Self watering pots really are a worthy investment when it comes to garden solutions. They’re easy to build/buy, easy to maintain and can quickly improve your plant health and help you to avoid a pesky root-rot problem.
Looking for a solution to help make your plant watering easier and more consistent?
Here’s our complete guide so you know what to look for when it comes to self-watering planters.
What are Self Watering Pots?
Also known as sub-irrigation containers, self-watering planters are a great buy for novice and experienced home gardeners.
They also work remarkably well with herbs. Self watering pots are fairly easy to construct, but there are some wonderfully stylish, commercial options available on market that are ready to use.
Do Self Watering Pots Really Work?
When used correctly, self-watering planters are incredibly effective at maintaining moisture levels and providing your plants with just the right amount of water that they need.
Now, these pots don’t actually water themselves, they merely support a watering reservoir system that allows your plant to draw up the water they need.
For maximum effectiveness, regulate the water in the reservoir to avoid overfilling or excessive dry spells.
Using water soluble fertilizers for the water in the reservoir is also a great way to guarantee your plants pick up all the valuable nutrients they need.
How Self Watering Planters Work
There are 4 basic elements that you’ll find across most kinds of self-watering planters, which are:
- The Growing Bed. The growing bed is the main container which houses the soil and plants.
- The Potting Soil. This is the soil that goes in the growing bed. It is recommended to use a lightweight, super-absorbent soil mixture.
- The Water Reservoir. This is the space underneath the growing bed. Modern self-watering pots will have a pipe outlet which allows you to regulate and fill your reservoir.
- Foot or Wicking System. This refers to the system that allows your plant to absorb the water from the reservoir.
There are two types of systems that enable your plant two draw up water:
How Long Do Self-Watering Pots Work?
Once your reservoir is filled, your self-watering pot will for as long as a week without any other attention. Obviously, in particularly humid or moisture-rich climates, this can be extended significantly.
As there are no real mechanics involved, a self-watering garden can last you a lifetime when maintained properly.
What is the Best Self Watering Planter?
There are many stylish options available on market that are the best self watering pots. These pots are manufactured to help you easily and effectively regulate your water.
Plus, some of them hide the mechanism so effectively that you won’t even notice it’s a self watering garden.
Here’s our top 10 picks when it comes to self watering planters:
A great option for fruit and vegetable seedling, flowers and herbs. With passive hydroponic action this planter will help to maintain an ideal balance of oxygen and water around the root zone.
With a built-in water-level indicator, you won’t need to worry about maintaining your levels.
A sleek and elegant choice to compliment your home's aesthetic.
This gorgeous self watering plant pots with stylish, white plastic base is ideal for herbs, ivy, orchids or seedling plants.
It’s ideal for shelves, desktops or in your kitchen. A great option for minimalist spaces.
This terrifically tall planter is great for outdoors, on your patio or in your garden.
Reaching 76.2 cm in height it’s beautifully patterned self-watering planter that can fit into your home garden aesthetic.
It’s also lightweight so easy to maneuver and move around.
Not only does this self watering pot come in a variety of cool colors, but it’s super lightweight and elegant.
The incorporated system generates maximum oxygen and moisture to ensure fast growing plants, plus a sleek water meter so you can make sure your plants stay happy.
With award-winning design, this pot is ideal for your home, office and even outdoors.
This low maintenance, plastic planter pot Is perfect for window sills and counters. Plant multiple pretty plants or herbs in this minimalist design planter.
It comes with a hydro-felt pad ideal for plant self-absorption. A highly-functional planter for any space.
GlowPear makes some of the most attractive contemporary planters on the market, this large self watering pot included. The Urban Garden planter comes in four sizes, with the biggest able to accommodate around 60-70 litres of compost for use as a self watering vegetable planter, or as a statement pot in a modern garden layout.
GlowPear’s water reservoir is easy to fill, tops up with rain water by itself, and with a built in water gauge you can check the moisture levels easily without taking the full tray out from underneath.
Keter raised large self watering planter bed has generous planting space and a dedicated self watering section specifically for propagation.
It’s simple raised design is perfect for small gardens, balconies or greenhouses, and comes with a storage shelf for extra pots, seed boxes or more pots.
The only downside of the Keter planter is that it doesn’t have an automatic overflow like most planters, so will need to be manually drained.
Using wicks to draw water into the compost from the removable reservoir below means this self watering window pot will never over water your plants, and always keep them dry.
If you accidentally water them when the pot is full, simply remove the main pot to drain and place it back into the outer pot.
We’ve always liked wick planters for their simple design, and this one is no different, using simple physics to help you with garden maintenance.
PlanterHoma’s planter is perfect for kitchen herbs, or trailing veg, keeping your crops watered without much need for attention. You won’t find a better value for a large self watering pot than this.
Compared to all rivals, it’s almost half the price, with two planters for the price of one of its competitors.
Amazing Creation has built one of the most beautiful large self watering pots on the market. It’s marketed as a herb planter but perfect for flowers, house plants and succulents too.
It works using the same capillary action as the PlanterHoma pot, but allows the soil to fall into a channel that sucks water up without the need for a wick, meaning this pot will last longer without any need for replacement wicks.
Its clever water level indicator can be removed for aesthetics, but is a subtle way to keep track of watering, without ever needing to dip your finger into the soil to test for moisture.
What really drew me to this was that, of all the large self watering pots, it’s the only one that really cares about design, with simple curved edges and a durable stone effect surface that would fit in in any home.
Turn any planter into a self watering pot with this ingenious system from Artevasi. This clever solution helps keep costs down, if budget is an issue and will fit any large pot you already own.
The surprisingly spacious reservoir can irrigate pots for up to 4 weeks, and even be buried in the ground around young trees to keep them well watered in their early years.
The system is based on municipal tree planting, which has seen trees planted with similar systems for decades. It’s great to have access to such adaptable technology for our own homes.
Best Self Watering Pots Australia
Best Self-Watering Pot for 2022
This Gardenbasix Self Watering Planter is our pick as the best self-watering planter for 2022! The wick draws water up from the base, helping your plants stay well-watered without the risk of drying out or being over-watered.
This set of sleek and stylish pots will look great on any windowsill, and is ideal for herbs, indoor plants, and orchids, and the water injection port makes it easy to fill the reservoir.
Best Value Self-Watering Pot
If you don’t want to break the bank but still want something functional and stylish, the GardenBasix Watering Modern Decorative Pot is a great option.
It’s a trough-style planter, so you can fill it with a number of different indoor or outdoor plants, and it looks neat and stylish on any window sill or balcony.
It’s a good size for orchids, herbs and small vegetables, and it’s easy to track the water level in the reservoir so your plants never run dry.
Premium Choice Self-Watering Pot
The Lechuza Tall Patterned Pot is an eye-catching and stylish choice, making it a great option for a home where you want a statement piece. It’s around 75cm tall, so it’s ideal for bigger indoor plants for your home or office, and the generous reservoir is easy to fill to keep your plants watered.
It’s an all-in-one set, so there’s no assembly or need to buy additional extras – just fill the reservoir, plant your favourite indoor plant, and enjoy!
Self Watering Pots Pros and Cons
So, by now you’re perhaps wondering if a self-watering pot really is worth it. Most significantly, if maintained a self-watering system can help you save a lot of time.
Here’s a quick look at the self-watering pots pros and cons:
- It Improves Water Drainage. Self-watering pots actually decrease the chances of root rot as water is given more space to drain and is only replenished when needed.
- It’s Resource Efficiency. You can make sure your plant is actually making use of the water you give it and as such you avoid any waste of water.
- It Encourages Root Growth. Roots will grow looking for the water reservoir, so you’ll find a significant improvement in root growth.
- You’ll Have Healthier Plants. Not only will you avoid rot, but your plants will get only clean water into which you can easily add plant food, fertilizer or salts.
- It’s Convenient. You won’t have to panic, think of the last time you’ve watered and how much to give, simply keep your reservoir at the right level for your plants and the pot will do the rest.
- All Nutrients Remain in Soil. As the water-source is below the plant, valuable minerals and fertilizers are not washed out of the soil with watering.
- Restrictive. Obviously, you can generally only plant one plant per pot. For a full self-watering garden, it can become expensive.
- Soil Temperature Control. Soil temperature can vary far more than if your plants are planted in the ground. Unless UV protected, avoid keeping your pots in full-sun.
- Not an Ideal Outdoor Option. Leaving the soil to be exposed to things like rain, where the water would come from above the Soil, it can cause water-logging and rot.
How Do You Make A Self-Watering Pot?
If you’re a DIY fanatic or not interested in buying a sleek and stylish manufactured pot, you do have the option of making one from home.
- 1 x Medium to Large Planter Pot
- 1 x 15 cm Overflow Pipe (Plastic or Metal)
- 2 x Recycled Plastic Bottles (To fit horizontally at pot base)
- 1 x Watering Pipe (about 4cm in diameter)
- Scrap shade cloth or weed guard.
- A drill.
Step by Step Procedure
- Seal the holes at the base of the pot. Be sure the seal is airtight to avoid any water leakage.
- Drill a large hole just above the line where the reservoir would start for the overflow pipe. Insert the pipe into the hole so approximately 7.5cm are inside the pot and 7.5cm are sticking out of the pot.
- Drill small holes all over the plastic holes. The number or holes and size will depend on what you’re planting. For plants that prefer dry soil, do smaller holes and less of them. Then, place horizontally at the base of the pot.
- Cover the bottles with a few layers of shade cloth, ensuring to tuck the sides. Your aim is to avoid allowing any soil into the reservoir. Still, you won’t want it to be overly thick, either.
- Make a hole in the cloth for the watering pipe and insert it vertically into the hole. Securing the base between the two bottles.
- Fill the rest of the pot with soil, leaving the watering pipe visible.
- Plant seeds or seedlings, fill up your reservoir, and you’re ready to go!
Summing-Up Best Self-Watering Pots for 2022
So, there you have it, everything you need to know about the best self-watering pots and how to use them or even make your own.
When weighing up the self watering pots pros and cons, be sure to remember that these pots can last a really long time when looked after properly.
For easy, consistent watering for your indoor plants, invest a self watering pot.