What are self watering systems for potted/indoor plants and how do they work
Self watering systems are basically just a device that supplies a certain amount of water to your potted plants, over a certain period of time.They are mostly used by people when they go on vacation and want to ensure that their plants get enough water while they’re away, but there’s also an increasing amount of people who opt for self watering systems on a daily basis, due to their hectic work/life schedule.
What are the different types of self watering systems?
The variety of self watering systems for potted plants is actually surprisingly broad, ranging from automatic irrigation systems to clay spikes, and from self watering pots to glass bowls that you fill with water.
Below I have highlighted the best self watering systems for potted plants from each category, to help you better figure out which one suits your needs the best.
Best Quality Self watering system for indoor plants:
Read a more in-depth review of the Blumat self watering stakes here.
So far, the best quality self watering system for indoor plants that I have come across is the one from Blumat. The cone stakes are made of a special kind of ceramic terra cotta, which allows for just the right amount of water to be supplied to your plant. The kit comes with 5-20 cone stakes (depending on which one you choose), which you put into the soil of your plant. The caps for the stakes supply the water through a tube, which you place in a water reservoir. The water supply is adjusted by changing the elevation of the water reservoir, and relying on gravity to work its magic.
The Blumat self watering system is extremely easy to use, made of good quality materials and won’t oversupply your plants with water, even if you connect the tubes to a very large water reservoir. Because of this, you can safely leave your plant babies on their own while you go away on vacation, and rest assured that they’ll be just as fine when you get home, as they were when you left. [Blumat self watering stakes here]
Self Watering Terracotta Stakes
These stakes are super easy to use. Simply soak them in water for a few minutes and attach them to a glass bottle, that is full of water. Flip over the bottle and stick it into the soil and you’re good to go.
These terracotta stakes are a great solution if you just want something that works straight out of the box. They work with both indoor and outdoor plants, and all you need to get started is a bottle with a neck that is long enough for the terra cotta stake.
These terracotta stakes supply a good amount of water to your plants without adding too much; on top of that they’re inexpensive and work straight out of the box, as long as you have a bottle at hand.
So if ease of use is what you’re after, then these are just what you’re looking for. [Self Watering Terracotta Stakes]
Self Watering Plastic Stakes – Master Craft Plant Watering Spikes, Set of 6
These self watering stakes are made of plastic and comes in a set of 6, with pre-drilled holes, so all you have to do is fill a 1L or 2L bottle with water, screw the stake onto the opening and stick it into the plant’s soil.
Using a 2L bottle have a tendency of making the stakes a bit wobbly, so a 1L bottle is recommended, unless you have a way of supporting the 2L one.
These are cheap ,convenient and easy to modify with an awl or other pointy object, so if you need to increase the size of the holes, then that is easily achievable too. [Master Craft Plant Watering Spikes]
Self watering plastic bulbs for potted indoor plants
These self-watering bulbs are easy to use but very limited in their applicability, as the amount of water they can be used with is limited by the size of the bulb. However they’re probably the easiest to use out of all the types of self watering systems for plants mentioned in this article, as you don’t even need to provide a bottle yourself.
The spike part of the bulb usually gets clogged up by soil when you remove it. If this happens, all you have to do is push the soil into the bulb, let it dissolve in the water and then rinse it out.
These are cheap and simple to use, so if you only need to leave your plants alone for a few days, then these might be the ideal solution for you. [Self watering plastic bulbs for potted indoor plants]
Self watering glass bulbs for potted indoor plants
These are almost identical to the plastic self watering bulbs, except for the material (glass), which happens to be the main selling point as these glass bulbs actually look good on top of their intended purpose, which isn’t the case for the majority of the other solutions. It should be mentioned though that these are quite fragile, due to them being made of glass and the long thin stake, which can be easily broken… however if you’re careful when handling the then that shouldn’t pose any major problems for you.
All in all, if it is important for you that the water supply system that you’re using looks good on top of fulfilling its intended purpose, then these might just be what you’re looking for. [Self watering glass bulbs for potted indoor plants]
Automatic Drip Irrigation Kit for potted/indoor plants
This type of self watering system takes it up a notch compared to the other ones mentioned in this article. It comes with a 30-day programmable timer which you use to determine the amount of water needed as well as the frequency, with with you want it to be supplied to your plants.
The kit is quite comprehensive and takes a little while to set up, however once you’ve done that you can rest assured that your plants will be in safe hands for the next month.
Some of the main pros of using this automatic watering system as opposed to the analog ones are the timely watering intervals, and the notification system which lets you know when the water supply is low, so you can refill it before it’s too late.
It’s powered by 4 AA batteries and micro-USB, which makes it flexible as you can choose whatever power source you prefer.
So if automation and reliability is what you’re after, then I think this might be the watering system for you. [Automatic Drip Irrigation Kit for potted/indoor plants]
Self watering planter pots
Self watering planter pots are great for people who have a history of accidentally killing their plants, either by over- or under watering them. The way they supply water is through a water reservoir at the bottom, which you fill whenever the refill-indicator tells you to.
All in all, a super easy and simple solution, without too many moving parts.
I’ve linked a version below, which even comes with its own soil – all you do is add hot water and the soil “swells up” to its proper size. It doesn’t get much simpler than that… which is why is why we recommend self watering planter pots for people who just want something what works! [Self watering planter pots]
DIY or Store Bought self watering system for your potted plants
Obviously there are pros and cons to both DIY and store bought self watering systems for potted plants, the obvious ones being time and money.
Going the DIY route
Making a self watering system yourself can be a fun cheap hobby project, but on the flipside this requires you to spend time making something that might not hold up, if you aren’t the best on making things yourself.
Buying a self watering system for your plants online or in a store
This option is most likely going to be quickers, as you don’t need to spend time building anything on your own. All you have to do is open up the box, hook up the system (if it’s electric)/fill the container with water and you’re good to go.
The obvious con of this option is the cost, which varies depending on which type of product you buy.
In the end it comes down to the age old “time-value of money” question – especially if you aren’t the type of person who likes DIYing things like this; if you don’t mind spending a few hours building the system yourself, then DIY is the way to go. If you DO mind spending time, but don’t mend sacrificing a few bucks, then buying a self watering system is going to be the better option. If you want to save yourself the hassle of going to a store to pick one up, then Amazon has a lot of great options (as previously covered in this post) that are worth checking out.
Best Self Watering System for Indoor Plants