Self-Watering Containers

Forgetting to water your plants is a thing of the past with this self-watering container.

| January 2019


Two pots and a plastic cup are all you need

Watering plants in containers can be a time-consuming chore, particularly in the heat and wind of summer. Making your own self-watering containers is a great way to hack a watering system. Typically, commercially available self-watering garden containers have an area to hold the plants and soil, then a bottom pot or reservoir that holds excess water. Some form of wick will link the inner and outer pot so that water is drawn up to the plant roots as the moisture level in the soil decreases.

Hacking your own self-watering container is easily done. Find two planting containers the same size; place a yogurt or butter tub in between the two containers to create a water reservoir, drill extra holes in the “inner” planting container base; and feed a piece of cotton rope through one of the holes into the bottom water reservoir. Fill the reservoir with a hose or watering can by lifting the container or by cutting a feed hole to help supply water.

This technique works great on a balcony, fire escape, or patio. Filling your reservoir with rainwater when possible is a wise choice as there are fewer chemicals in rainwater compared to city water or softened water. Never use softened water in your container gardens because the dissolved salts are toxic to your plants. Most self-watering containers are food safe, but do your research and make sure this is true before planting in a self-watering unit.

Cover courtesy of Cool Springs Press

More from 101 Organic Gardening Hacks:

For more gardening hacks and ideas, come to the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Fair where Shawna Coronado will be taking questions and presenting on organic gardening hacks and gardening with chronic pain. 



September 12-13, 2019
Seven Springs, Pennsylvania

Fermentation Frenzy! is produced by Fermentation magazine in conjunction with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR. This one-and-a-half day event is jam-packed with fun and informative hands-on sessions.


Subscribe today

Heirloom GardenerCultivate your love of historic plant varieties and traditional recipes with a subscription to Heirloom Gardener magazine today!

Don’t miss a single issue of Heirloom Gardener. Published by the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Heirloom Gardener provides decades of organic gardening experience from the most trusted voices in the field. Subscribe today and save as much as 38% off the newsstand price! Get one year (4 issues) for only $24.95!

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube

click me