How to Make a Self-Watering Plant Pot

[Music] In hot, sunny weather, keeping plants in
containers watered can take a considerable amount of time. Then there’s always the anxiety about
how plants will fare when you’re away for a
well-earned break. One solution is to use self-watering
pots, such as this. It’s actually very easy and inexpensive
to make one, so in this video we’ll show you how – step-by-step. You’ll need two containers which, when stacked,
will leave a gap between the bottom and top containers. The gap will serve as your water reservoir. If there isn’t enough of a gap you can
use some plastic pots to raise the top container up a little more. We’re using two 5-gallon (20 liter)
food-grade plastic buckets. You can often pick these up for free from restaurants,
or very cheaply from home improvement stores. You’ll also need a one and a half inch (3cm)
diameter plastic pipe long enough to run the length of the two
buckets, a plastic cup, yogurt pot or similar to act as a wicking chamber and of course some quality potting soil
and your plants. Start by preparing the
wicking chamber. This should dangle down from the top
bucket into the bottom. Stuffed with potting soil, it will draw or wick water
from the reservoir up into the top bucket. Use a marker pen to trace an outline
of the pot onto the middle of the top bucket. Now cut it out. You can use a keyhole saw
or a hacksaw for this. Here I’m using a drill to make lots of small holes so I
can use a sharp knife to cut the plastic out. The wicking chamber will need lots
of holes all over the sides to allow the water to enter from the reservoir. Use a half-inch (1cm) wide drill bit to make these. Now for the water delivery
pipe. Begin by cutting one end of your plastic pipe at a 45-degree angle like this. This will allow the water to freely flow
from the pipe into the reservoir without getting blocked. Cut the top end so it
stands clear of the final soil level. Now cut a hole into the bottom of the
top bucket so the pipe can pass into the reservoir. Make sure it’s snug fit by
tracing the outline then cutting to size. The top bucket will need some drainage
holes for healthy root growth. Drill lots of quarter-inch or 5mm holes
into its base. You can go for a random pattern or an
orderly effects such as this. Stack the top bucket into the bottom bucket, then
mark off using a pen where the top buckets sits. Remove the top bucket and drill a quarter-inch (5mm)
hole into the bottom bucket just below this line. This will serve as an overflow hole, so the potting soil in the top bucket never gets waterlogged. It also removes any guesswork from
filling the reservoir – just stop when the water starts to drain
out from the overflow. Now it’s time to assemble the container. Insert the top bucket into the bottom
bucket. Fill the wicking chamber with potting soil, firming it in for good contact, then slot the chamber snugly into its
hole. Slide the water delivery pipe into place, pointy end down. Fill the top bucket with
potting soil, moistening with water as you fill. You can plant several plants into the top bucket
according to their spacing requirements, or set one plant such as a tomato at
the center. This allows you to cover up the
remaining soil surface, which will reduce evaporation – especially important in
hotter climates. Use a lid for this, cutting appropriate holes to accommodate the plant and the pipe. Alternatively you can use a thick garbage bag, secured at the sides with rubber bands, a bungee cord, or string. You could also add a shallow ring of
organic fertilizer around the plant. The moist potting soil will gradually draw
the nutrients down into the soil to feed the plant’s roots. This is a fantastically elegant solution
to daily watering, and you can always add additional self-watering containers as time allows. Please share your tips for self-watering
plants by just dropping us a comment below, and for more practical projects such as this,
make sure you’re subscribed to our video channel. I’ll catch you next time. [Music]

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