How to make a cheap but very effective self-watering system
There is a very simple and cheap way to keep your plants hydrated, when away from home. All you need is some basic bits of kit, that most people will have in their homes.
What you need:
- Strong medium-thickness cotton string.
- Strong pair of scissors or box cutter.
- Large empty plastic bottle or a large pan with lid.
- Strong waterproof chair or stool.
It is so easy to set it up!
The first step you must do is to make a hole in the bottle, about a third of the way down. If your bottles are large, you can use one bottle for several plants. In which case make as many holes as you have plants in need of watering.
Measure out enough string to cover the distance from the bottom of the bottle all the way to halfway inside the plant pot. Wet the string thoroughly and then thread it through the hole and into the bottle until it reaches the bottom. If you are using a pan, then pop the lid over the string. Having a lid will stop the water from evaporating.
Arrange your plants, near some sunlight on a suitable surface and place a chair or stool next to them, place the bottles safely on the stool and then place the wet string into the soil and press down so it is embedded halfway in the soil.
Make sure that the string is taut so that gravity works its magic and runs down the length of the string into the plant. As your plant becomes dry it will leach the water it needs from the string.
I would suggest testing this before you go away first to see how fast the stream flows into the plant, if it is giving too much water then you can slow this by tying some knots along the length of the string. Different plants have their own individual needs with respect to watering and sunlight exposure so do bear this in mind when you are positioning your plants. Orchids and snake plants for example can happily go without water for a week or so, so long as they are not in direct strong sunlight.
When I recently used this tip, I returned from 10 days away to super healthy, happy plants. They all grew lots and not one died. I think they really thrived from the balance of sun and water. I will definitely use this system again, as it is so easy and effective!
Get all the kit you need to set up
It is important that you use a cotton string that will absorb the water steadily. I used a 5 litre water bottle, but you could use a pan with a lid on it, although I would not recommend this for more than a week as the water could evaporate.
If you don’t want to set up the string method here are some handy inexpensive gadgets to try.
There are so many self-watering planters on the market for those who would rather buy one instead of make one.
The most important thing to consider when choosing a self-watering planter is the amount of water required for the plant you have in mind.