Self-watering planters are tremendously useful for those who travel a lot for work or prefer to have a near-automatic system to keep their plants watered without much input on their part.
There are many indoor self-watering planters available online with some being more high-tech than others, and I’m going to discuss a few that I think are currently the best self-watering pots on the market.
I’m also going to highlight some of the benefits of using these planters for your indoor garden, but some of the potential drawbacks as well.
Why Use a Self-Watering Planter?
It’s kind of self-explanatory why an automatic watering planter would be beneficial — it simply frees up gardeners from having to remember to water their plants.
Undoubtedly, most of us enjoy the company of our plants, but it’s also true that we are overly busy. Missing a few watering sessions here and there may not affect some plants, but others can suffer and wilt away.
But keeping up with routine watering is not the only benefit of self-watering pots. The benefits of these planters shine the brightest in situations when we cannot care for our plants because we’re either away on a business trip or we’re vacationing.
In terms of the material that they’re made of, most self-watering planters are made of plastic, which may not be ideal for some plants that do best in terracotta or clay pots.
However, you can still find some terracotta or clay self-watering pots, they’re just not the norm, because terracotta or clay planters are usually needed by plants that can withstand some drought, so they may not need a self-watering planter in the first place.
Whichever your reason for considering a planter, one thing is certain — these are useful devices. Of course, plants that are already planted in traditional pots need to be repotted, so that may be a mild inconvenience for some.
In terms of pricing, some self-watering pots can indeed be pricey, but there are options in every price bracket — just like in the case of traditional pots — so, I wouldn’t count this as a disadvantage.
Still, there is one drawback that must be mentioned — you still need to remember to fill the water reservoir within these planters to ensure your plants don’t go without water.
Therefore, planters that self-water are not fail-safe, but they’re a good option for everyone that’s looking to simplify the watering process or reduce the time they spend on it.
How Do Self-Watering Pots Work?
At their very basic, self-watering pots will have a reservoir (usually at the bottom of the pot) that you must periodically fill with water.
Then there’s a water wicking system that delivers the water from the reservoir to the soil and a water level indicator so you can keep an eye on the water level.
The reservoir of some planters has a volume that can hold water that can be enough for 2-4 weeks, after which they must be refilled.
When picking out a self-watering planter, make sure you pick one that’s the right size for your plant. You must ensure that the plant’s roots will be close to the wicking system that delivers the water.
Different Types of Self-Watering Planters
There are many different types of pots that self-water and I’m going to discuss a few in more below. The variety of these planters means that they can be used to replace virtually any type of pot without any downsides.
Here are some of the most popular types of self-watering planters:
- Indoor and outdoor planters, simplifying the watering even of your potted plants that you keep outdoors. The difference between an indoor and outdoor self-watering planter is that usually those that are created for outdoor conditions may have a double walled design to protect from temperature fluctuations, or they’re made of UV stabilized plastic
- High-tech self-watering planters that automate nutrition, watering and lighting for your plants, or which allow the integration of humidifiers and various USB ports
- Floor planters for large, floor standing plants or large plants that need robust planters so they don’t tip over
- Tub shaped planters for herb gardens
- Specialized planters (e.g. designed especially for orchids or herbs)
- Modular planters that allow you to add more modules that share the same reservoir
- Hanging basket self-watering planters for trailing plants
As you can see, there’s an abundance of choice and there are no reasons to hold back on a self-watering pot, especially that you can simply DIY one, whether you want an ordinary self-watering system or one that’s more high tech with features that can be integrated.
Best Indoor Self Watering Planters
The self-watering pots I discuss below are some of the best available on the market at the time of this writing. I’ve picked them based on their popularity, price point and aesthetic features.
1. Santino Self Watering Planter
It comes in a range of appealing colors and multiple sizes. It has a reservoir that can meet the watering needs of your plant for about 2-4 weeks.
It’s an affordable and highly rated planter with self-watering capabilities that’s durable and aesthetically pleasing.
2. Aquaphoric Herb Garden Tub
This herb garden tub is suitable for indoor herb gardens and features a sleek design that’s just right to be placed in a windowsill. It also comes with a special fiber soil that increases aeration to the roots.
3. Dot TruDrop Self-Watering Planters
While they’re designed for large plants for a balcony or patio, they work just as well for indoor plants.
With a reservoir that meets the watering needs of your plants for up to 3 weeks, these self-watering planters are an ideal choice for large plants that cannot be left for long without water.
4. Glowpear Urban Garden Self Watering Planter
It’s a bit on the pricier side compared to other planters, but it adds versatility and great style to the range of self-watering planters.
5. AeroGarden Harvest Elite
It has a sleek design and allows you to grow your plants or herbs anywhere, regardless of light conditions.
There are different sizes available, so you can pick the one you actually need for your plants.
6. HB Self Watering Planter
Don’t be fooled by the simple design of this planter. It’s actually quite ingenious. It uses the traditional ‘pot in a saucer’ design of conventional planting pots with a twist — it has hollow legs that reach into the saucer that acts as the reservoir.
Thanks to its hollow legs, it draws moisture directly from the reservoir. Its design is airflow friendly, which prevents too much moisture in the pot that leads to root rot.
Therefore, if you aren’t looking for a fancy self-watering system, this bare-bone self-watering planter will do the trick. It’s also very affordable.
7. LeGrow Self Watering Planter
This is a small planter for dwarf plants, and they’re considered the Lego of planters. They have a modular design that can be scaled up and down. It allows the integration of humidifiers, LED lights, and USD modules.
You can get simplified versions that you can tune up to desired capabilities over time.
There are many more self-watering pots that you can check out on Amazon or from your local gardening center.
You can mix and match different types, especially if you have plants that have very different potting needs.
It’s important to choose the right size. If, for example, the pot is too big and the roots of the plant don’t reach the wicking system, it won’t get enough water.
Apart from size, check to see if they’re made of durable materials, especially when it comes to UV resistance.
Self-watering planters are a practical choice for indoor plant watering, especially if you find it difficult to stick to a watering routine that works for all your plants.
Depending on the type of self-watering system you choose, you can get them for cheap, or you can pay extra for the integration of multiple features.
Ultimately, if you’re a hands-on person, you can try your hand at setting up your own system.
There are various YouTube tutorials on the topic and a range of ingenious approaches to the issue of self-watering pots and systems. You can even buy a ready-made self-watering planter and use it as a model to create your own.