing for their plants, making these decisions for them.
Just as bad as these over-thinkers are the tomato gardeners, the "stick your finger in the ground" crowd, who proclaim: it's time to water when it is dry below the second knuckle. What they fail to realize is that when the top 2 inches is dry, the lower half of the container could still be saturated with water. Both of these common mistakes in watering methods are quick ways to drown your plants. These methods are not correct for growing weeds, and using them can actually kill your plants.


Marijuana is a weed, and the main thing that this scientific term refers to, is a class of plant that thrives in adversity. In order to grow it well, you need to understand that this incredibly robust plant works differently than other, less hardy plants. It is an extremely aggressive grower if you allow it to be, and to grow prize winning pot, you need to use its abilities to send out new roots to your advantage.


Watering incorrectly is the most common mistake that new weed farmers make. This plant needs a clear wet/dry cycle in order to thrive. If you keep it moist, you will kill it. The roots will aggressively chase your water, whatever you give them. If you just give a small amount every couple of days, that water will drop right to the bottom of the container. Your roots will follow, and will cluster on the bottom, instead of growing laterally throughout the container, and since they continually sit in the nutrient rich water, the plant sees little need to grow additional roots. How you water makes a huge difference in the formation of the root ball, and how this development happens is up to you.


There are many ways to tell when it is time to water, and if you wait long enough the girls will actually tell you that they are thirsty. They do two things when they see that they need water, they throw out a smell, and they begin to wilt, starting at the bottom, moving up. You can also use the lift method to tell when the container is dry, and almost always you will "feel" a dry container, before the above mentioned wilt and fragrance pump happens. Rusty Trichome taught me an important lesson; every time I think that I need to do something to my plants, I wait a bit... and I try to move at the speed that my plants are moving. "Patience, above all else." --Rusty


If you have a moisture meter you can also use it to find where the wet/dry (water table) line is in your container, and you can watch that wet/dry line move down over time. I used to graph my water table level by day, so that I could project ahead when the wet dry line would reach the last inch of container. Your wet/dry line will never go lower than that last inch or so, because once you get down in there, you are in all the big tap roots and mass at the bottom, and it tends to stay wet there longer because of capillary effect. Again, if you wait for the first sign of wilt and that perfume pump that happens at "water me" point, it will usually be just a bit longer than your measurements would indicate. Once the water table line is anywhere in that bottom inch is ok to water. You have dried out 95% of the water by that time and the roots have been chasing it as the wet/dry line progresses both downward and outward. The suction caused by the diaphragm that is the water table, will have pulled oxygen down deep into the container, and filled any voids. The roots will be happy.


Why do we up-pot?
The art of successive up-potting is important in growing a healthy root system. People like to be lazy. I am constantly seeing new gardeners take a little sprig of a weed and put it in a big 3 or 5 gallon container, thinking that they have done a good thing, and are now done with it... it's on to harvest time! The problem is, this doesn't work, because it gives you zero control over developing the roots, and without crazy watering techniques, almost no chance of a solid root ball forming. It is imperative to successively up pot your plants through stages so that the root system can roughly take on the same size and shape as the plant in order to get the maximum productivity. The roots grow aggressively in these weeds, and if you confine them to a container the size of the plant, they will fill that space in a short time with a dense root system. Putting a plant in an oversized container can and often does, result in all the roots going to the bottom, drowning the plant, root rot and overall poor health because of a lack of a root ball, and certainly less than optimum harvests. It is important to force these weeds into producing a root ball at various stages, to give the plant the ability later on to take in the massive amounts of nutrients needed to produce lots of quality buds.
The plants in the smaller containers can also more directly show you when they are thriving or more importantly when they are not. A strong healthy plant will eventually outgrow its container and an observant gardener is carefully watching the length of time between wet/dry cycles, and directly relating shorter cycles with more robust roots. A smaller container also gives the gardener the ability to see when the moment arrives that the amount of soil the plant is in is no longer large enough for the plant's abilities to be happy in it, because it will be obvious when the plant can drain the water that soil is able to hold, in less than 24 hours. Your soil and your container at that point have ceased at that point to be a good enough buffer, and it is time to double the space the roots have to work with. Let your plant show you when that time is, and try not to make decisions for her.


Why is pH important?
Some people claim that pH is not important, and if you are a pure organic gardener, never applying chlorinated water or salt based synthetic nutrients at your plants, pH indeed is not important. For the 99.9% rest of the world, a very important lesson for the new gardener to learn is the importance of pH. There is a scientific reason why a proper pH allows the plants to use synthetic nutrients, and why being outside of the proper range can cause deficiencies. If you want to grow pot using chemicals, you need to invest in a method to test the pH of any water going into the plant, whether it is plain water or water mixed with nutrients, and whether it is applied to the roots or sprayed on the leaves. If you neglect the pH, you can easily create deficiencies in your plants, and if left unchecked, you can even kill them. If you spend a lot of money on nutrients, it makes sense that you would want to also create the proper environment so that the plant can use these nutrients, but with a pH way out of the 6.3-6.8 range in soil, a lot of those expensive nutrients will just sit there, not doing the plant any good. If you are in a soilless mix, pH in the range of 5.5-6.1 is necessary. It is only within these ranges that all the nutrients are mobile, are able to be broken free of their salt bonds and be in the form that can go into the plants. Most soils and systems are designed so that you can apply liquids at a lower pH and then the soil or the soilless mix causes a drift, so that the pH can visit each spot in the usable pH range for that medium, and all of the 17 needed nutrients will be picked up, each in its turn.


I hope that this study on containers, watering and pH helps someone who reads it. This paper was a result of having to explain these same concepts over and over and over again to new growers at they hit the forums, until finally I put all these thoughts together into this paper. Some of the thoughts previously given have also been refined for this publication, as questions were asked and answered the last time I posted it, and I have learned better ways of explaining my thoughts. Here, I give you, approximately draft 10 of this paper.


Be well everyone and blessings from my garden to yours,
Sense Emilya
I'm doing outdoor right now in 45 gallon grow bag. Is it safe to assume that the same rule applies? It will be a balancing act though I think cause I wouldnt want the water to close to the edge cause it will just flow out of the sides of the bag.
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
I'm doing outdoor right now in 45 gallon grow bag. Is it safe to assume that the same rule applies? It will be a balancing act though I think cause I wouldnt want the water to close to the edge cause it will just flow out of the sides of the bag.
yes, it all applies just the same... and we use cloth bags inside too... how in the world could we do it if you cant while outside? The key is to water slower, and with smaller amounts at a time.
 

fatboy578

Member
Outside of us 1st timers making the mistake of over or under watering our plants Id say the next big hurdle regarding this issue is finding accurate information on;
1) Did I over or under water and what are the signs, what does the plant look like when this occurs?
2) What are the possible remedies for both situations?
3) What to expect during the remedy period?
This information has been terribly difficult for me to obtain (except for here) over the internet as Im constantly getting mixed information.
For you reg long timers you'd think this was a silly thing, but its not...at least for me.
The oroig post is worth its weight in gold..or bud if you prefer.
I agree with you 100%. I too have not found reliable information on the net. This is a plant saver.
 

FeloniousPunk

Well-Known Member
Hi Emilya,

Thanks for this thread and for gathering all the information and putting it in an easy to read post!

Maybe I missed it, but what about watering cans? I use a 2 litre watering can with an end piece with many holes in it. This spreads the water more evenly and may even add oxygen as the water leaves the can. Do you use such a watering can?

FP:peace:
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
Hi Emilya,

Thanks for this thread and for gathering all the information and putting it in an easy to read post!

Maybe I missed it, but what about watering cans? I use a 2 litre watering can with an end piece with many holes in it. This spreads the water more evenly and may even add oxygen as the water leaves the can. Do you use such a watering can?

FP:peace:
I have a little 3 cup watering pitcher, that I have marked at the 1 cup, 2 cup and 3 cup levels so that I can consistently start with 1 cup all around the room, and then 2 cups consistently... and by the time we reach runoff, I know exactly how much each plant took.
 

BakedARea

Well-Known Member
I wanted to say thank you @Emilya for this great thread. I have incorporated similar practices in the past with many of my fruit trees and other veggies. A common trait with potted citrus trees for instance is they often do not thrive when placed into a container that is too large. I am currently in my first grow using fabric pots (also a first) and I think I am experiencing overwatering and a couple other issues. I will practice your methods moving forward and look forward to their rebound from my ignorance. Thanks again!
 

Ifbleaf

Active Member
The Proper Way to Water a Potted Plant
Also covered: the importance of pH and why we successively up-pot


How to Water
Over the last several years I have put a lot of study into this, and I feel that I can now define the proper way to water a potted plant. Keep in mind that this discussion applies to at least 3 gallon containers and bigger. Please realize that this special plant of ours does not grow like anything else you have ever tried to grow, and no matter how good you are at growing peas, beans and tomatoes, you will have to change your methods to grow a weed.


The first rule of watering is to always water slowly, using no more than a quart at a time, pausing often to let the soil suck air in behind the water as it pools on the top. For me, that involves a routine of watering each of my plants with 1 quart, then taking a nice relaxing drink of whatever beverage I have brought with me to the tent. Then I take a deep breath, making sure to exhale deeply onto this plant, letting her know that I love her. After this, I take a nice big hit off of the pipe that also followed me into the tent, and then after a nice pause and maybe another drink, I go back to plant #1 and repeat the cycle. For 2 rounds, I water the entire surface of the soil, watching it pool up and get sucked down.


After this initial wetting of the top, my watering method changes a bit. Now, I want to do whatever I can to make the outside edges of the container, the wettest areas. Still only using a quart at a time, I now carefully water only there, all around the plant, only on the edges. While doing this, I slow down a bit so that the water doesn't pool as much in the center, always concentrating on the edges. The center will end up getting some too, and that's fine, but the wettest areas of the pot will be on the outside edges and you will be driving nutrient rich soil into the dense original root ball. Continue this, again going slow, maybe with a deep breath in the middle of it, and then continue all around, taking drinks, deep breaths and hits in between each round. Continue until you see the first signs of runoff, and then stop.


Look carefully at the surface of your container now. You will clearly see where the root ball is from your last transplant, because it will now be sticking up just a little bit above the original outer rim. Very fine soil has been driven through the original root ball with the flow of water and soil from the outer edges. This micro fine soil is very rich with nutrients because of its mobility. When you water from the outside edges, you force this micro fine sludge into the dense root ball, where it can do the most good. Once you establish this flow pattern in the container, you can be assured of totally replacing the micro soil in the center of the root ball with new soil, every time you water. Watering in the normal way does not create his circular flow, and root growth cannot be nearly as aggressive.

Lastly, take one last quart of water, and water very very slowly, just in the raised area where the original root ball is. As you do so, watch what happens at the outer edge of the original root ball.

You will see the very finest soil, almost a mud, migrating out of the old root ball, and into the middle! This completes the process of soil exchange in the container. In this manner, all the roots get to take advantage of the nutrients in the soil, and the roots follow the migration of the nutrient rich soil, toward the outer edges, creating lateral growth. I strive to actively drive the soil out of the middle, making room for the roots to grow more dense and bigger there, and as they do, the lateral growth also has to increase. Using this method, I have seen a steady increase in the amount of water needed to get to run off throughout the grow and by the end, plants watered in this way use approximately 30% more water than is seen using standard watering techniques. Watering in the manner I have described allows for a constant circular flow of soil throughout the container and will create an extremely dense root ball.



Now it is time for a truism. It is best to water the roots, not the plant. A healthy and robust root system means a happy and productive plant. Neglect the roots and your plants can die, and certainly will be less than they could have been.

When do we water?
By far, one of the most common plant problems that I see with new gardeners is a lack of understanding as to when to water. New people get it set in their mind that watering every day or every other day is best, or that somehow, mysteriously, they know in their own human minds exactly how much water the plants need. These well-meaning new gardeners will determine that they will give exactly one quart or some other random amount, each time, no more... and no less, and really believe that they are doing a good thing for their plants, making these decisions for them.
Just as bad as these over-thinkers are the tomato gardeners, the "stick your finger in the ground" crowd, who proclaim: it's time to water when it is dry below the second knuckle. What they fail to realize is that when the top 2 inches is dry, the lower half of the container could still be saturated with water. Both of these common mistakes in watering methods are quick ways to drown your plants. These methods are not correct for growing weeds, and using them can actually kill your plants.


Marijuana is a weed, and the main thing that this scientific term refers to, is a class of plant that thrives in adversity. In order to grow it well, you need to understand that this incredibly robust plant works differently than other, less hardy plants. It is an extremely aggressive grower if you allow it to be, and to grow prize winning pot, you need to use its abilities to send out new roots to your advantage.


Watering incorrectly is the most common mistake that new weed farmers make. This plant needs a clear wet/dry cycle in order to thrive. If you keep it moist, you will kill it. The roots will aggressively chase your water, whatever you give them. If you just give a small amount every couple of days, that water will drop right to the bottom of the container. Your roots will follow, and will cluster on the bottom, instead of growing laterally throughout the container, and since they continually sit in the nutrient rich water, the plant sees little need to grow additional roots. How you water makes a huge difference in the formation of the root ball, and how this development happens is up to you.


There are many ways to tell when it is time to water, and if you wait long enough the girls will actually tell you that they are thirsty. They do two things when they see that they need water, they throw out a smell, and they begin to wilt, starting at the bottom, moving up. You can also use the lift method to tell when the container is dry, and almost always you will "feel" a dry container, before the above mentioned wilt and fragrance pump happens. Rusty Trichome taught me an important lesson; every time I think that I need to do something to my plants, I wait a bit... and I try to move at the speed that my plants are moving. "Patience, above all else." --Rusty


If you have a moisture meter you can also use it to find where the wet/dry (water table) line is in your container, and you can watch that wet/dry line move down over time. I used to graph my water table level by day, so that I could project ahead when the wet dry line would reach the last inch of container. Your wet/dry line will never go lower than that last inch or so, because once you get down in there, you are in all the big tap roots and mass at the bottom, and it tends to stay wet there longer because of capillary effect. Again, if you wait for the first sign of wilt and that perfume pump that happens at "water me" point, it will usually be just a bit longer than your measurements would indicate. Once the water table line is anywhere in that bottom inch is ok to water. You have dried out 95% of the water by that time and the roots have been chasing it as the wet/dry line progresses both downward and outward. The suction caused by the diaphragm that is the water table, will have pulled oxygen down deep into the container, and filled any voids. The roots will be happy.


Why do we up-pot?
The art of successive up-potting is important in growing a healthy root system. People like to be lazy. I am constantly seeing new gardeners take a little sprig of a weed and put it in a big 3 or 5 gallon container, thinking that they have done a good thing, and are now done with it... it's on to harvest time! The problem is, this doesn't work, because it gives you zero control over developing the roots, and without crazy watering techniques, almost no chance of a solid root ball forming. It is imperative to successively up pot your plants through stages so that the root system can roughly take on the same size and shape as the plant in order to get the maximum productivity. The roots grow aggressively in these weeds, and if you confine them to a container the size of the plant, they will fill that space in a short time with a dense root system. Putting a plant in an oversized container can and often does, result in all the roots going to the bottom, drowning the plant, root rot and overall poor health because of a lack of a root ball, and certainly less than optimum harvests. It is important to force these weeds into producing a root ball at various stages, to give the plant the ability later on to take in the massive amounts of nutrients needed to produce lots of quality buds.
The plants in the smaller containers can also more directly show you when they are thriving or more importantly when they are not. A strong healthy plant will eventually outgrow its container and an observant gardener is carefully watching the length of time between wet/dry cycles, and directly relating shorter cycles with more robust roots. A smaller container also gives the gardener the ability to see when the moment arrives that the amount of soil the plant is in is no longer large enough for the plant's abilities to be happy in it, because it will be obvious when the plant can drain the water that soil is able to hold, in less than 24 hours. Your soil and your container at that point have ceased at that point to be a good enough buffer, and it is time to double the space the roots have to work with. Let your plant show you when that time is, and try not to make decisions for her.


Why is pH important?
Some people claim that pH is not important, and if you are a pure organic gardener, never applying chlorinated water or salt based synthetic nutrients at your plants, pH indeed is not important. For the 99.9% rest of the world, a very important lesson for the new gardener to learn is the importance of pH. There is a scientific reason why a proper pH allows the plants to use synthetic nutrients, and why being outside of the proper range can cause deficiencies. If you want to grow pot using chemicals, you need to invest in a method to test the pH of any water going into the plant, whether it is plain water or water mixed with nutrients, and whether it is applied to the roots or sprayed on the leaves. If you neglect the pH, you can easily create deficiencies in your plants, and if left unchecked, you can even kill them. If you spend a lot of money on nutrients, it makes sense that you would want to also create the proper environment so that the plant can use these nutrients, but with a pH way out of the 6.3-6.8 range in soil, a lot of those expensive nutrients will just sit there, not doing the plant any good. If you are in a soilless mix, pH in the range of 5.5-6.1 is necessary. It is only within these ranges that all the nutrients are mobile, are able to be broken free of their salt bonds and be in the form that can go into the plants. Most soils and systems are designed so that you can apply liquids at a lower pH and then the soil or the soilless mix causes a drift, so that the pH can visit each spot in the usable pH range for that medium, and all of the 17 needed nutrients will be picked up, each in its turn.


I hope that this study on containers, watering and pH helps someone who reads it. This paper was a result of having to explain these same concepts over and over and over again to new growers at they hit the forums, until finally I put all these thoughts together into this paper. Some of the thoughts previously given have also been refined for this publication, as questions were asked and answered the last time I posted it, and I have learned better ways of explaining my thoughts. Here, I give you, approximately draft 10 of this paper.


Be well everyone and blessings from my garden to yours,
Sense Emilya
May I be blunt and ask are there any real differences in a smartpot? . I understand that the smartpot encourages root's to become a trimmed root ball. Assuming the pot is a suitable size??? Curious
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
May I be blunt and ask are there any real differences in a smartpot? . I understand that the smartpot encourages root's to become a trimmed root ball. Assuming the pot is a suitable size??? Curious
Yes, there is a huge difference. I have found that smartpots of all brands, especially those made by our sponsors, do encourage better root development. It is extremely hard to get a hard sided container to establish less than a 2 day cycle in flower, but it is easy to get to that point in a smart pot.
Consider the question that you asked me. "a trimmed root ball" Extrapolate this concept a bit further and realize that just like when you prune and top the plant above the soil, air pruning of the roots causes additional branching. In a smart pot this happens thousands of times, automatically... so much more efficiently than anyone other than a crazed gardener could do up top. Proper watering of a smart pot, while understanding the teasing out process, easily results in a visibly superior rootball. The difference is so apparent that given a choice, I will never again finish an indoor garden in a hard sided container... I get much better results in smart pots. I even bought very reasonably priced and high quality 1 gallon velcro transplant smart pots from GeoPots (our sponsor) so that I could take better advantage of this, earlier in the grow.
 

Ifbleaf

Active Member
Yes, there is a huge difference. I have found that smartpots of all brands, especially those made by our sponsors, do encourage better root development. It is extremely hard to get a hard sided container to establish less than a 2 day cycle in flower, but it is easy to get to that point in a smart pot.
Consider the question that you asked me. "a trimmed root ball" Extrapolate this concept a bit further and realize that just like when you prune and top the plant above the soil, air pruning of the roots causes additional branching. In a smart pot this happens thousands of times, automatically... so much more efficiently than anyone other than a crazed gardener could do up top. Proper watering of a smart pot, while understanding the teasing out process, easily results in a visibly superior rootball. The difference is so apparent that given a choice, I will never again finish an indoor garden in a hard sided container... I get much better results in smart pots. I even bought very reasonably priced and high quality 1 gallon velcro transplant smart pots from GeoPots (our sponsor) so that I could take better advantage of this, earlier in the grow.
Thanks for the reassurance.
 

AdaminCO

Well-Known Member
Hey Em, have you included how to water in the “Flowering” stage anywhere?

I’ve seen you discussing it with others, but wasn’t sure if you officially documented your recommendations on the process.
 

Emilya

Member of the Month: Mar 2019
Hey Em, have you included how to water in the “Flowering” stage anywhere?

I’ve seen you discussing it with others, but wasn’t sure if you officially documented your recommendations on the process.
yep, its in the thread... look for the addendum posting, where I had that revelation. :)
 

Elmer Fud

Active Member
The Proper Way to Water a Potted Plant
Also covered: the importance of pH and why we successively up-pot


How to Water
Over the last several years I have put a lot of study into this, and I feel that I can now define the proper way to water a potted plant. Keep in mind that this discussion applies to at least 3 gallon containers and bigger. Please realize that this special plant of ours does not grow like anything else you have ever tried to grow, and no matter how good you are at growing peas, beans and tomatoes, you will have to change your methods to grow a weed.


The first rule of watering is to always water slowly, using no more than a quart at a time, pausing often to let the soil suck air in behind the water as it pools on the top. For me, that involves a routine of watering each of my plants with 1 quart, then taking a nice relaxing drink of whatever beverage I have brought with me to the tent. Then I take a deep breath, making sure to exhale deeply onto this plant, letting her know that I love her. After this, I take a nice big hit off of the pipe that also followed me into the tent, and then after a nice pause and maybe another drink, I go back to plant #1 and repeat the cycle. For 2 rounds, I water the entire surface of the soil, watching it pool up and get sucked down.


After this initial wetting of the top, my watering method changes a bit. Now, I want to do whatever I can to make the outside edges of the container, the wettest areas. Still only using a quart at a time, I now carefully water only there, all around the plant, only on the edges. While doing this, I slow down a bit so that the water doesn't pool as much in the center, always concentrating on the edges. The center will end up getting some too, and that's fine, but the wettest areas of the pot will be on the outside edges and you will be driving nutrient rich soil into the dense original root ball. Continue this, again going slow, maybe with a deep breath in the middle of it, and then continue all around, taking drinks, deep breaths and hits in between each round. Continue until you see the first signs of runoff, and then stop.


Look carefully at the surface of your container now. You will clearly see where the root ball is from your last transplant, because it will now be sticking up just a little bit above the original outer rim. Very fine soil has been driven through the original root ball with the flow of water and soil from the outer edges. This micro fine soil is very rich with nutrients because of its mobility. When you water from the outside edges, you force this micro fine sludge into the dense root ball, where it can do the most good. Once you establish this flow pattern in the container, you can be assured of totally replacing the micro soil in the center of the root ball with new soil, every time you water. Watering in the normal way does not create his circular flow, and root growth cannot be nearly as aggressive.

Lastly, take one last quart of water, and water very very slowly, just in the raised area where the original root ball is. As you do so, watch what happens at the outer edge of the original root ball.

You will see the very finest soil, almost a mud, migrating out of the old root ball, and into the middle! This completes the process of soil exchange in the container. In this manner, all the roots get to take advantage of the nutrients in the soil, and the roots follow the migration of the nutrient rich soil, toward the outer edges, creating lateral growth. I strive to actively drive the soil out of the middle, making room for the roots to grow more dense and bigger there, and as they do, the lateral growth also has to increase. Using this method, I have seen a steady increase in the amount of water needed to get to run off throughout the grow and by the end, plants watered in this way use approximately 30% more water than is seen using standard watering techniques. Watering in the manner I have described allows for a constant circular flow of soil throughout the container and will create an extremely dense root ball.



Now it is time for a truism. It is best to water the roots, not the plant. A healthy and robust root system means a happy and productive plant. Neglect the roots and your plants can die, and certainly will be less than they could have been.

When do we water?
By far, one of the most common plant problems that I see with new gardeners is a lack of understanding as to when to water. New people get it set in their mind that watering every day or every other day is best, or that somehow, mysteriously, they know in their own human minds exactly how much water the plants need. These well-meaning new gardeners will determine that they will give exactly one quart or some other random amount, each time, no more... and no less, and really believe that they are doing a good thing for their plants, making these decisions for them.
Just as bad as these over-thinkers are the tomato gardeners, the "stick your finger in the ground" crowd, who proclaim: it's time to water when it is dry below the second knuckle. What they fail to realize is that when the top 2 inches is dry, the lower half of the container could still be saturated with water. Both of these common mistakes in watering methods are quick ways to drown your plants. These methods are not correct for growing weeds, and using them can actually kill your plants.


Marijuana is a weed, and the main thing that this scientific term refers to, is a class of plant that thrives in adversity. In order to grow it well, you need to understand that this incredibly robust plant works differently than other, less hardy plants. It is an extremely aggressive grower if you allow it to be, and to grow prize winning pot, you need to use its abilities to send out new roots to your advantage.


Watering incorrectly is the most common mistake that new weed farmers make. This plant needs a clear wet/dry cycle in order to thrive. If you keep it moist, you will kill it. The roots will aggressively chase your water, whatever you give them. If you just give a small amount every couple of days, that water will drop right to the bottom of the container. Your roots will follow, and will cluster on the bottom, instead of growing laterally throughout the container, and since they continually sit in the nutrient rich water, the plant sees little need to grow additional roots. How you water makes a huge difference in the formation of the root ball, and how this development happens is up to you.


There are many ways to tell when it is time to water, and if you wait long enough the girls will actually tell you that they are thirsty. They do two things when they see that they need water, they throw out a smell, and they begin to wilt, starting at the bottom, moving up. You can also use the lift method to tell when the container is dry, and almost always you will "feel" a dry container, before the above mentioned wilt and fragrance pump happens. Rusty Trichome taught me an important lesson; every time I think that I need to do something to my plants, I wait a bit... and I try to move at the speed that my plants are moving. "Patience, above all else." --Rusty


If you have a moisture meter you can also use it to find where the wet/dry (water table) line is in your container, and you can watch that wet/dry line move down over time. I used to graph my water table level by day, so that I could project ahead when the wet dry line would reach the last inch of container. Your wet/dry line will never go lower than that last inch or so, because once you get down in there, you are in all the big tap roots and mass at the bottom, and it tends to stay wet there longer because of capillary effect. Again, if you wait for the first sign of wilt and that perfume pump that happens at "water me" point, it will usually be just a bit longer than your measurements would indicate. Once the water table line is anywhere in that bottom inch is ok to water. You have dried out 95% of the water by that time and the roots have been chasing it as the wet/dry line progresses both downward and outward. The suction caused by the diaphragm that is the water table, will have pulled oxygen down deep into the container, and filled any voids. The roots will be happy.


Why do we up-pot?
The art of successive up-potting is important in growing a healthy root system. People like to be lazy. I am constantly seeing new gardeners take a little sprig of a weed and put it in a big 3 or 5 gallon container, thinking that they have done a good thing, and are now done with it... it's on to harvest time! The problem is, this doesn't work, because it gives you zero control over developing the roots, and without crazy watering techniques, almost no chance of a solid root ball forming. It is imperative to successively up pot your plants through stages so that the root system can roughly take on the same size and shape as the plant in order to get the maximum productivity. The roots grow aggressively in these weeds, and if you confine them to a container the size of the plant, they will fill that space in a short time with a dense root system. Putting a plant in an oversized container can and often does, result in all the roots going to the bottom, drowning the plant, root rot and overall poor health because of a lack of a root ball, and certainly less than optimum harvests. It is important to force these weeds into producing a root ball at various stages, to give the plant the ability later on to take in the massive amounts of nutrients needed to produce lots of quality buds.
The plants in the smaller containers can also more directly show you when they are thriving or more importantly when they are not. A strong healthy plant will eventually outgrow its container and an observant gardener is carefully watching the length of time between wet/dry cycles, and directly relating shorter cycles with more robust roots. A smaller container also gives the gardener the ability to see when the moment arrives that the amount of soil the plant is in is no longer large enough for the plant's abilities to be happy in it, because it will be obvious when the plant can drain the water that soil is able to hold, in less than 24 hours. Your soil and your container at that point have ceased at that point to be a good enough buffer, and it is time to double the space the roots have to work with. Let your plant show you when that time is, and try not to make decisions for her.


Why is pH important?
Some people claim that pH is not important, and if you are a pure organic gardener, never applying chlorinated water or salt based synthetic nutrients at your plants, pH indeed is not important. For the 99.9% rest of the world, a very important lesson for the new gardener to learn is the importance of pH. There is a scientific reason why a proper pH allows the plants to use synthetic nutrients, and why being outside of the proper range can cause deficiencies. If you want to grow pot using chemicals, you need to invest in a method to test the pH of any water going into the plant, whether it is plain water or water mixed with nutrients, and whether it is applied to the roots or sprayed on the leaves. If you neglect the pH, you can easily create deficiencies in your plants, and if left unchecked, you can even kill them. If you spend a lot of money on nutrients, it makes sense that you would want to also create the proper environment so that the plant can use these nutrients, but with a pH way out of the 6.3-6.8 range in soil, a lot of those expensive nutrients will just sit there, not doing the plant any good. If you are in a soilless mix, pH in the range of 5.5-6.1 is necessary. It is only within these ranges that all the nutrients are mobile, are able to be broken free of their salt bonds and be in the form that can go into the plants. Most soils and systems are designed so that you can apply liquids at a lower pH and then the soil or the soilless mix causes a drift, so that the pH can visit each spot in the usable pH range for that medium, and all of the 17 needed nutrients will be picked up, each in its turn.


I hope that this study on containers, watering and pH helps someone who reads it. This paper was a result of having to explain these same concepts over and over and over again to new growers at they hit the forums, until finally I put all these thoughts together into this paper. Some of the thoughts previously given have also been refined for this publication, as questions were asked and answered the last time I posted it, and I have learned better ways of explaining my thoughts. Here, I give you, approximately draft 10 of this paper.


Be well everyone and blessings from my garden to yours,
Sense Emilya
A few missed things. Or basrs you didnt touch on. But nice right up nonetheless :snowboating::peace:
 
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