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How to use self-watering planters?

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How to use self-watering planters?

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  • I bought this self watering planter to keep a peace lily plant in because i understand they like regular water in the hotter months. If I want to water it using the reservoir, I presume I repot the plant directly into the planter but I don’t know how you could refill the reservoir through that little opening. HELP PLEASE
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: How to use self-watering planters?

Hello @Jubes


The hole you see at the bottom is the inspection hole to see the level of the water. It also serves as the overflow hole. There is usually a plastic barrier where the soil and plant sit. A gap is left at the bottom where the water will gather and act as a reservoir for the plant. Once you've transplanted your Peace Lily, you usually water it. The water will drain to the bottom of the pot and that will be the reserve water for the plant. If the soil is still moist and you wish to top up the reservoir, I suggest using Hortico 1.5L Lime Green Plastic Watering Can and filling it from the hole.


If you need further assistance, please let us know.




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Re: How to use self-watering planters?

Hi @Jubes ,


Once you've put your peace lily in that self-watering pot you are still going to need to water it from the top down, like a normal pot plant, for quite some time (or forever, if you want to keep it looking its best).


I'm assuming that the self-watering pot is bigger than the pot your peace lily is in now. That's best because it gives the plant room to grow into the fresh potting mix that you will have to add to the bottom of the new pot to keep your peace lily level with the top of the new pot.


But because you will be adding new potting mix to the bottom of the new pot, the roots of your peace lily won't reach down to the very bottom of the pot, where the water is. The capillary (sponge-like) action of the potting mix might suck up a little bit of water into the bottom couple of centimetres of the potting mix, but that might not reach the lowest roots, and will in any case leave most of the plant's root system completely dry. 


Peace lilies tend to dry out fast because water evaporates quickly from their big, broad leaves. This causes the leaves to develop unsightly brown tips. 


To keep this from happening, you want to give it a good, thorough drenching from the top down, so water comes running out of the hole at the bottom, at least a couple of times a week. Over time the roots will grow and reach the water reservoir at the bottom of the pot. 


The big thing to remember is that plants are on a liquid diet. They need water for photosynthesis, and they can only get nutrients out of the soil by sucking them up with water.


If you rely on a self-watering pot to water a peace lily from the bottom, most of the potting mix will be permanently dry. The plant won't get the water and nutrition it needs to grow and flower, the roots in the dry area will start to die back, and the plant will become weak and unsightly, with crispy brown tips on the leaves.


I have some plants doing very well in self-watering containers, but I water them just as thoroughly as all my other plants. I only think of the reservoirs as back-ups for those times that I can't get to do all the watering I want to do.


By the way, when you give your plant a thorough drenching, remember to tilt the pot to empty out the reservoir before you put it back inside. Otherwise the water that slowly seeps out of the potting mix will cause it to overflow...


Hope that helps,


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