Everything You Need to Know About Self-Watering Planters
Self-watering pots can be everything from a convenience to a necessity, depending on what type of plant you have potted in one. According to Bridget Zazzara, a retail indoor and seasonal plant manager for Logan's Trading Company in Raleigh, North Carolina, they certainly have their benefits—so long as you're using them correctly. As for how they work? A self-watering pot is basically a clay planter inserted into a glazed holder, notes Zazzara. "Neither pots have a hole for drainage," she says. "The glazed pot is the water reservoir for the clay pot." When the clay pot is inserted into the glazed one, water slowly sweeps through the clay, hydrating the plant from the roots up, instead of above. "Really, any plant besides succulents can be planted into a self-watering pot," she says.
The main benefit of using this type of vessel is that watering your plant from the bottom up avoids wetting the leaves, which, for plants like the African Violet or Rex Begonia, could be a death sentence. "Both those plants will get a fungal leaf spot on their foliage if they get too wet," she says. You just have to remember to keep water in the glazed pot, which can be tricky: You don't always know how much H2O is left when looking at the exterior (for most iterations, that is). "[But it is imperative] that the clay part stays moist to allow water to seep through," she notes. If you go a few days without checking, and the pot runs dry, you could cause irreparable damage to your plants. To remedy this, "check once or twice a week to make sure the reservoir is filled with water," continues Zazzara.
For the best results, Zazzara often tells her clients to soak the clay pot in water thoroughly before potting their plants in the first place. "Then fill the reservoir with water and insert the potted plant into it," she says, adding that for the first few days it may soak up a lot of water, but after it settles, hydration will become slow and steady. And good news—you don't have to worry about overwatering, since these vessels are designed to water on an as-needed basis. Want to give self-watering planters a try? Scoop up one of our favorites, below.
This iteration from MoMa Shop mitigates the biggest self-watering planter pain point (a lack of visibility), thanks to a clear glass exterior.
Shop Now: MoMA Shop Self-Watering Pot, from $34, westelm.com.
These wicker-style options are larger than life, and all but guarantee that your outdoor arrangements stay healthy all season long.
Shop Now: Lechuza Cubico Cottage Self-Watering Planter, $79.99, amazon.com.
This might be one of the most popular self-watering options on the market; it's best suited for growing your favorite herbs, from basil to rosemary, indoors.
Shop Now: Cole & Mason Self-Watering Potted Herb Keeper, $19.99, amazon.com.