Self watering systems for potted plants

Self watering systems for potted plants

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Article #2

It’s basically a tray with its own water supply, that you sit your pots in, and it automatically waters them for you. All you have to do is occassionally top up the main water reservoir, that’s all!

They’re great for seedlings, freshly rooted cuttings, and anything else that needs constant moisture.

How Does it Work?

  1. The terracotta pot slowly oozes water out onto the capillary matting.
  2. The capillary matting, a synthetic absorbent material, soaks up water like a sponge.
  3. The moist  potting  soil in the plant’s pot wicks up water from the damp capillary matting.

potting mixcapillary matterracotta pot

So, when the plant draws up the water in the potting mix or it dries out from evaporation, water will wick back into it to restore the moisture lost, so our plant gets its water supply and stays a happy plant, which is the way we prefer to keep them!

Construction Details


Pictured below is a seed punnet tray that is used commercially in nurseries. Any plastic tray with drainage will work.






Best to move this setup to its final location at this point, as it may get too heavy or delicate to move, once the water and plants are put in. A sheletered location with part shade or dappled sunlight is recommended as you don’t want your delicate plants exposed to full sun or wind. The water won’t last as long either!





If the terracotta pot accidentally runs dry, re-fill it with water and re-water the individual plant pots to re-establish the wicking.

Some Useful Hints & Tips

This can be scaled up in size too without any problems. this is another setup I have which is almost twice as large, approximately 1.5′ x 2′ in size, which has been in place for a few months. It’s located on the east side near a fence where it gets a bit of morning sun, and dappled or indirect light around noon.

This is where I put small seedlings and freshly rooted cuttings to keep them safe from drying out, and to establish them a bit further till they are ready to plant.

Since the moisture wicks up from the bottom, and the plants roots will grow towards the source of moisture, the sedlings develop a deep, strong and extensive root system. Be careful because they will grow really well, and will set roots into the capillary matting!

You can add a sheet of root control matting over the capillary matting if you want to avoid the plants rooting into it, and the retailers that sell capillary matting also sell the root control mat .


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Moisture Matic Automatic Pot Plant Watering System

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