I’m notorious for killing plants: My Opalina succulent shed all its petals, and three of my trailing ivies shriveled after only a month. Even self-watering pots, beginner-friendly varieties, and calendar reminders didn’t fix my curse. It was only when I came across a trick on Instagram that I was able to turn my luck around. It’s called bottom watering

The technique is exactly what the name suggests. Submerge your vessel about halfway into a container of water and hold it there until you notice liquid is no longer being soaked up into the pot (in my experience, a small neon pothos only takes a minute or two). With this method, the plant drinks directly through its roots, taking only what it needs and no more—so over- or underwatering is essentially impossible. The best part is that it waters the soil uniformly and allows the roots to stretch downward, which is ideal for growth.  

After a few attempts, I got a routine going. I grab a mixing bowl (the biggest container I have in my tiny apartment) and fill it with water from the kitchen sink. I lay a towel across the dining table and bring all my plants to join the party. Most of my greenery is on the smaller side, but if you have a number of larger plants, the bathtub is an ideal spot for this. Just be sure the pots you’re working with have drainage holes so the water can get through.

I’ve been using this method for a few months now, and there has been a noticeable difference in my plants’ happiness. (So many new leaves!) Now if only I could figure out how to make room for all the thriving flora I hadn’t planned on keeping this long…