how to use a self watering pot (Greenery Unlimited review)

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how to use a self watering pot (Greenery Unlimited review)

One of the hardest parts about having indoor plants, for me, is that I travel a lot. I love growing plants right inside my home, but every month or so I travel for a few weeks and all of my houseplants take a major beating.

I’ve tried a few different self watering methods, like watering globes, wine bottles, self-watering moss poles, and clay self watering spikes to keep the soil moist while I’m away.

But honestly, those methods fell short.

Watering globes drained straight through the pot and self watering spikes are really best for shorter trips for less than 2 weeks. Self-watering moss poles actually require a lot of watering on my part.

What I like about a self watering planter is that the water reservoir design allows the plant roots to take what they need from the reservoir and only when they need it.

So before my next trip, I decided to try out Greenery Unlimited’s self watering pot to see if it could make traveling a little easier.

I’ll update the results here as time passes.

jump ahead

    how self-watering pots work

    Self-watering pots typically have a water reservoir that is connected to the potting soil via a wicking system. The wicking system consists of a porous material, such as clay pebbles in my case, that transports water from the reservoir to the potting soil. This allows the potted plant to receive a consistent supply of water, which reduces the need for frequent watering.

    Other materials that can be used are cotton string or rope, sphagnum moss, or anything else that retains water.

    how to use a self watering pot

    how to use self watering planter

    Place the plastic basket in the hole of the pot. I placed the pot on top of the empty reservoir so that the basket didn’t push up into the clay pebbles.

    self watering pot unboxing

    Add clay pebbles.

    add clay pebbles to self watering container

    Add fresh potting soil. I love using Fox Farm.

    Remove the potted plant from its original container and tease out some of the roots.

    Drop it into the new pot and fill remaining gaps with fresh potting soil.

    fill water reservoir with filtered water

    Lift the pot and fill the water reservoir with fresh filtered water. I kept the water level just below the top of the ceramic plate to accommodate the bottom of the pot when I placed it on top of the water.

    how to use a self-watering pot

    how to maintain a self watering plant pot

    • fertilizing – you can add liquid fertilizer to the water, following the manufacturer instructions.
    • root pruning – when the roots begin to outgrow the space, you can trim the smaller thread plant roots to make space; Greenery Unlimited says to never cut away more than 1/3 of the of the root mass when pruning.
    • root flushing – if you choose to fertilizer your plant, then Greenery Unlimited recommends running the potted plant under gently running water for 10-20 minutes.
    benefits of self watering pots

    Greenery Unlimited self watering pot review

    Greenery Unlimited offered to send us a pot to check out and write about. Of course, I accepted. I’ve been searching for something like this on Amazon for ages but haven’t really found any designs I liked.

    I love the GU designs, they’re exactly what I was looking for but couldn’t find easily. 

    I received the Franklin 17 in pale salmon.

    franklin 17 pale salmon self watering pot

    As for the package, it arrived easily and well protected. The instructions were right on the side of the box, saving on waste and making the entire process insanely easy.

    I love the QR code on the box, it leads you to this instructional video.

    I placed my fern into this pot because it is the plant that suffers the most when we’re away. We just returned (at 2 a.m.!) last night and I was in such a panic over the gray, lifeless little memory of a fern that I walked in on that I sat it in a dish of filtered water immediately. I forgot to take a “before” picture, but it has been looking much happier ever since.

    Since my fern quickly perks up any time I water it from the bottom, I’m guessing that it will be very happy in its new home.

    When I return from my next trip, I’ll show the health of the plant when using this self watering pot.

    common questions

    how often do you fill self watering pots?

    This really depends on the climate where you live, the potting soil you use, the season, and what kind of plant you have. Keep an eye on the water level over time and when the reservoir becomes empty, allow the plant roots to dry out for a few days.

    do self watering pots cause root rot?

    Most self watering containers are safe for your plants. When designed and maintained properly, your roots won’t be sitting in excess water, which is what causes root rot. This is why it’s important to allow your plant roots to dry out for a few days in between watering.

    If root rot does begin to appear, then trim away the dead roots and rinse with filtered water. Then allow the roots to dry out for a few days. 

    do self-watering pots need drainage?

    The drainage hole at the bottom of the self watering container allows moisture to wick upward into the soil, not the other way around. Because you won’t be watering your plants from the top, water will never need to drain from the soil. Nonetheless, the drainage hole at the bottom will provide all the drainage it needs.

    what plants do well in self watering pots?

    do succulents like self watering pots?

    Succulents are desert plants, so they retain water in their squishy leaves and have fine roots that can reach through the rocky desert ground for hidden water. Naturally, they don’t do well when sitting in water. However, that isn’t to say that succulents don’t love a lot of water. In fact, they do. I find my succulents happiest when they are outside during rainy season. My indoor succulents are much slower to grow and smaller, mostly because I don’t water them nearly as often. That’s how their leaves become so fleshy!

    more about watering plants

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