Self watering planters

Self watering planters. What are they? I get a lot of gardeners asking me to describe the workings of self watering  planters. In recent years there has been a huge resurgence of interest in home gardening and this has resulted in non-traditional gardeners exploring alternatives to traditional “spade-in-the-ground” gardening. Self watering planters and gardens are self- contained raised beds with built in reservoirs that supply water from the bottom upwards to the plant roots by capillary action.

Growing smarter Self watering planters

Long ago when the Aztecs ruled Mexico there was a large lake in the valley where Mexico City stands. The Aztecs had a highly developed system of ‘floating gardens’ using aquatic weeds, lake mud and earth to create floating plots of land gardens for growing vegetables, herbs and fruit. This was a very productive method of self watering  gardens. These gardens are still in use now. Today there are several commercial options but some gardeners prefer to make their own. Here is a method for a self watering wicking bucket for tomato growing… Larger gardens can be made by building timber beds 3m long x 1m wide x 0.5 m deep lined with heavy duty plastic sheet and river sand in the bottom. Here is a system demonstrated by well known Australian gardening enthusiast and broadcaster,


Here’s another idea for a small scale DIY self watering pot.

Water efficiency. There is no water wastage as there is with regular gardening. They eliminate the guesswork in watering.

Benefits of Self Watering Planters vs regular gardens and raised bed gardens.

  • Fertiliser efficiency. No fertiliser is wasted by being washed away. Nutrients are retained even when it rains.
  • There is no problem with overwatering so plants don’t become water logged in the event of heavy downpours.
  • Less frequent watering means time savings. You don’t need to water plants in self watering planters daily. The gardener can go away on holiday, knowing that plants will continue growing.
  • They are less labour intensive as weeding is virtually eliminated.
  • Rainwater is easily harvested so reducing the use of water treated with chemicals.
  • Plants have continuous access to water.
  • Raised gardens warm up faster in spring time resulting in faster growth.
  • Raised beds are great for gardeners with limited mobility or strength.
  • New gardeners with less skills can quickly become successful gardeners as they don’t need to worry about over watering or under watering.
  • As the watering is all done by wicking upwards from the reservoir there is no irrigation splashing onto plants so plants are healthier. If the top layer of soil is dry there is less risk of moulds and bugs thriving around the plants.
  • Self watering planters and wicking gardens are ideal for under-cover gardening like in hot houses or inside your house – No flooded floors.
  • Liquid fertilisers are easily added into the water reservoir with consistent dilution.

Here is a method of making your own self watering planter from a 200 litre plastic barrel.

What About GreenSmartTM  Pots? GreenSmart pots are the leading self watering planters available ‘down under’.

  • They combine functionality with stylishness.
  •  Made from plastics suitable for contact with food.
  • The plastic is UV–resistant.
  •  They are versatile enough to fit into any space – both inside or outside.
  • The water level can be easily monitored just by checking on the water sight glass.
  • There is a cushion of air between the water and potting mix so gives aeration to the plant roots.
  • Mosquitoes can’t get into the water reservoir.
  • Available in two sizes : 40 litres and 20 litres of potting mix.
  • Available in three colours : black, dark green and cream.

Check out why our customers are so enthusiastic about GreenSmart pots,

Self watering planters

To have your own self watering planters growing fresh herbs and veges within five days click here

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