Unless you live in Kauai, Hamburg or Seattle, you probably have to water your outdoor potted plants. This holds true for indoor plants that don’t get the benefit of seasonal rain. It’s a fine line between over-watering which can drown the roots, or under-watering which can quickly kill a summer annual. The mix of shallow roots and rising temperatures dry out plants. Mulching helps, but plants still need a regular drink of water. Further, seeing water pour out of the bottom of the pot on to the deck or walkway is a water-conservation no-no. What to do?
We’ve been experimenting with various self-watering devices, a misnomer since you still have to fill the reservoir with water. Our first self watering gadget was a glass globe about the size of a baseball. It came with a porous clay reservoir that you staked into the soil. After filling the glass globe with water, you quickly upended it and inserted it into the reservoir. They looked pretty, but presented two problems. The opening was narrow and hard to fill from a watering can. When I carried them to and from the sink, I worried I would drop them. Once full, you couldn’t set them down.
Next, my husband came up with the idea of using plastic apple juice containers, the ones that are about the size of a large apple. The opening was larger and they had a flat bottom. They worked, but they didn’t look nice after several weeks in the sun. When empty, they were light enough to be knocked out of the container by a squirrel…or a gardener… and often ended up under the shrubs.
Pictured below are our current watering stakes. The ceramic bird has a built-in reservoir in the back made of clay but molded into one piece. The stake remains in the soil and you add water from the top. Isn’t it cute? The verdict is out at this point. I like the ease of use and the little pop of color but I’m not convinced that one per pot is enough.
The baby bird or BORDY, is also molded in one piece but you add water through the mouth. For some reason it reminds me of a dolphin more than a bird. What do you think?
Do you have a favorite self-watering gadget? Please share in the comments, below.
I’d vote for the yellow bird, it looks cute in your pot. Watering potted plants is tricky isn’t it? I bought these envelopes that have crystals in them. When watered, they hold and retain water which is then released slowly. You bury them in the dirt of your pot. I also bought a water wand which seems to work well to tell me when water is required.
I really like the idea of the crystals retaining water. (Water retention is much more attractive on a plant than it is on me).
I had a water wand years ago. It eventually stopped working and I never go around to buying another one. I should take a look at the offerings, the next time I hit the garden center or nursery.