How to Use a Ceramic Self-Watering Planter for an Indoor Plant


Self-watering pots allow you to water your plants even if you are gone on vacation. Most garden centers carry a large range of watering devices and planters, but the ceramic ones are durable and come in many designs that complement your indoor decor. Self-watering pots have a bottom reservoir that holds the water. A wick connects the reservoir to the soil, drawing in the water as it is needed to keep the soil moist. Most are simple to use and there are few concerns for the plant's health if used properly.

Step 1

Fill the planter with the same type of potting soil that is in the plant's current pot. Set the plant into the new planter, planting it at the same depth it was set previously.

Step 2

Water the plant from the top immediately after planting. This collapses air pockets around the plants roots so they are better able to absorb nutrients and water from the soil.

Step 3

Place a bowl under the small hole that is on the side of the planter for overflow. Pour water into the self-watering pot's watering tube until it begins to drain out of the overflow holes.

Step 4

Refill the reservoir one to times a week. Set the bowl under the overflow hole first and fill the tube until the water begins to drain out. In warm homes, or in full-sun windows, ceramic pots require twice-weekly filling because the ceramic wicks moisture out of the soil more quickly.

Step 5

Fertilize the plants every three months with a soluble houseplant fertilizer. Self-watering containers do not require monthly fertilization, as the fertilizer is not washed out of the soil with each watering.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not plant houseplants that require soil drying between watering, such as cacti, in a self-watering container. A white crust may form on the soil, caused by excess fertilizer salts building up in the soil. Scoop the crust off the surface of the soil with a spoon and discard.

Things You'll Need

  • Potting soil
  • Bowl
  • Fertilizer


  • Ohio State University Extension: Health Management Guide for Indoor Houseplants
  • University of Illinois Extension: Choosing A Container for Planting
Keywords: self-watering planter, ceramic sub-irrigation pot, indoor plants

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.