How to Use Self-Watering Planters

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African violets are one type of flower that thrives in self-watering planters.
African violets are one type of flower that thrives in self-watering planters. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Gardening in planter containers can add ambience to patios and balconies, create interest in the design of a landscape or offer the opportunity to grow a garden in a space that would otherwise be too small. One of the reasons many people avoid growing plants in containers is because it is so easy to accidentally allow them to dry out. This is where it helps to use self-watering planters.

Self-watering planters come in an assortment of styles, sizes, forms and materials to fit any taste or decor. Whether you use a single pot, design a whole grouping of containers or opt for large planters, you can grow flowers, vegetables or houseplants even if you are occasionally forgetful of watering.

Find pots made of ceramic, plastic, vinyl, terra cotta, stone, wood or metal. Most of these pots function on the principle of water being retained in a reservoir to keep soil moist between waterings. They can be arranged to create any design you want and can be used successfully both indoors and outdoors.

Larger planters can come in the form of basins, half whiskey barrels, metal tubs or other shapes. You can even cover your planter with a basket, paint or fabric to dress it up.

Consider building your own self-watering planter by following the same design as the manufactured containers. The basic design varies from one container to the next, but you simply want to have a chute that introduces water directly into a reservoir at the bottom of the pot. The water source is separated by a perforated layer that keeps soil and most of the roots out of the water, but allows the roots to drink if the upper soil dries out too much.

Check your self-watering planter every few weeks to make sure water remains in the reservoir. If the planter is empty or close to empty, refill the reservoir.

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