Self-watering pots make the watering routine a breeze, and they work well with many plants. Learn how to make a self watering planter and keep the thirst away for your plants.
You can use them all the time, or when you go on a longer vacation as, depending on how you make them, they can hydrate your plants for weeks.
How to Make a Self Watering Planter
When it comes to making a self-watering planter, you can go about so many ways and many materials (containers) you can use to make your own.
What you need is a container that is larger or deeper than your plant pot and a water wicking cord.
The cord needs to be placed into the soil, either by pushing it through the drainage holes or adding to the soil when you are repotting your plant. So if you are repotting your plant, you won’t need anything else; however, if you don’t plan on repotting the plant anytime soon, something pointy to push the wick in the soil through the drainage holes will be needed. But more on this later on.
You can get water-wicking cords in stores and online stores. These are easy to use and aesthetically pleasing if you will opt for a see-through container.
Shoelaces are great for water-wicking as well. As you can get them in many color combinations, these are a wonderful choice as well.
Cloth wicks from old clothes, not all materials will work, so do give them a try. Cotton will wick water well.
Acrylic yarn and such does the job too (you can braid it).
With all materials, especially natural ones, check the condition of the wick every couple of weeks or months as there is a chance it might decompose or start rotting. If you notice the wick is in bad shape, replace it.
Making a Self Watering Planter
The most important thing to keep in mind when making your own self-watering planter is to keep the pot that stores the soil and is the home of your plant above the water level in the other container. The pot should not sit in water as this will lead to overwatering. Another thing to keep in mind is that not all plants will benefit from this.
Succulents and other plants that don’t require a lot of water (and even prefer dry soil for periods of time) aren’t great for this – choose plants that like their soil moist. That said, African violets, surprisingly thrive in self watering pots.
The distance between your pot and water level shouldn’t be too big either, as there are limits to how high the water will travel through the wick effectively.
Now that these two basics in mind, it’s time to get creative! You can use many things as containers for the water reservoir of your self-watering planter.
Plastic bottles, cups, regular planters, glass jars… Anything really can be turned into a self-watering planter. We’ll show you how to make a self watering planter with a glass jar and how to turn a regular planter into a self-watering one.
How to get the wick cord into the soil?
Pushing the cord into the soil on it’s own will most likely prove to be mission impossible.
A inexpensive solution is using bobby pins. Manipulating wire into a fitting shape is also very effective.
Lets make this.
Prepare your materials. A bobby pin and cord – either store bought or make your own from fabric.
Cut the cord. The length depends on the size of the water container. It’s better to have a thread that is a bit too long than one that is too short.
Secure the Wick
This might not be true for all bobby pins; however for the basic metal ones, if you cross the legs of the pin and push them to a certain point, they will stay that way, making it perfect for the purpose we need here.
So go on ahead and push the cord inside the bobby pin and then pinch it, so it snaps into the crossed shape. This will secure the cord, making it easy to push it through the drainage hole in the planter.
All right, now that this is done, the only thing that is left to do is to push it through the drainage hole – head part first.
Glass jars are convenient as you can easily monitor the water level and add more water when needed. Their size also makes them great for many plants.
Ensure the jar’s opening is smaller than the width of the pot so that the pot with the plant doesn’t fall through. If the opening is larger than the plant pot, you can fill the jar with pebbles and have the plant sit on top of it.
Decorative pots are a great choice, they just need to be a bit bigger than the pot that holds your plant.
The pot with the plant will need to be above the water at all times if you want to avoid rot root. You can do this by using a stand, placing it inside your decorative pot, or filling the decorative pot with rocks. Place the pot with the plant on top of the stand or on top of the rocks.
The rocks will decrease the volume of water your self-watering pot can store, but they are still a good solution.
How to Make a Self Watering Planter from Your Old Planter
Fill the planter with rocks. Test the height by placing your planter with a plant inside the planter with rocks – add more or remove them depending on the height.
The size of the stones depends on the size of the plant’s pot, larger pots will do well with larger rocks, however small pots might be hard to balance on larger stones. You might need to move the stones around a little to make the planter with the plant well balanced on top of them.
Push the cord between the rocks, get it as deep as possible (using a pen works well).
When adding water, make sure the water level doesn’t rise as much for it to touch the plant planter.