The number one way to keep plants healthy is with proper watering. Unfortunately, keeping track of the water needs of different plants can become stressful.
The answer to making this task easier is to use self-watering planters.
Aside from my self-watering planter reviews, I explain why you need one, essential features, and answer frequently asked questions.
So get ready to learn about the best self-watering planters and pots and how they can benefit you and your plants!
What I Look For:
|Spill Reduction||Any Feature To Help Keep Things Clean|
|Water Gauge||To Understand The Water Level|
|Pot Sizes||Availability For Multiple Uses|
|Design Options||Allows You To Place Anywhere Indoors|
My List Of The Best Self-Watering Planters And Pots
Lechuza Delta 12″ Self-Watering Garden Planter
Reasons To Buy
- Reservoir gauge is corner set which makes it readable when plants fill out
- Depth of planter sits securely on windowsills, which reduces the chance of falling
- UV resistant plastic will keep its color and integrity even in full sun locations
- Super-quality construction should last for years of regular use
- Moisture-wicking action is consistently even, which encourages healthy root development
Reasons To Avoid
- Bubble inside indicator gauge can get stuck which leads to overfilling
- Directions for the use of the wicking granules is lacking
- For indoor use only
The Lechuza Delta 10 Self-Watering Garden Planter is German-made and not only looks upscale but features UV-resistant plastic that is super durable.
I like the wicking system that incorporates inorganic granulate compounds that ensure even moisture uptake into the potting mix of your choice. The reservoir gauge takes the guesswork out of when you need to water.
On the downside, the pot isn’t as large as it appears, so consider upgrading to the next size up if you want more planting space.
The Lechuza Delta 10 Self-Watering Planter gets top marks for superior moisture control and sleek styling that adds a visual pop to any space. This model is best for indoor plants lovers, who like setting plants in windowsills to save space and take advantage of sunlight.
Best For New Indoor Gardeners
Aquaphoric 5″ Self-Watering Planter
Reasons To Buy
- Gauge to read water-level is straightforward, which reduces mistakes
- Aquifer is simple to fill and reduces spills
- Comes in a wide array of colors to suit every decor
- Fiber soil provides three times the oxygen over regular soil, which deters root rot
- Built well with thick plastic components for years of use
Reasons To Avoid
- The pot size is small
- Included soil provides no natural nutrients, so fertilization is necessary
- Wicking action is too efficient, leading to mold if the pot is not in a well-ventilated area
The Aquaphoric Self-Watering Planter by Window Garden works with a unique fiber soil that increases aeration while aiding in the wicking up of moisture from the reservoir.
I like the easy-to-read indicator that tells you when it’s time to add water to the aquifer. The filling location at the top edge of the planter is also super convenient to see and use.
On the downside, the soil that comes with this planter wicks more water than traditional potting soil and can get moldy. Mix the fiber with standard potting soil to help alleviate this issue.
The Aquaphoric Self-Watering Planter is a top choice for its effective wicking action and simple-to-fill reservoir. This model is best for gardeners who propagate cuttings or grow small plants like African Violets or herbs.
Best Filtering Self-Watering Pot
Santino 8.8″ Self-Watering Planter
Reasons To Buy
- Large reservoir with clear-view window can maintain a plant for up to one month between water fills
- The high gloss finish on the pot looks sleek and high-end, which elevates the look of your space
- Shape of the pot is wonderful for macrame hanging plant holders
- Ample size works well for most plants and flowers which increases flexibility
- Durable plastic is UV stabilized, which means it can go indoors or out without worry
Reasons To Avoid
- No filler port. You need to manually lift the upper portion with the plant out to add water
- The filter cartridge is often missing, which means a call to customer service or you need to add gravel
The Santino Self-Watering Planter is an ideal watering solution for larger plants, as this modern and clean pot design has a capacity of over a gallon.
I like the unobtrusive clear window at the base that allows you to see the current water level. This feature will enable you to know at a glance when a refill is necessary, which can be difficult for plants that hang or are set up high. I also like the drainage cartridge central to the reservoir that regulates moisture flow to ideal levels.
On the downside, you need to purchase and add fine gravel (or a perlite blend) to the base before filling with potting soil. There also is no filling port; you need to lift the upper portion of the pot to fill the tank, which can be challenging.
What makes the Santino Self-Watering Planter impressive is the shape, large reservoir that can keep plants hydrated longer, and the easy-view water level indicator. This model is ideal for plant enthusiasts who like to use hanging plant holders or who like to perch plants up high.
Best For Top Watering Plants
Bloem Ariana 8″ Self-Watering Planter
Reasons To Buy
- Sturdy base and gallon capacity fits larger plants without tipping over
- Insert keeps soil above water but allows capillary action to draw water upwards as the soil dries out
- Matte finish is subtle, which lets the plant’s foliage stand out
- PBA-free and UV-resistant plastic is environmentally-friendly and stops fading
- Very affordable way to keep your plants hydrated
Reasons To Avoid
- No way to fill the reservoir without soaking the soil
- Must drill drainage holes for outdoor use where the pot is exposed to rainfall
- No water-level indicator
This Bloem Ariana Self-Watering Planter has a traditional look, but the extra features make this an ideal container for both indoors and out.
I like that the pot has a gallon capacity, which allows you to grow larger plants, and the plastic insert that holds the soil above the reservoir so roots won’t get soaked. I also like the PBA-free, UV-stabilized, matte-finish plastic that holds up to both indoor and outdoor conditions without cracking or fading.
On the downside, this isn’t a complete self-watering planter, as there’s no way to fill the reservoir aside from top watering, which can be detrimental to certain flowers or plants. For outdoor use, the manufacturer suggests drilling drainage holes on the bottom of the pot so it won’t fill up during rains.
The Bloem Ariana Self-Watering Planter makes our list for its size, soil moisture control, and look that blends nicely with any decor. This model is best for plants that can handle deep top watering, so excess can pool in the reservoir for the plant to take up later.
Best Small Self-Watering Pot For Indoors
T4U 4.5″ Self-Watering Pots
Reasons To Buy
- Six-pack allows you to showcase and maintain many plants at once
- Crisp design adds a touch of flair to interior decor
- Inner pot offers top-to-bottom aeration of soil, so roots get proper oxygen
- Easy to lift out inner pot to fill the reservoir, which reduces watering stress
- Wicking action is very efficient and delivers a good soil moisture level
Reasons To Avoid
- Airflow vents on the inner pot may have some plastic stuck in them and may need a manual clean out before use
- Instructions on how to insert wick is poor
- No indicator gauge, so you must lift the pot to determine the water level
These T4U 4.5 Inch Self-Watering Pots are the solution for indoor plant enthusiasts who desire a simple way to keep lots of plants looking healthy with up to two weeks of water.
I like that the design utilizes wicks to deliver water up to the soil. I also like that the inner pot is easy to lift from the outer planter with one hand so that you can fill the reservoir with the other.
On the downside, the pots are small, with only a 3.5-inch opening for a plant. Other pitfalls are that the outer plastic is relatively thin, and without a water gauge, it’s easy to overdo it.
The T4U Self-Watering Pots for Indoor Plants is a top contender for its charming look and simplistic wicking action that is easy to maintain. This model is best for small indoor plants or cuttings, and the size is ideal for side tables and windowsills.
Do You Really Need A Self-Watering Planter?
Not everyone needs a self-watering planter, but they sure are a luxury for those of us who love to surround ourselves with lots of potted plants, but then find it a stretch to keep them all appropriately watered.
Having plants die from lack of water is a waste of time and money. As you can see, self-watering planters and pots have a lot of advantages when you use them correctly.
All planters work a bit differently, so following instructions is critical for optimal results, especially if you want to use them outdoors.
Important Self-Watering Planter Features
Let’s look at the things you need to consider before making a final decision on which self-watering planters and pots best suit your needs.
Self-watering planters come in a range of shapes and sizes.
Be aware that the exterior appearance of this type of planter will look more substantial than the actual interior capacity since the reservoir and other components take up space.
Consider the type of plant you’ll be putting in the container. Herbs do great in a thin, long, and short pot. Tall plants or trees will need a broad and deep pot that won’t tip over.
For a plant root system to gain the most advantage from a self-watering pot, it needs to sit low enough in the planter so they don’t have to struggle to draw up moisture from the base.
It’s best to start with smaller pots for small plants and transplant them into a larger planter as necessary.
Type Of Wicking System
The type of wicking system can make a big difference in the capillary action from the tank and the effects on soil moisture.
Is there an actual fiber rope that runs up into the soil, or are there depressions on the reservoir insert that you fill with soil to siphon up the water?
Both types work, but the fiber rope style offers a more steady moisture output, which can be beneficial to plants that prefer drier soil.
Not all self-watering containers offer a gauge to show you how much water is in the aquifer.
If you want to avoid having to lift the inner pot from the planter to check the base for water level, look only for planters that offer this feature.
Depending on the location of your plants, you need to think about which type of indicator would be most natural to read without moving the pot.
For plants up high, look for the indicator on the bottom of the pot. For pots sitting low, a gauge that emerges from the top of the container will be more convenient to read.
For planters that offer a filling system, think about its location to where your plants will be sitting.
If the plants sit low, a filling tube at the top of the pot will avoid hunching down as much to add water. A top-fill is also less messy, as it’s easier to pour in the water without spills.
For higher sitting plants, a bottom-fill system will be less stressful to load with water.
WARNING: There are “self-watering” planters that lack the convenient reservoir filling system and rely solely on heavy watering from the top to allow excess to filter through the soil to reach the tank.
Once the soil dries out again, it then uptakes this excess water from the reservoir back into the upper pot.
If you have a plant that doesn’t mind overly wet soil, which can cause fungus, mold, or disease, then this option can work for you. But some plants suffer significantly from this type of watering, so research the best watering technique for your plant before purchasing this type of planter.
Color And Design/Style
If keeping a cohesive look to your home’s decor is important, search out decorative self-watering planter options.
There are plentiful color and design selections to fit your needs, but they’ll most likely cost more for the added style.
You want your planters to last for many seasons, so look for thick plastic material that also offers UV stabilization so sunlight won’t crack or fade the pot.
Another useful feature, especially for growing vegetables, is to look for BPA-free options. Durable pots shouldn’t cost a fortune but do expect better quality with a higher price tag.
Self-Watering Planter FAQs
Are Self-Watering Pots Good?
Yes, but they aren’t miracle workers. You do need to water the plant, just less often. The way the pot delivers water to the plant is good for a variety of reasons, but not all plants need or like it, so watch your plant selection when using this type of planter. For frequent travelers, a self-watering planter can keep plants hydrated and alive during your absence, which saves worry and money.
Do Self-Watering Planters Cause Root Rot?
Root rot can happen if you plant the wrong type of plant, use unsuitable soil, or you place the pot outdoors where excessive rain or humidity keeps the dirt continually wet. All of these issues are simple to fix by making some adjustments like swapping out the plant or the soil medium. For outdoor planters that can fill with rain, drilling drain holes stops pot flooding, which leads to root rot.
Do Self-Watering Pots Drain?
Yes, self-watering plants drain excess moisture from the soil and hold it in the bottom tank until the soil begins to dry. Some self-watering planters also automatically drain off excess water when the reservoir is full, but not all do. Some may backfill up into the soil if you overwater the plant, as no “safety” drainage is available, so you must use caution never to overfill the pot. If your plants are indoors, an overflow drain may be problematic if you don’t have an additional tray under your planter.
Do You Put Rocks In The Bottom Of A Self-Watering Planter?
Most planters do not require rocks or gravel at the bottom, but some models do. Read product descriptions carefully to determine if the planter you are interested in needs rocks. If not, adding rocks may interfere with the wicking system, so only use if advised.
How Long Do Self-Watering Pots Last?
Self-watering pots should water plants from five to 14 days on average. The size of the reservoir, type of plant, wind, and temperature all affect water usage, so it takes some practice to determine the exact water schedule for your planter.
I can’t live without my self-watering planters, and I think you will find them just as valuable for home gardening success.
If you’re unsure which self-watering planter to purchase, I suggest the Lechuza Delta 10 Self-Watering Garden Planter. The size, shape, price, and filling feature is ideal for a beginner to this type of planter, but the color and styling amp up the fun.
I do hope this guide to the best self-watering planters and pots encourages you to give this type of planter a try. Owning one can be the trick to turn your brown thumb green!