How to Use Wicks to Water Plants


Water wicks are cotton or nylon braided threads that look much like shoelaces. One end of the wick goes into the soil, and the other end goes into a container of water. The plants pull water from the container and into the soil as they need it by a method called capillary action, so your plants won't be overwatered or underwatered. Many gardeners use them on a full-time basis, while others use them only while on vacation or away from their gardens or houseplants.

Things You'll Need

  • Watering wicks or fabric to make your own wicks Clean water container Pencil or chopstick
  • Place a clean container filled with water next to your plant. If your water has a high chemical or chlorine content, let the container sit overnight to allow some of the chemicals to dissipate. This prevents chemical burn at your plant's roots. You can use one container of water to supply multiple plants or one smaller container per plant. This will depend on the placement of your pots and available room in your home.

  • Measure a length of wick long enough to reach the bottom of the water container and halfway into the soil of the pot. Soak your wicks in water to make them begin wicking right away. User a pencil or chopstick to make a hole for your wick. Do this carefully to avoid damage to your plant's root system.

  • Place one end of the wick into the premade hole, and pat the soil to make sure it is buried well and in good contact with the surrounding soil. Put the other end of the wick into the container of water.

  • Watch the plants and the watering container over the next few days to get a feel for how much your plants are drinking in a day. Check the soil to make sure it's moist and that the plants are wicking the water into the pots. If they aren't, check that the wick is well planted into the soil, or replace it.

  • Clean and refill your water containers often to avoid pests and algae. When it comes time to fertilize your plants, simply dilute your fertilizer into the water, and the plants will wick it into their soil.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make your own wicks by braiding cotton and nylon yarn or string together. Replace them at the first sign of rotting or molding to avoid rotting your plant's roots or soil.
  • Consider the individual needs of each plant when fertilizing.

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