I like to garden and grow houseplants, but I also like to travel. I finally figured out how to combine my two pleasures successfully—self-watering pots. With self-watering pots and planters I can go away knowing my plants will get the water they need. Believe it or not, I can leave my houseplants for as long as a month! Self-watering containers have other advantages: they take the guesswork out of watering, help prevent root rot, and make it easier for busy people to maintain their gardens. It’s also great if you have plants in places that are hard to reach.
How to Use Self Watering Planters
Self-watering planters have reservoirs that hold water. The amount of water varies with the size and style of the planter. Some have a wicking material that transports the water to the soil, while others rely on capillary mats and/or evaporative action to moisten the soil. A refill tube makes it easy to refill the reservoir with water. Some self-watering planters include a water level indicator or a window in the reservoir to help you judge when you need to add water.
A lightweight, well-drained soil mix works well in self-watering containers. It promotes growth and aeration. While proportions and ingredients vary, a typical mix may contain equal parts perlite and peat. Shellfish compost is another common component of some container mixes. Frequency of watering depends on the size of the reservoir, the size of the container, the type of plants, and environmental conditions such as sun, wind, and rain. For indoor plants, heat and air conditioning affect how quickly the plants use up the water in the reservoir.
Some self-watering containers include staking systems designed for tomatoes and other crops that need support. You can also buy self-watering raised garden containers, which are ideal for people who prefer to garden at waist height. Containers may come with casters for easy moving, fertilizer, and/or mulch.
Interested in making your own self watering pot?
You can buy self-watering planters in all shapes and sizes, from individual pots to hanging baskets to window boxes. You can also buy conversion kits and transform your favorite containers into self-watering pots. Or you can make your own self-watering pots with instructions from websites like these: