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What Are Self-Watering Pots and How Do They Work?

What Are Self-Watering Pots and How Do They Work?

"Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years." Like the name says, these pots are a source of improved plant health, efficiency, and convenience to plant lovers. Using a twist on operation to deliver water from a built-in reservoir, these pots give you the liberty to water the plant once by filling up the tank, instead of monitoring the soil moisture and watering it on demand. These are perfect for those who love gardening but find the time commitment required for the same too much according to their daily schedules.

What Elements Are Usually Included?

Growing Bed:

The growing bed holds the potting soil and the plants in the upper part of the planter.

Potting Soil:

  • For a self-watering pot to work properly, it's important to use a light and absorbent potting medium.
  • This can be soil as well as soilless media such as coco coir, perlite or growstone.
  • It's important to use something that drains continuously while providing plenty of oxygen to the plant's roots.

Water Reservoir:

This essential element of a self-watering pot sits under the planting bed. Containers vary in size, often proportional to the overall size of the container. In large containers, it's not uncommon to have a 5-gallon tank, while smaller planters may have a 1-gallon (or even less) capacity.

Wicking system:

Wicking systems carry water from the reservoir into the soil and to the roots of plants. To do this, you can use wicks made of absorbent material such as pieces of rope or strips of fabric that are placed with one end in the water and the other in the ground, or you can imagine a pot of wicks bringing in the soil. Direct on. contact with the water in the tank below.

Fill tube:

A fill tube is used to pour water directly into the tank. This can range from a simple tube placed in the corner of the planter to a hole in the ledge of the pot or an opening in the wall of the container for direct access to the tank. Some tubes have caps to keep insects and dirt out of the tank.

Overflow hole:

All planters should have an overflow mechanism to allow water to drain out if the reservoir is full. This keeps the plants from stagnation (which can cause them to rot pretty quickly) if you put them in the wrong pot and keeps the water at the right level after a heavy rain.

Water Level Indicator:

An indicator that shows how much water is in the reservoir is very useful, as you will know better when to refill the tank.

Drainage Hole/plug:

A drainage hole with a stopper allows the tank to empty at the end of the season (do not leave water in the tank during winter if there is a risk of freezing) or bring it inside.

The top section of a self-watering planter is usually for your potting mix and plants, while the bottom contains the water reservoir.

How Does Self Watering Pots Work?

Most people water plants from above, even though the plants draw water from below. Self-watering tanks operate on a tank system. There is a container of water, usually at the bottom of the container, that you fill with water. There is an overflow hole, so excess water simply drains out. The soil absorbs water from the bottom, so as long as you keep the reservoir full, your plants will get a steady stream of moisture, delivered directly to their roots.

There are two basic ways for these planters to transfer water from the reservoir to the above growing container, both of which rely on capillary action. Essentially, a plant's root system draws water from the reservoir and carries it upward through the cohesion of the water, and surface tension. Once it reaches the leaves, the water can be used for photosynthesis and other essential plant processes. These pots and planters use a twist-on operation to deliver water from a built-in reservoir, allowing you to water your plants by simply filling the tank up instead of having to monitor soil moisture and water it on demand.

In a self-watering system you will have the following designs:

  1. A 'wick' is placed inside the container, with one end in the water tank and the other in the potting soil. This can be a strip of capillary mat, a tubular absorbent plug or a thick wire. Basically, the wick draws water from the reservoir and redistributes it into the potting soil.
  2. Plant pots are designed with the inside of the water tank, placing the potting soil in direct contact with water. The water from the wet mix in this section is drawn into the rest of the grow tank by capillary action. This is the most popular design.

How to set it up

  1. Insert the parts into the container (follow the instructions for your particular self-watering system).
  2. Add any moist potting soil to the planter. Some companies sell specific mixes for self-watering containers, but any high-quality mix will work. It is important to moisten before placing in the growing tray. If you use dry potting soil, it won't work.
  3. Pack the moistened mix into the depression in the bottom of the pot (this is where moisture seeps into the soil/roots) OR if your system has a wick, secure one end (or both - read the instructions) in a water tank.
  4. Grow your favorite plants in containers. Do not compact the soil, but firm the plants so that they are well supported.
  5. Add water from above to remove air pockets and pack the roots down (add potting soil if needed). After this just pour it directly into the reservoir.
  6. Wait a moment for the water to seep through the potting soil into the tank. Then fill the tank.
  7. Fill the tank as needed when the water level is low. DO NOT let it dry. If so, water from above to ensure that all soil in the pot is thoroughly moistened before filling the container. Dry potting mix won't drain, so even if you fill the tank up, the plant won't get the moisture it needs.

What are the advantages of a self watering pot?

  • Convenience
  • Keep pests out
  • Easy maintenance
  • Less frequent watering
  • Prevent plant diseases
  • More efficient use of water
  • Improved plant health

    What are the disadvantages of a self watering pot?

    • Not suitable for all plants
    • Don't function well outside or in wet climates

      What plants are best suited to self watering pots?

      Houseplants that favor equitably soggy soil incorporate more modest, leafy plants like child's tears, spike greeneries, and coleus, as well as bigger meager leaved plants like boston greeneries, harmony lilies, and umbrella palms. Lettuces, spinach, and spices likewise well in self-watering pots.

        What plants are not suitable for self watering pots?

        Certain plants with shallow roots (think succulents like snake plants and desert flora) won't profit from being set in a self-watering grower since their foundations don't reach out far enough into soil to exploit narrow activity. Nonetheless, these plants additionally will more often than not be really sympathetic and require less water in any case. Most different plants (Bullene gauges a decent 89% of them) have profound enough roots to flourish in these holders.