If you are looking for an inexpensive and simple way to water your container plants, either all of the time or when on vacation, try wick watering. This is a guide about wick watering for container plants.
This is a great way to make a self watering container using recycled materials. Learn how to make one in this short video.
What kind of "string" do you use?
It was just a thin hemp twine that you might use for crafts or tying up plants or packages. You could use kitchen twine, laundry line or leftover yarn. It just needs to be able to wick the water from the basin to the soil.
Here is a bigger version we made for my basil. It worked great. I'm still using it today.
This easy recycled planter would be a great summer craft for kids but is also a very effective way to keep your houseplants from drying out.
Cut the top off a 2 liter bottle, a little over halfway up. Drill a small hole in the cap, large enough to thread some twine through. Thread twine through cap and tie a knot on the inside to prevent it from slipping through. Cut the twine off with several inches on each end. Fill the top of the bottle with potting soil and fill the bottom with clean water. Dip the string into the water to submerge it and set the top in place.
This self watering container is great for indoor plants that don't have a large root structure, or for starting seeds. I use this planter for a jade but I think it would work really well for an African violet also. When the roots reach the edge, I will trim them back and add soil around them so the light doesn't damage the roots.
By Jess from Hillsboro, OR
Would this system work using a five gallon water bottle?
Could this system be used with a 5 gallon water bottle jug??
From the simple to the extravagant, the garden marketplace is full of products that can feed and water your container plants for you. But if you prefer to spend your money on plants, rather than "systems," you may want to consider a simple and inexpensive method using wicks. If you're leaving home on vacation for a week or two, or you simply don't have the time to water dozens of containers every day, wick watering can be an efficient, do-it-yourself solution to keeping your container plants happy.
Arrange your pots closely around the water reservoir. Make sure your plants are watered normally (from the top) before starting the process. As the soil dries, water will be drawn into the pots through the wick.
This method works well for small, individual pots. It is commonly used to water small African violets. A shorter cord is placed in the bottom few inches of the container and run out the drainage hole. The pot is then set on top of a reservoir and the cord is allowed to dangle into the water and draw up the water as needed. If needed, fertilizer can also be added to the reservoir. This method works best for smaller plants because water will only travel about 4" up the wick.
To keep house plants watered while on vacation is quite simple. Place A bowl of water near plants with yarn running from the water to a hole made in the dirt with the other end of the yarn buried.