Whether you forget to water your plants or have a tendency to drown them, self-watering planters can be a lifesaver. That’s why we’ve decided to figure out what makes a great product.
Poring over descriptions and reviews, we’ve found that the best planters have a visible water gauge, holes for easy watering, and adequate drainage for aeration. Some use soil wicks while others use rope, and the pot size should differ based on your plant and space. Keeping these things in mind, we handpicked some of our favorite self-watering planters available online.
Top 10 Best Self-Watering Planters to Buy Online
Before beginning, remember that self-watering planters keep the soil consistently moist, and some plants prefer drier conditions. So always check your plant’s watering needs before making your choice.
1. Aquaphoric Self Watering Planter + Fiber Soil
Best Planter for Beginners and Unskilled Gardeners
This self-watering planter comes with basically all you need to foster a green thumb. Aside from a full-featured planter, it comes with two quarts of fiber soil that resist root rot to give your plants the best shot at success.
Reviewers write that it works as it should, though you need to move the gauge in order to add water. Just remember to read up on your plant’s water needs and adjust the dampness of the soil before you leave it to do its own thing.
|Wick||Soil wick||Water Gauge||Yes|
|Drainage Holes||No||Extras||Comes with soil|
2. Keter Urban Bloomer
Best Raised Planter for Herbs and Veggies
This planter is perfect for those looking to grow water-loving veggies and herbs. It’s large enough to accommodate up to 30 separate plants, and the self-watering feature works to keep them hydrated for up to a week at a time.
Reviewers write that it’s easy to put together and that its plastic build means it won’t break down over time. However, they do warn that the legs aren’t the sturdiest, so try not to move the planter much once you fill it up with soil.
|Wick||Soil wick||Water Gauge||Yes|
|Size||32.3″ x 14.7″ x 30.7″; 22.4 gallons||Water Hole||Yes|
|Drainage Holes||No||Extras||Raised, sectioned|
3. Fengzhitao Clear Self-Watering Planters (Set of 3)
Best Simple Setup for Small Indoor Plants
For those who might forget to check the gauge or refill the reservoir, these clear pots allow you to quickly and easily tell when it’s time to top up the water. They also have an easy-fill hole to provide the simplest setup possible.
Reviewers write that these pots are durable, effective, and easy to use correctly. They’re especially great for use indoors and add to basically all decor styles.
|Wick||Rope wick||Water Gauge||Clear pot|
|Size||Outer: 5″ x 5″ x 3″; Inner: 4″ x 3.5″||Water Hole||Yes|
4. T4U Plastic Self Watering Planter with Water Level Indicator
Best Pot for Large, Water-Loving Plants
This self-watering planter is ideal for larger plants and small trees. Its water gauge is very visible, which means that it’ll be easy for you to see when to water (though for those who prefer a little more discretion, it may be too obvious).
Reviewers write that the outer plastic is strong and durable and that the gauge is fairly easy to put together. Do note that you need to fill the reservoir from the top, so it’s best to use with plants that like a lot of water.
|Wick||Soil wick||Water Gauge||Yes|
|Size||13.75″ x 12.5″ x 8.5″; 4 gallons||Water Hole||No|
5. Tabor Tools Self-Watering Hanging Planter
Best Hanging Self-Watering Planter
It can be easy to forget to water plants that are above your line of sight–this planter is here to help. Its reservoir lets you water just once a week, and you’ll always be able to see when it’s time to add more.
Reviewers love the range of colors and faux rattan pattern that fits with both indoor and outdoor decor. Do note, however, that the inner pot is fairly shallow, so you want to use this with a plant has a shallower root system.
|Wick||Soil wick||Water Gauge||Yes|
|Size||Outer: 10″ x 7″; Inner: 9″ x 4.5″||Water Hole||Yes|
6. GardenBasix Elongated Self-Watering Window Box
Best Planter Box for Small Spaces
This planter box is great for a small window sill or for those who don’t have a lot of space. It comes with light soil that allows for easy aeration and prevents root rot.
Reviewers write that it looks great and works exactly as it should. It’s small, but because it’s wide it can fit a few different plants inside. Just note that it’s best for plants with shallower root systems.
|Size||16” x 5.5” x 5.5″||Water Hole||Yes|
|Drainage Holes||Yes||Extras||Comes with soil|
7. Mkono Plastic Flower Pots (Set of 5)
Best Multi-Pack of Plastic Pots
This set of small plastic pots features translucent reservoirs, which make it easy to see when it’s time to add more water. The pots are colorful and durable, and they hold about a quart of soil each.
Reviewers write that these are especially good for African violets. Do note, however, that the colors are sent at random, and you might get some that don’t appeal to you very much.
|Wick||Soil wick||Water Gauge||Clear reservoir|
|Size||Outer: 5.5″ x 5″ x 4″; Inner: 4″||Water Hole||Yes|
8. HBServices USA Modern High Drainage Reservoir Pot
Best Large Planter for Top Watering
This large, self-watering pot has a deep reservoir that can hold enough water for up to two weeks. The wide, open slats at the bottom ensure that there’s airflow (just don’t fill the water too high!), which makes it more suitable for drier plants.
Reviewers write that it works well and and is better suited to certain plants than other products. And because of the build, you can water from the top without having to worry about roots sitting in moist soil for too long.
|Wick||Soil wick||Water Gauge||No|
|Size||10″; 2 gallons||Water Hole||No|
9. Chef’n Baking White Ceramic Self-Watering Herb Planter
Best Planter for Herbs
This handsome little planter is designed especially for herbs, which tend to like their soil on the damp side. It’s functional and would make a great addition to any kitchen decor.
Reviewers write that it works as it’s supposed to and is particularly good for those who have a tendency to kill basil. You can also water from the top without worrying about overwatering.
|Wick||Rope wick||Water Gauge||No|
|Size||Top: 5.3″ x 5.3″ x 3″||Water Hole||Yes|
10. HBS Self-Watering + Self-Aerating Round Planter
Best Budget-Friendly Planter
This budget-friendly planter comes in four different colors and holds enough water to give your plants up to two weeks of hydration. Though it doesn’t have a hole for watering, the reservoir makes it easy to add more without moving your plant.
Reviewers write that it’s fantastic at aerating the soil and have used it even for plants like aloe vera, which tend to prefer drier conditions.
|Wick||Soil wick||Water Gauge||No|
|Size||6″; 1.5 quarts||Water Hole||No|
How to Choose a Self-Watering Planter – Buying Guide
Here are four big points to look out for.
Choose a Wicking Type Based on Plant Maturity
There are two main ways that self-watering planters work: with a rope wick or using the soil as wicking material.
Rope wicks use a porous medium such as a cloth rope to draw the water up from the reservoir into the soil. Using a rope wick allows a more flexible setup as the rope can be placed anywhere within the pot. Do note, however, that you’ll likely need more than one wick in order to get to the level of saturation that your plants require.
Soil wicks, on the other hand, rely on the soil itself to transfer water. Normally, the upper pot has drop-downs that dip portions of the soil on the bottom into the reservoir. This type is best for more mature plants with larger root systems that can reach down to the moister areas. Younger plants may not get enough water otherwise.
Drainage Holes Ensure that The Soil Doesn’t Oversaturate
It may seem counterintuitive for a self-watering pot with a water reservoir to need drainage holes, but you still need to ensure that the soil isn’t oversaturated to prevent root rot. The best way to do this is by looking for a pot that has drainage holes that sit above the reservoir.
Water Gauges and Holes Help You Regulate Water Levels
As the reservoir is covered, it can be hard to tell when it’s running low. That’s why some planters come with a gauge that allows you to see the level of the water. When deciding on a gauge, be sure to look at reviews for accuracy, and note that it may make the plant look less attractive.
Some pots come with a little spigot that allows you to easily add water directly to the soil. Other types force you to take the main plant compartment off or to water from the top, so having an outlet definitely makes refilling easier.
Match Size and Shape to Your Plant and Room
Self-watering planters come in all shapes and sizes. The first order of business is to make sure the pot is about 2 to 4 inches (if your plant is bigger) than the current root system to give it room to grow. Then, consider where you want to put the planter.
Square planters may be easier to tuck away into corners and look better in rows. Narrow planters can be balanced on shelves and windowsills. Hanging planters gives leafy tendrils room to spread, or if your plant will need the extra support, look for options with a trellis.
If you want to try growing a bunch of different plants but are short on space, look for a tiered planter. Finally, if you choose a big, heavy planter and know you might be moving it around, see if you can find one that comes with wheels.
Want Some Plants to Put in Your Planter? We’ve Got You Covered
Plants can make any space come alive. They’re warm, colorful, breathing beings and, in some cases, can even improve air quality. If you’ve decided to give your room a botanical makeover but aren’t sure what kind of plants to buy, check out the articles below.
Self-watering planters can make a world of difference for black thumbs, travelers, and forgetful people. So long as you choose the right one for your plant and lifestyle, it should dramatically improve the condition of your plant.
By Jacqueline Oshiro
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