Self-Watering Planters Eliminate Guesswork

A person holding and examining an Ella Square Artstone self watering planter

Home gardening is a fun and rewarding activity - there's nothing like watching plants grow and flourish. However, taking the time to care for plants can be distracting for busy folks. Equally important, there are always concerns about watering. When should you water, how do you water properly, and how much water do your plants need?

Thankfully, you can use self-watering planters to eliminate all the guesswork.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Self-Watering Planters

Fortunately, there are numerous options for self-watering pots. So it comes down to selecting the one that works best for you based on several factors.

Size and Capacity

Consider the size of your plants and their water requirements. Choose a planter that provides adequate space and water capacity to accommodate the needs of your green companions.


Self-watering containers come in various materials, each with its pros and cons. Plastic versions are lightweight and affordable, while ceramic options offer durability and aesthetic appeal. Terra cotta is the good, old standby that's affordable with a simplistic appeal.

White and rust colored Artstone self-watering planters

Select the material that best suits your preferences and gardening style. You'll also want to consider if you're using the planter indoors or outdoors. Some materials, like plastic or resin, can withstand elements better than terra cotta pots but are susceptible to cracking.

For example, Root and Vessel has popular Artstone resin planters, each with a self-watering feature. Resin is incredibly durable and works perfectly for outdoor or indoor plants. Plus, their marbled look lends a modern aesthetic to any space.


In addition to materials, self-watering planters come in various designs and styles. Consider the aesthetics of your home and choose one that complements your interior or outdoor space, enhancing the overall visual appeal.

Ease of Use

Look for a self-watering plant system that's easy to set up and maintain. Consider features like accessible reservoirs and drainage systems that facilitate hassle-free watering and cleaning.

How Self-Watering Planters Work

Self-watering planters use a simple yet effective system that ensures plants receive water. And best of all, handle watering without constant monitoring or manual intervention. Understanding how these planters work will help you maximize their features and benefits.

  1. Water Reservoir: The critical component of a self-watering planter is the water reservoir. That reservoir typically sits at the bottom of the container. It holds water which gradually releases to the plant's roots. The size of the reservoir determines how long the planter can sustain the plants without the need for refilling.
  2. Wicking Mechanism: A wicking mechanism connects the water reservoir to the soil or growing medium and the plant's roots. Often the wicking component is a wick or capillary mat. This mechanism is a bridge that draws water from the reservoir to the roots.
  3. Capillary Action: Capillary action is the principle behind self-watering planters. Simply, it's the ability of a liquid, such as water, to flow upward against gravity in narrow spaces. As the soil or growing medium dries out, the capillary action draws water from the reservoir.
  4. Water Level Indicator: Some self-watering planters come with a water level indicator. It allows you to monitor the water level in the reservoir without needing to open or disturb the planter. This feature helps determine when to refill the reservoir, ensuring your plants have a constant water supply.
  5. Drainage System: To prevent waterlogging and root rot, self-watering planters often have an overflow or drainage system. This system allows excess water to escape from the pot. That's essential to ensure proper drainage. Drainage prevents water from pooling in the container, which could harm the plant's roots.

Illustrated view showing how Artstone's self-watering feature works

Self-watering planters create an automated watering system for your plants. This system effectively maintains the proper moisture level. So you won't have to worry about too much or too little water reaching your plants, promoting healthy growth.

Pros of Self-Watering Planters

Sub-irrigated planters (SIP) have numerous benefits; the first reduced maintenance. By automating the watering process, self-watering planters lessen the need for daily monitoring and manual watering. This feature is particularly advantageous for busy gardening enthusiasts, allowing them to enjoy their plants without the constant time commitment.

Second, self-watering planting systems deliver the right amount of water to your plants. Under or over-watering plants is a long-standing concern of gardeners. But the capillary action ensures plant roots receive water when they need it. That helps prevent wilting or dehydration and waterlogged soil.

Third, self-watering planters provide consistent levels of water to minimize wasting water. Your plants receive the right amount of water consistently. That helps them thrive and reduces the risk of stress caused by fluctuations in soil moisture. So they remain healthy even if you forget to water them.

Finally, the water reservoir extends the time between waterings. This is good for busy gardeners who sometimes can't regularly devote their attention to their plants. Knowing they have a reliable water source, you can leave your plants for a few days or even a week.

Cons of Self-Watering Systems

Self-watering planters allow you to set and go without stressing over watering. Still, you'll want to keep an eye out for potential issues.

Sometimes, the watering mechanism can clog, requiring cleaning. Moreover, you should check for mold growth now and then because water is constantly present. Regular cleaning can help prevent its buildup.

Self-watering systems are perfect for various plants, including herbs, annuals, and perennials. However, plants requiring consistently moist soil may struggle with their bottom-up system. So choosing the right type of plant to go into your self-watering pot is critical.

Humidity can impact self-irrigating plants negatively. That's because they release water to the plants no matter how humid. And if you use one outdoors, they also can't adjust to heavy or frequent rainfall. So, you'll have to check your pots to ensure your plants don't become water-logged.

Make Your Life Easy with Self-Watering Planters

You can enjoy the beauty of a flourishing garden without compromising your busy schedule or stressing about watering your plants too much or too little. Self-watering planters offer convenience, consistent watering, and peace of mind.

You can count on Root & Vessel for all your planter needs. We even offer a guarantee on all our decorative planters.

Learn about our patented sub-irrigated Water-Minder™ self-watering reservoir that keeps your plants green and lush. Included with all our Artstone planters 5½" and larger.