How to Put Bleach in Standing Water in Plant Pots


Many plants, such as water lilies and some bamboo, grow well in standing water. However, potted plants filled with standing water can become foul-smelling and fill with bacteria, which is unsuitable for the plants. Bacteria can hinder a plant's ability to absorb water. By adding a small amount of bleach to the water, you can help eliminate the bacteria.

Step 1

Empty the pots of the standing water, especially if it is foul-smelling or discolored. It's best to start with fresh water. If possible, do this outdoors or in a utility sink.

Step 2

Scrub the pots--inside and out--with soapy water and a nylon scrub brush. This will help kill remaining bacteria residue. Use an old toothbrush to get under the rims if necessary. One gallon of warm water with a couple drops of dish detergent will suffice.

Step 3

Rinse the pots well and fill them with clean, fresh water.

Step 4

Mix in 2 drops of liquid household bleach (labeled 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite) to every quart of water. Use a dropper for accuracy. Do not use bleach mixed with soap.

Step 5

Add plants to the pots filled with water. The standing water should not grow bacteria again.

Things You'll Need

  • Water
  • Dish soap
  • Nylon scrub brush
  • Toothbrush
  • Bleach
  • Dropper


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Keywords: household bleach, standing water, plant pots

About this Author

Melissa Lewis graduated from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and is a former elementary classroom teacher and media specialist. She has written over 20 episodes for the radio drama entitled "A Work in Progress." She also writes for several online outlets, including Gardenguides, Travels and Examiner, and is currently finalizing a movie script to be filmed in 2010.