Self-watering planters have a very simple design and work on basic concepts. A plastic, hollow platform rests in the bottom of the pot to create the reservoir. The top of the platform is solid, with one or more holes to allow water to drain from the plant’s soil and collect underneath. Some self-watering planters are additionally fitted with watering tubes that protrude from the top of the soil once the pot is filled with medium. Others also have an overflow hose to prevent standing water above the platform.
The water that’s trapped below the plastic platform is dealt back to the soil through wicking, or “capillary action,” gently hydrating the growing medium. You may find advertisements that claim your plant will get exactly the amount of water it needs from this system, but keep in mind that the self-watering pot isn’t magic. They do deal back an average amount of moisture for an average plant under most conditions. This means that plants that need very dry conditions or those that require boggier soil won’t do well in self-watering pots, but your standard garden vegetables, annuals and many perennials are excellent self-watering container candidates.
You can purchase self-watering planters from just about any home and garden retailer, and we have quite a wide selection right here at Hooks & Lattice. If you already have a planter you love, transform it into a self-watering planter by adding a reservoir beneath the soil. You may even be able to exercise your DIY skills and create one from scratch. Whatever method you choose, your plants’ roots will draw up exactly as much water as they need, and you’ll spend less time watering and more time relaxing in the garden.