Indoor Gardening for Beginners - Why you NEED Self-Watering Planters
Since the lockdown caused by the pandemic, there have been a lot of people who have been stuck at home, looking for something that could possibly connect them to the outside world, to nature. For this, people have started to garden as a hobby. This has led to a whole generation of novice gardeners in the pandemic. Many homes now contain an indoor garden and offices have also begun to dedicate a space to introduce some greenery into their spaces.
For any beginner looking to get into gardening as a hobby or plant-loving enthusiasts who have to travel for days together, it is best to have a self-watering planter. This way, they can avoid making mistakes on their first foray into indoor gardening. They have become very trendy in recent years and most plant enthusiasts have started trying out self-watering planter pots.
Self-watering pots allow your plants to stay hydrated while you are away. They are a convenient option for plant parents who struggle to keep up a consistent watering schedule or travel often.
Self-watering planters don’t actually water themselves. But they do provide a consistent source of moisture to the plants in them and allow you to water less frequently.
Parts of the Self-Watering Planter
Self-watering planters usually have all these parts:
The bottom section of the self-watering planter contains the water reservoir. Reservoirs vary in size from having a capacity of 3 liters to 18 liters. The planter size depends on the level of moisture that the soil in it requires.
The planting pot is the main container that has the growing plant that’s being hydrated. The pot needs to be as big as the plant in it needs the pot to be.
The inner container of the planter contains a cotton wick that pulls water into the soil using capillary action and hydrates the soil.
A fill tube is used to pour water directly into the reservoir. The fill tube can be a simple tube placed in the corner of the planter, a hole in the planter’s rim, or an opening in the container wall that gives water direct access to the reservoir.
Overflow hole or Spout
Good planters have an overflow mechanism to allow water to drain out if the reservoir is full. If the reservoir is overflowing, the plant is most likely going to start to rot. So, having the overflow mechanism helps to get rid of the excess water.
Water Level Indicator
The planters have an indicator that shows the water level of the reservoir. This helps you to get an idea of when the reservoir needs to be refilled.
Drainage hole and Plug
A drainage hole with a plug allow you to drain the planter of water if you need to move it or change the plant.
How do Self-Watering Planters Work?
The Self-Watering Planter has two pots - the inner pot that holds both plant and soil and the outer pot that holds water. The inner container contains a cotton wick that pulls water into the soil and hydrates. The wick moves water from the reservoir into the pot through capillary action.
What is Capillary Action?
Capillary action is the movement of liquids in narrow spaces without the effect of external forces like gravity. Capillary rise is the flow of such a liquid against gravity.
The pores of the soil used in planters are usually comparable to narrow spaces where capillary action can take place. This is observed in nature, where trees and plants are able to absorb groundwater because it rises through the soil from the water table below. If the soil grain size is low, then the pores of the soil are also low. Therefore, the pores act as capillary tubes and give a high rise of water.
This process can be helped to get more effective through the use of a cotton wick to act as a method of capillary transfer. The wick can be a strip, an absorbent tube, or a thick string.
Benefits of Self-Watering Plants
Consistent Moisture and Less Frequent Watering
Self-watering containers provide consistent moisture for your plants. This is especially helpful for plants that need consistent watering. Make sure that your plant can benefit from consistent watering.
More Efficient Use of Water
The water inside the reservoir is definitely bound for the plant’s absorption. This way, the self-watering planter is more efficient compared to normal planters as there is no water at the surface of the planter that can evaporate into the atmosphere.
Prevents Plant Diseases
Some plants like tomatoes are prone to fungal diseases if the leaves get wet. Therefore, you can prevent plant diseases from occurring and spreading to other plants in the vicinity.
How to Set up the Self-Watering Planter
Check out the video linked above to get a better understanding of how you can set up your own self-watering planter pot.
Alternatively, follow these steps:
- Make sure the wick is out of the inner container.
- Place the plant along with the soil in the inner container of the self-watering pot.
- Fill the water reservoir with the required level of water.
- Place the inner container over the water reservoir.
The following video shows how the Self-Watering Planter is set up. In this video, we’re using the Transparent White Self Watering Pot by About Space.
What do users of Self-Watering Planters say?
We asked a few people about their experience with self-watering planters and pots. This is what they had to say.
"I found the self-watering planter a great place to keep my white lilies. It was definitely a better experience than having a normal planter!"
"The self-watering planter is a great purchase! It's perfect for keeping my indoor plants. The Smart Water level indicator feature was an added bonus!"
Best Practices for Self-Watering Planters
These are our recommended practices for using Self-Watering Planters:
- The water reservoir can be refilled once every 10 days - it depends on how big your plant is, how much sun it receives in a day, and whether the plant likes wet soil or dry - you will learn the needs of the plants with time.
- Since the soil tends to remain moist throughout, it is better to plant flowering saplings, herbs, veggies, and other tropical plants that like moisture in the soil. Avoid planting succulents and cacti that need well-draining soil that needs to dry out before watering.
- Place tropical plants in bright indirect sunlight for good growth. You can also place it next to a window that receives up to 4 to 6 hours of morning sunlight.
- There are many designs available for Self-watering pots, choose styles that suit your décor and lifestyle. There are even Smart Self Watering Pots that work for busy plant lovers.
- If you want to be able to fertilize the soil through the water you can use a liquid fertilizer like seaweed and pour a few drops into the water reservoir.
That’s all there is to Self-Watering Planters. If you’re interested in starting a garden or in making a small green space, we definitely recommend that you try them out. And once you do, do let us know how the experience was.