How to Water your Hanging Plants Without Making a Mess

One of the biggest challenges that comes with hanging plants is watering without making a mess. Dripping water can damage hardwood floors and carpets alike. But just as there are many different kinds of planters, there are also many different styles of watering to help you stay on top of your greenery and minimize the hassle. Here are a few of our favorites! 



This method is a classic. Leave your plants in their plastic nursery containers, and remove them from their decorative pot whenever it’s time to water. There’s less weight to carry this way, and because the nursery pots are well-draining, you can diminish the risk of over-watering without having to make a mess. 


Long Haul 

If you don’t have a plastic inner-lining, you can still transport your plants. Most hanging planters can be removed, whether you’re using macrame, or hanging directly from the ceiling. If your plants are mobile, you can easily take them down and carry them to the kitchen, porch, or shower. This way you aren’t dripping over any flooring or furniture. This takes more time, and pots can become heavy once watered, but it is fool-proof and gives you the chance to take a look at your plants up close, which is important for their health and wellbeing.

When using a sink or tub, you can water your plants from the bottom instead of the top, allowing the soil to saturate and the roots to draw water up. This is a great opportunity to add some fertilizer straight to the water as well! 


Towel / Bucket 

Another way to keep it simple is by grabbing your trusty step-ladder and watering can, and watering your plants right where they’re hanging. Simply throw a bucket or a towel down underneath them to catch and drips and spare your floors, and clean up later. This is a perfectly acceptable method if you don’t have time for the Long Haul.

Drip Tray

The simplest method of watering your hanging plants is to use a transparent tray to catch drips. You can place these on the ground beneath your hanging plant, if you were going to water with a traditional watering can, or you can place it inside of your hanging planter. The latter is by far the easier of the two options, because you don’t have to move the tray, just like with your terrestrial-growing plants .



This method is a little more exciting, but is truthfully just as easy. 

To begin, take a glass or plastic container (use the top half of an empty water bottle for extra sustainability) and a strip of cotton about six inches long. Fill your container with water and nestle it right into the soil of your hanging plant. Then, bury one end of the cotton strip two to three inches into the potting mix, and place the other end inside of the water container. 

The capillary quality of the cotton will act as a wick and draw the water from the reservoir down into the soil, providing moisture to your plant more gradually. 

Most of the time, what causes drips and leaks is watering your plant all at once. The water runs down to the drainage holes faster than it is absorbed into the soil, and a portion of the moisture leaks out the bottom. With this siphon method, because the soil is being saturated so slowly, there’s less water wasted, and the soil is able to absorb what it actually needs. 

This is an especially effective method of watering if you’re going on a trip for a long weekend and want to make sure your plants don’t go dry. Simply fill the reservoirs before you leave, and the plants will take care of themselves! 


Ice Cubes 

Another easy way to water your plants gradually is to use ice cubes. This is really handy if you’re short on time, or just don’t feel like lugging around a step stool and pitcher. 

Simply take one to two large ice cubes (for a small container) and set them into the soil toward the edge of the pot. You don’t want them to be too close to the base of the plant, because the cold temperature can be shocking to the plant’s system. As the ice melts, the water is gradually absorbed into the soil and dispersed throughout the whole pot. As with the siphon method, this dramatically reduces the possibility of drips. For larger pots, use four or five cubes instead.

Other Tips 

Soil in hanging plants can compact quickly, due to the increased heat near the ceiling. The drier your soil gets, the less able to absorb water it will be, and the less access your roots will have. Make sure you take your plants down and inspect the soil now and then to prevent this. If the soil is compacted, use your finger or a pair of chopsticks to break up the soil. A good way of preventing this compacting, and ensuring your plant’s access to water, is to water incrementally, rather than all at once. 

We hope you’ve found a helpful watering method here, and can tackle watering your hanging plants with confidence. Share your growing adventures with us @houseofplantlovers, and happy growing! 

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