With the trend towards greening the indoors comes some new designer planters to match any décor. Many of these planters are what is referred to as self-watering pots, guaranteed to take the hard work out of watering. The symptoms for overwatering and underwatering are similar so many plant owners find it hard to decide if they are watering too much or too little and self-watering pots are often sold as the miracle answer. They work on the principle of capillary action. Plants are watered from a reservoir at the base of the plant and the water will seep upwards to the plant’s roots, reducing the need to water from the top. Remember these simple points when growing plants in self watering pots –

  • Coarse chunky potting mixes won’t be as effective at drawing up moisture through capillary action compared to fine particle mixes, due to the air spaces in the mix.
  • Water from the top occasionally so the salts released in potting mix from the fertiliser are flushed through the whole soil area.
  • Flush out the reservoir regularly as there are a certain amount of dissolved salts in water which build up over time.
  • If possible, use rainwater for filling self-watering pot reservoirs.
  • Apply liquid fertiliser over the foliage rather than from the reservoir.
  • Repot plants regularly to ensure potting mix doesn’t sour from continual moisture
  • Allow the reservoir to dry out completely between waterings.

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