How to Make Self-Watering Pots for Plants

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Self-watering planters help take the guesswork out of caring for your houseplants. With a self-watering pot, the plant itself gets to determine how much water it needs and how often through a process called capillary action. All you have to do is make sure there's liquid in the reservoir. You can make a self watering flower pot out of simple household materials. This project uses plastic food storage containers.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 Plastic food storage containers
  • Solderer or craft knife
  • Three similar sized stones or marbles (optional)
  • Wicking cords
  • Find two plastic storage containers that are both large enough to hold your plant and similar in size. Choose containers that can fit inside each other snugly, as if you were going to stack them together.

  • Plug in and preheat your solderer. Use a craft knife with a sharp, pointed tip if you do not have a solderer. Choose one container to be the top and one container to be the bottom because you will be placing one inside the other. If one container is larger than the other, choose it for the bottom. Set the bottom container aside.

  • Use the solderer to poke a series of aeration holes in the bottom of the top container. Melt in about a dozen holes. If you're using a craft knife, carefully poke the holes and twist the knife to make the holes round.

  • Cut the wicking cord so that you have three pieces that are as long as your container is tall. Thread each cord through a separate hole and pull it halfway through.

  • Place three marbles or similar sized rocks into the bottom container. Set the top container, wicks first, inside of the bottom container so that it sits on top of the marbles and the wicks are hanging down. The marbles keep the top container from touching the bottom of the other container, leaving room to add water.

  • Reach into the top container and hold the wicks in one hand. With the other hand, fill the container a third of the way with moist potting soil. Drop one of the wicks so it lays across the top of the soil. Fill the container another third of the way and drop the second wick across the top of the soil. Add your plant. Fill in the rest of the soil, bring the final wick close to the top.

  • Lift out the top container and fill the bottom container with just enough water to cover the marbles. Watch the wicking cords soak water up into the soil. Once your plants are established, their roots will wick up their own water. Keep the water level consistent in the bottom of your container.

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