Many plants flourish in self-watering pots, and the watering process is simplified.

Discover the secret to keeping your plants hydrated by learning how to build a self-watering planter.

A well-prepared one will keep your plants watered for weeks, allowing you to use it on a regular basis or even when on a longer journey.

Contents hide

What are Self Watering Containers?

Plants benefit from enclosed growth systems, such as self-watering containers, since less water evaporates and the plants receive a consistent supply of water.

The inside is divided into two sections: a growing space and a water storage area.

A wick is inserted in the growth chamber that extends down into the water reservoir to guarantee that the plants always have access to water.

On the internet, you may acquire a choice of self-watering containers.

This self-watering planter, for example, is roughly the size of an 18-gallon storage container.

Make your own self-watering container out of ordinary home items to save money.

Water-conscious indoor gardeners will appreciate self-watering containers.

The watering system’s overflow function assists in the prevention of root rot. The planter has a drain in the base so excess water can escape for the purpose of your plants’ health.

As an extra plus, the planters only use the amount of water that is required.

Meanwhile, you may get self-watering pots that have their own wicking mechanism to extract moisture from the air.

Your plants will never go hungry or thirsty if you use self-watering containers. They’ll be fine for three to four weeks without human care owing to the steady delivery of these nutrients.

How to Make a Self Watering Planter

To make your own self-watering planter, you may use a number of methods and materials (containers).

If you don’t want to keep refilling the plant’s water, use a wicking cable and a container that is larger or deeper than the pot it arrived in.

When repotting the plant, the rope should be pulled down into the drainage holes or mixed in with new soil.

Repotting your plant does not necessitate the use of any additional equipment, but if you do not want to repot it soon, you will need something pointed to insert the wick into the soil through the drainage holes.

But we’ll get to it in a moment.

Wick cord?

Water-wicking cords may be found at most retail outlets and on the Internet. They are not only useful, but also visually stunning with a transparent container.

Using shoelaces, water may be routed away from the foot. These are also an excellent choice because they are available in a broad range of color combinations.

Keep in mind that not everything you try will work when making a wick out of old garments. Cotton absorbs water readily.

You may also use acrylic yarn or anything like (you can braid it).

Inspect the wick every few weeks or months, especially if using a natural product, to see whether it has begun to decompose or deteriorate.

If the wick appears to be damaged, it should be replaced.

Making a Self Watering Planter

The most important step in making your own self-watering planter is to ensure that the soil-holding pot is elevated above the water level in the other container.

If the container is left to sit in a puddle, it may get overwatered. As a result, keep in mind that not all plants will survive in these conditions.

Choose plants that enjoy moist soil over succulents or other plants that don’t require much water (and may even prefer dry soil for parts of time).

Nonetheless, African violets do admirably in self-watering pots.

Because there is a limit height at which water may pass through the wick, the distance between your pot and the water level should be kept as short as possible.

With these two pillars in place, you can let your creativity go wild! Your self-watering planter’s water reservoir may be fashioned of almost anything.

Glass jars, ceramic pots, plastic containers, standard plant pots, and so forth. A self-watering system may be incorporated into practically any container.

We’ll show you how to turn a regular planter into a self-watering one, as well as how to make a self-watering planter out of a glass jar.

How to get the wick cord into the soil?

The rope is unlikely to be driven into the earth on its own.

Bobby pins are an inexpensive option. Wire can also be successfully twisted into the appropriate shape.

Make it with me.

Step 1:

Prepare your supplies. You’ll need a bobby pin and string, which may be purchased or made from fabric.

Step 2

You should unplug the device. A water tank’s length is related to its carrying capacity. It’s better to use a thread that’s a bit longer than necessary than one that’s too short.

Secure the Wick

While this is not true for all bobby pins, it is true for the most common metal variants; by crossing the pin’s legs and pressing them to a precise point, the pin will remain in this form, making it suitable for the task at hand.

Insert the rope through the bobby pin and crimp it to fasten it to produce a crisscross. The rope will be retained in position while being pulled through the drainage hole in the planter.

Finally, after removing the head part, the complete thing may be pushed through the drainage hole.

Glass Jar

In glass jars, the water level may be immediately monitored and replaced. Furthermore, their small shape makes them suitable for a broad variety of plants.

Make sure the jar’s opening is narrower than the width of the pot, or the plant may fall out.

If the jar’s opening is larger than the plant pot’s, use it as a beautiful planter by filling it with stones and placing the plant on top.

How Do Indoor Self Watering Planters Work?

False advertising: no container that promises to be self-watering ever watered itself. When building indoor self-watering pots in a hot climate, be mindful of water evaporation.

The device contains a water storage tank that can be accessed via a connector on the package’s base. The plant is watered via a “foot” of soil or a “wick” of fabric tied to the soil.

Soil foot systems enable plants to send roots into a reservoir of soil and draw water as needed.

Capillary action is used by the wick technique to move water from the water supply to the soil in the main pot.

They will enjoy a steady supply of drinking water as long as the reservoir is full.

Other planters

Plants look lovely in attractive pots, but they should be larger than the one in which they are now housed.

Keep the plant’s container out of the water to avoid root rot.

You’ll have many of alternatives, whether you use a stand, place it within an attractive pot, or fill your pot with rocks. Place the plant’s container atop the stand or rocks.

Even while the rocks may lower the storage capacity of your self-watering pot, they are still an excellent solution.

How to Make a Self Watering Planter from Your Old Planter

Put rocks in the container. Place your planter with the plant inside the one with the rocks to check the height; if necessary, add more or less pebbles to achieve the desired effect.

The size of the stones should match to the size of the plant’s container; larger pots can accept heavier rocks, but smaller pots may struggle to remain stable when put on heavier stones.

If the planter isn’t sitting perfectly on top of the stones, you may need to adjust them.

Push the string between the rocks to get as much depth as possible (using a pen works well).

When watering your plant, avoid raising the water level so high that it reaches the planter.

DIY Special – 20 Best Self Watering Planters

The following are the top 20 DIY self-watering planters you can make. Our editors conducted extensive research and testing before making their choice.

1. Recycled Bottle Self Watering Planter

The DIY self-watering plants on this list are made from recycled plastic bottles. This planter may be created with just a plastic bottle and some thread, as described in a craftyourhappiness article.

Divide the bottle in half, drill a hole in the top and thread the string through it, fill the upper half with stones and dirt, plant the seedling in the bottom half of the bottle, and place it upside down in the water.

2. Self Watering Concrete Planter

This planter has a water reservoir at the bottom, while the planter itself stands atop the reservoir. A wick is placed in a hole at the bottom.

A wick absorbs water and gradually releases it into the earth. The use of molds and concrete mix simplifies the fabrication of self-watering pots.

3. Self Watering Downspout Planter

The construction of these self-watering planters for do-it-yourselfers is common.

A reservoir contains water at the bottom of the pot, while a planter on top of the pot wicks water up from the reservoir.

The self-dying downspout planter is similar to the one on instructables. Remember to refill the reservoir in this planter.

4. Glass Bottle Self Watering Planter

Glass bottles can take more damage and create better self-watering planters than plastic bottles, which can be readily split in two.

A bottle cutter is required to cut glass bottles.

Despite the extra difficulty, this work may be accomplished quickly. A wine bottle with a green tint would be ideal because it is heavy and long-lasting, and it would suit your plants.

5. Herb Bottle Gardens

Herb plants grow in their own containers. They’re not too huge to take up too much space on a windowsill, but they’re also not too little.

The designsponge ones are made from repurposed plastic bottles that may have formerly housed beer or wine.

6. Sports Top Water Bottle

Making a self-watering planter using a bottle and a sports top is considerably easier. There will be no more string needed to punch a hole in the map’s surface.

In addition, you’ll need dried moss, a plant, aquarium gravel, soil, and scissors. Simply follow the instructions of thechillydog.

7. Large Self Watering Planter

Whether you’ve been following our brainstorming sessions, you’re probably wondering if there’s a way to reproduce this massive container for your own plants.

See bucolicbushwick for instructions on how to turn a conventional one into a self-watering one.

8. Outdoor Self Watering Planter

If you need an industrial-sized self-watering device for outdoor usage, a large plastic container will suffice.

When it begins to rain, simply bring it inside your garage. If you like the idea of a large planter with a large reservoir, check out this tutorial at

9. Bottle Self Watering Planter

There are several ways to connect a kettle to a water source. The bottle planter with a wick and a hole in the top is a simple idea.

However, there is another way that may be more suitable for you. Try to improve on this instructables proposal.

10. Self Watering Planter Pot

The handygardener also gives instructions on how to build one.

A watertight foam container with a lid, PVC pipe, a saw, scissors, waterproof tape, and a stick are all needed. The stick is used in a variety of settings as a water level indicator.

11. Water Cooler Bottle

Reusing water bottles is an excellent idea since you can give them whatever shape you like depending on their size.

If you have really large pots that require self-watering, you may utilize a five-gallon office water cooler to keep your plants hydrated while you’re gone on a long vacation.

You’ll need a large water storage tank if you don’t want your plants to dry out.

The advice on bucolicbushwick recommends a tomato cage as a support device.

12. Cheap Self Watering Planter

Buckets can be used instead of unwieldy bottles in large containers.

According to the directions on reallifeathome, you may put together one of two paint buckets, a paint mixing container, some PVC pipe, a dowel, and a drill.

You’ll need coffee filters or cheesecloth to keep dirt from blocking the pores at the bottom of the bucket.

13. Customized Self Watering Planter

You can create one out of almost any planter or container. The trick is to tailor your strategy to the available resources. Visit littlevictorian to learn more about this strategy.

14. Self Watering Container Garden

This may be made out of almost any material you have on hand. Find out more about Verticalveg’s latest venture here.

The planters are made of wood crates, plastic sheets, pipes, and other objects.

They allow you to effortlessly and comfortably water your plants, herbs, and succulents. Furthermore, the base in your hair will never dry out.

15. Self Watering Planters for Tomatoes

With the aid of designs like this one, vegetables may be produced indoors all year. A comparable one may be made for around $10.

All you’ll need is a towel, two storage containers, and two sponges.

This YouTube video guide has all of the necessary information, including extensive instructions and useful recommendations.

16. Mini Self Watering Wicking Planter Garden

A self-wicking planter is a must-have for individuals with a green thumb but limited space.

This wicking bed container garden is an easy-to-build self-watering indoor garden. If you want to understand more, see this YouTube video instruction.

The system conserves water, provides adequate moisture to your plants, and nourishes your roots. As a do-it-yourself activity, your adolescent children could enjoy working on this.

It’s the ideal self-watering system for apartment dwellers who wish to have plants in their homes.

Even if your new garden arrangement should last for several years, you should plan on replacing the bottom cloth at least once a year.

17. Plastic Buckets As Self Watering Containers

Two buckets and a Styrofoam cup will be required to construct the container’s base.

Buckets may be obtained at a modest cost at crestonesolarschool or a neighboring grocery store. You’ll need two containers of varying sizes and heights to reproduce this.

The smaller one will be used as a planter, while the larger one will be used as a water storage tank. If your water supply is deep, use a large Styrofoam cup; otherwise, a smaller one will suffice.

It’s a lot of fun to build, and it’s an excellent way to keep your plants healthy while you’re gone.

18. Self Watering Garden With Air Conditioner

Because it recycles the water from your air conditioner, this instructables garden is a terrific green choice. You won’t have to water it anymore, and your water bill will be lower as a result.

19. One Cut Soda Bottle Self Watering Planter

This simple do-it-yourself technique requires only a two-liter bottle and an old sock. The bottle just requires one cut, and the sock end must be put through the neck.

The sock’s built-in elastic band keeps it from slipping down.

The sock may be filled with soil and a plant of your choice, making it ideal for use indoors (see the instructions at for more information).

20. Self Watering Planter With Any Container

This one is from thekitchengarden and may be built in any container. You can make this a showstopper by using a Rubbermaid tub or a beautiful container.

That would work if you had a large container, plant-specific or not. Growing salad leaves, for example, would allow you to witness them bloom in only a few weeks.

Flexible Growing Space:

You may place your self-watering pots anywhere in your yard, on your balcony, or along the edge of your driveway, providing you a wide range of possibilities for growing your plants.

You may move the containers to different locations to get the most out of the sun if you put them on wheels.

A Consistent Supply of Water:

Because they’ll always have access to water when they need it, your plants won’t have to deal with the significant moisture fluctuations that might occur when the soil goes from damp to dry.

Provides Moisture to the Roots:

Water holding chambers at the bottom of self-watering containers keep roots wet.

Moisture is “wicked up” through the soil and onto the roots of plants to offer them with the moisture they require.

Water is delivered straight to the top of the soil in traditional containers.

If the water cannot reach the bottom of the container, the roots of the plant will stay superficial, perhaps limiting the plant’s potential.

No Nutrition Loss: Because self-watering containers are an enclosed system, no nutrients are lost during deep watering.

Pest and Disease Free: It is essential to begin with a clean growing medium to minimize insect and disease concerns.

No Weeding: Weed seeds cannot sprout in the absence of plastic mulch covering the land.

How to Build Your Own Self Watering Containers


1 18-gallon storage tote with lid (see notes below)
3-4 inch wide container for wicking basket
2 coffee cans to support aeration shelf (see notes below)
24-inch pipe for fill tube, one end slanted
Landscape fabric
1 black plastic garbage bag
Zip ties
1 2 cu ft. bag of organic potting mix (about 52 quarts)
Organic fertilizer


Drill with assorted drill bits
Heavy scissors or saw to cut cover
Saw to cut pipe
Marking Pen

1. Remove the center of the lid.

By carefully removing the centre of the lid, you may create an aeration ledge between the soil and the water chamber.

If you allow a two-inch area around the lid, the plastic mulch may be used to assist hold the cover in place.

2. Cut an opening for the wicking basket.

Place the wicker basket in the center of the aeration shelf and trace around its circumference with the pen. Trim the aperture so that it is roughly 1/4 inch inside the outline.

3. Drill holes in the aeration shelf. Air holes should be around one inch apart.

4. Attach Wicking Basket to the aeration shelf.

Several holes should be bored onto the wicking basket’s base for efficient water absorption. Make holes around the edges and connect it to the aeration rack using zip ties.

5. Check the fit. Check that your aerated shelf and shelf supports will fit within the container. Between the shelf and the bag, there should be no buckling. Reduce the shelf height if necessary.

6. Drill a 1⁄4-inch overfill hole by about half an inch below the aeration shelf Once the container is full, the overfill hole will enable water to escape.

Through the opening, aeration shelf air may enter the water.

7. Cut an opening for the fill tube. Fill the tube, trace the outline, and then cut off the aperture.

8. Add landscape fabric. Cut some landscape cloth to suit the aeration shelf. If at all feasible, leave a 2-inch space.

Make the fill tube and wicking area holes. Because of the landscaping fabric, soil cannot slip down into the water storage tank.

9. Add wet soil to wicking basket. Fill a container halfway with potting soil. Fill the wicker hamper to the brim.

10. Move container to its final location.

Your self-watering container will be too heavy to move once it has been filled with potting mix. Make sure the fill tube is easily accessible in order to fill it with a hose.

11. Fill container with potting mix.

Fill the self-watering container three inches at a time with the remaining potting soil, making careful to completely soak each layer before adding more.

This is critical since dry potting mix will not absorb moisture.

12. Add fertilizer. Spread two cups of fertilizer into a trench excavated into the soil along the middle of the self-watering planter.

Water in potting soil over the fertilizer strip. Avoid mixing or distributing fertilizer into the potting soil.

You’ll need to create place for the fill tube, so cut one now. The garbage bag will serve as plastic mulch, conserving moisture for the plants.

14. Plant. Make holes in the mulch and insert the transplants, being careful not to damage the fertilizer strip.

I put an X in the solar mulch to identify the locations where the plants will go whenever I use an 18-gallon self-watering container for my determinate or bush tomato plants.

15. Fill water reservoir compartment.

Fill the fill tube with water until it overflows. Prop up potted plants that are leaning.

Make sure the water reservoir is continually filled to keep the wicking action continuing strong. In the summer heat, it’s essential to drink enough of water.

Additional Tips:

Choose a robust tote: such as the Rubbermaid Roughneck or the Sterilite Ultra, which will not fracture under duress and can hold a lot of weight.

Those lovely blue ones were on discount for about $5, and they’re still going strong after several years.

Simply drain the water and store it in a shed for the winter. The totes should be offered for less than ten dollars at cheap department stores.

Shelf Rehydration and Ventilation:

If you’re utilizing a potting mix aeration shelf, be sure whatever you choose to support it can withstand the weight of the wet potting mix.

I use two upcycled thirty-ounce containers for ground coffee to build a robust shelf.

Recycled coffee cans support the aeration shelf. Take note that the shelf in this photograph is really on its side.

Wicking Chamber: The wicking chamber container should not be too large. I used discarded yogurt tubs and other recycled plastic containers.

Potting Mix: Soil in a Container Choose a high-quality, lightweight container-specific potting mix, or build your own using the following proportions:

45 percent peat moss, 45 percent compost, 10 percent perlite, and 2 cups hydrated lime or dolomite To completely fill an 18-gallon self-watering container, you’ll need around 2 cubic feet of water.

Organic Fertilizer: I use Epsoma Plant-tone for vegetables and Tomato-Tone for tomatoes, both of which are organic fertilizers.


Reusing self-watering pots for subsequent crops is straightforward. The old plants and fertilizer strip are simple to remove.

After thoroughly wetting the soil, reinstalling the fertilizer strip, and filling the reservoir chamber, replant.

Do Self Watering Planters Really Work?

True, but correct application is critical.

The container that purports to hold water does not. It is a method of watering plants that uses planters with a reservoir in the base.

A fabric “wick” or a “foot” in the soil connects this reservoir to the plant’s location.

Plants that use a soil foot system stretch their roots into the foot, where they may absorb all of the water they require.

Water is drawn up a wick and into the soil in the main pot by capillary action. In any event, the plants will have access to water as long as the reservoir is full.

This means you may water less often while still maintaining healthy plant life.

When you first fill your planter, make sure to properly hydrate the soil. Plants should be watered from above until they have developed deep roots.

Mulch reduces evaporation from the soil’s surface, which is especially beneficial in outdoor containers. Planters’ efficiency improves as a result of this.

Once your plant is established, you only need to refresh the water in the reservoir as it evaporates.

Are Self Watering Planters Good?

It’s fantastic! Plants ranging from huge outdoor plants like tomato plants to little interior plants may flourish in self-watering containers.

The only thing left to do is find a pot that is the right size and form for your plants. There is a growing interest in urban agriculture, and these containers are an excellent way to get started.

There is no danger of a plant drowning in open pots or containers that sit on a drip tray.

If you pour in too much water, it will drain directly into the overflow. (If you have a habit of overwatering, take the container outside or use a drip tray.)

Are Self Watering Pots Good for Succulents?

Maybe. This is not the ideal option since wicking self-watering pots operate best when the soil is maintained slightly wet at all times.

If desired, a dirt foot can be employed. Allow it to dry completely between waterings.

Minimize the size of the soil foot to reduce soil moisture. This is described farther down, as you will see.


When caring for plants, a self-watering planter saves time and work. The devices are highly valued since they need less maintenance.

You will have more time to focus on other activities if you hire someone to water your plants.

If you’re going to be gone for a lengthy period of time, remember to water your plants. You can’t rely on your friends and neighbors to look after your plants.

They are already overwhelmed with tasks, in actuality. New self-watering pot designs are featured here, along with their plant and garden health advantages.

Self-watering pots provide you the assurance that your plants will receive the water they require to grow even when you are not around to care for them.

Self-watering pots are a low-cost and simple solution to keep your houseplants alive and thriving.