How to Make a Self-Watering Garden Planter


A garden starts with the best of intentions, but it's not always possible to care for it as much as it needs. Work obligations and vacations make it difficult to get out and water the garden every day, or even twice a day when the weather is hot. Self-watering garden containers can take the pressure off you for getting enough water to your plants. You'll still have to keep the containers filled, but your plants won't suffer if you miss a day or two of watering.

Step 1

Choose plastic garden containers that are the right size for your plants. Make sure the containers have drainage holes at the bottom.

Step 2

Drill several more small drainage holes into each pot if there is only one large hole on the bottom. Some pots already have several drainage holes. The holes you drill shouldn't be any larger than ¼ inch.

Step 3

Fill the pots with a light potting mix that contains at least 30 percent peat moss, and plant your starts.

Step 4

Cut some felt into strips that are 1 inch thick and 4 to 6 inches long. You need one strip of felt for each pot. Push one end of the felt into the pot's large drainage hole and leave the other end dangling out.

Step 5

Line the bottom of a large plastic tray with unglazed bricks. Leave some space between the bricks.

Step 6

Fill the tray with water. The water should come up to the tops of the bricks, but it shouldn't cover them.

Step 7

Set the pots on top of the bricks with the felt strips hanging into the water. The bricks will soak up the water and slowly deliver it to the plants' roots through the felt strip and mossy potting mix.

Step 8

Check the trays every few days and top them off if the water level is getting low. Trays that are in full sunlight will run out of water faster.

Things You'll Need

  • Plastic garden containers
  • Drill
  • Potting mix
  • Peat moss
  • Plants
  • Scissors
  • Felt
  • Large plastic trays
  • Unglazed bricks


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Keywords: sefl-watering garden containers, vacation watering, watering plants