Looking to go on vacation and worried about your plants not getting enough water? or has your indoor plant collection got so out of control you can’t remember if you watered your prized Monstera this week, or was it last week? If this sounds like you don’t worry! we have got the solution to all of your problems… Automated indoor plant watering systems.
What are automatic/ self watering systems?
Automatic watering systems/ self watering systems are pretty self explanatory by their name, the automate the watering process by watering themselves. They typically use a variety of methods and techniques to achieve increasing in complexity. This including basic non-electronic gravity powered reservoirs attached to a spiked cone typically made of glass or plastic, all the way up to small tanks with a timer attached to a pump to increase the accuracy of water delivered.
Types of self watering systems
There are many different options for devices that can assist you in your quest for either completely or semi automating your house plant watering system. We’ve decided to split these up into different categories, which include; self watering pots, watering spikes/ stakes and irrigation kits. Below we’ve included our recommendations of the best automatic watering systems in each category.
Best self watering pots for indoor plants
What are self watering pots?
Self watering pots, like their name suggests, are pots (typically pot covers) that automatically/ continuously water plants from their own reservoir. This is achieved by the use of (string or by the bottom of the plants soil sitting in water, delivering water to the desired plant.)
Our recommended option for a self-watering pot on the low budget end is the brand less ‘self-watering plant flower detachable pot planter‘. You get what you pay for with this self watering pot which is comparable to that of a basic hydroponic system. This basic self watering pot uses cotton string as the automated delivery method of the water from the small reservoir at the bottom, with the water climbing up the string towards your indoor plants soil.
This pot is a good option for those with a tight budget who are looking for easier care of their house plants whilst they are home or away; however due to the cheap nature of the product you might come across issues associated with low manufacturing costs. For more info on the product and additional images see here.
For a mid range self watering pot option we have chosen the colorful garden self watering planter. Offering additional handy features over the budget friendly option this pot offers great value for money. With an external water level indicator allowing real time water level monitoring ensuring your plant will never run out. Being a medium sized self watering pot filled with water it will hold approximately 1 weeks worth of water.
*** Note: in higher temperature climates or during hot summer months your indoor plants will consume more water, thus decreasing the amount of time between filling the pot up***
This self watering pot has a removable internal stand at the bottom which keeps your plants pot above the water level so will require your indoor plant to already have its own pot. Treat this self watering pot as you would a typical pot cover and do not make the mistake of directly planting your house plant into this pot.
Our high end choice for a self watering pot for your house plants is the modern decorative ‘rectangle self watering planter pot‘. This offers great value with the additional coco soil included in the sale price allowing you the option to plant straight away. This pot also has the additional option of fixing it to a window sill with manufactured grooves designed into the bottom to attach to a window box bracket.
This pot has an external display for the water level of the pot allowing easy monitoring. Another great feature of this self-watering pot is the added plug at the bottom to allow for quick drainage of old or excess water without the need of tipping the pot upside down. The pot also comes with coco soil which is a soil comprised of the husk of coconuts, we found using this soil alone is not ideal for house plants as it lacks a lot of nutrients necessary for good plant growth. To over come this the addition of plant fertilizers is recommended or alternatively using a soil made specifically for house plants. You can see more photos and pot specifications by clicking here.
Best self watering stakes for indoor plants
How do self watering stakes work?
Self watering stakes are similar in appearance to that of a turkey baster, with a cylindrical or round water reservoir a top of a open cone allowing water to flow downwards with gravity. The water trickles from the reservoir down the cone to water your plant as it is needed. They are typically made of 3 different materials which are terracotta, plastic or glass. We’ve included our recommend watering stakes for each of the prior listed materials.
Plastic self watering stakes are typically the cheapest of the 3 materials due to their inexpensive nature of the material. Although these are not always the prettiest self watering stakes, they get the job done and are definitely budget friendly if you have multiple house plants you are caring for. We recommend if you are going to get plastic watering stakes that you check out Mike pups Plant Automatic Watering Plastic Bulbs as they come in a set of 4 with 2 different sizes. Made of PVC these are great value working out at under $2 each.
Our glass option for a self-watering stake is the EOEO Self Watering Aqua Globes. These hand crafted globes are on the decorative side of watering stakes with a floral style top, with an open ended top allowing water to be topped up without the need for removing the stake. This makes the glass self-watering stake a lot quicker and more convenient than the plastic counter parts.
While using these we found that making a small hole in the soil prior to inserting the stake stops dirt from piling up inside the globe.
Terracotta watering stakes work a little differently from the glass and plastic varieties, with water having to filter its way through the stake compared to free flowing. These particular terracotta self watering stakes are designed to hold up a wine bottle to use as its water reservoir. These are a must have also coming in a set of four at under $15 and being greener alternative allowing to recycle old wine bottles.
When setting up terracotta watering stakes we recommend soaking the stakes in water for 1-2 hours which allows the small pores in the terracotta to open up more making a better flow.