The sulfur compounds in garlic make it a tasty ingredient and great way to lower your blood pressure.

Growing Garlic in Containers

There aren’t many scents more delicious than garlic-laden food simmering in your kitchen. This bulbous plant is used around the world as a seasonings and condiment. Its popularity has made it a staple in modern grocery stores and specialty markets.

Still, store-bought garlic can’t compare to fresh garlic grown right in your own home. Garlic is a very hardy plant that can even be grown in the winter, so you and your family can enjoy its savory goodness all year long. Growing garlic is similar to cooking with garlic, because both beginning chefs and seasoned cooks can excel at it. And here’s the best part: when you’re growing garlic in containers, no garden is necessary.

The Best Containers for Growing Garlic

No matter what container your select, make sure that it can withstand long exposure to sunlight. Here are two that are perfectly suited for the task.

Tinley ceramic planters. Designed with a tree-bark texture, these planter pots come in black, white, or brown. They are 13″ in both diameter and height, so they’re compact enough for any area of your kitchen, windowsill, or patio.

– Vertical garden with containers. This multi-use product can be used to grow garlic or virtually any herb or seasoning you could imagine. The tough fir frame holds 16 small terra cotta pots that are as cute as they are functional.

The sulfur compounds in garlic make it a tasty ingredient and great way to lower your blood pressure.

The sulfur compounds in garlic make it a tasty ingredient and great way to lower your blood pressure.

How to Grow Garlic

If you’re not sure about what variety of garlic to plant, DigginFood has some great tips about selecting local garlic varieties.

Step 1: Choose a high-quality potting soil. Garlic is known to develop root fungus when grown in subpar soil. Fill your container with your soil, leaving approximately two inches of space at the top.

Step 2: Select the largest cloves and break them apart. Make sure not to break the paper-like wrapper that encases each clove. Plant them 3″ deep within the soil, and 5″ apart from each other. Fill each hole back up with soil, leaving 1″ between the tip of the clove and the surface.

Step 3: Gather straw or bamboo. During cold months, cover your garlic with these materials to keep them warm. Remove them immediately when the weather heats back up.

Step 4: Wait for your garlic to grow. Keep the soil moist at all times. Begin fertilizing it every three weeks with a liquid fertilizer.

Step 5: Harvest. When the bottom third of the leaves have yellowed, it’s time to pick your garlic!

There is an endless amount of recipes you can prepare with garlic. From sauces to meat, your home-grown garlic is sure to be a hit with your family, friends, and guests.

 

Photo: EcoLibrary

Seedlings Sprouting

Growing Herbs in Containers: Light, Life Cycles and Planting

There’s nothing quite like fresh herbs. Instead of making a run to the store when a recipe calls for some extra zing, what if you could just head to your herb garden to get that fresh rosemary, basil, or mint? Growing herbs in containers is a simple project that can yield big rewards. Below are a few things to consider before planting your herb containers:

You can sprout seedlings in just about anything. Invest in long-term solutions for best success growing herbs in containers.

You can sprout seedlings in just about anything.
Invest in long-term solutions for best success growing herbs in containers.

Light

Herbs require strong light to grow, which can be a problem if you’re trying to harvest chives during the short, dark days of winter. The best herbs to grow can be planted in indoor containers. Planting in herb containers, either indoors or outdoors, allows for the pots to be moved around according to the sun. If you plant an herb that needs less sun, like parsley, simply move it out of the sun in the middle of the day. On the flipside, you can move a sun-loving herb around your yard or house for optimal growth. The Glendon Tapered Round Planter can be used indoors or outdoors, allowing you to give your herbs the light they need.

Life Cycles

A good understanding of plant lifecycle helps when growing herbs. Allowing your herbs to go to seed and turn into flowers signals that their lifecycle is about to end. The best thing to do is to harvest your herbs frequently. Luckily, with something as delicious as fresh herbs, you will most likely be plucking it often. If you see a flower forming, just pinch it off to keep your herbs happy, healthy, and productive. A good herb container for keeping an eye on your plants is the Tinley Ceramic Low Bowl Planter, which has a short profile so your herbs and their progress are always in view.

Planting Herbs

A successful herb garden starts right from the beginning with strategic planting. You may be tempted to cram lots of herbs into the herb container, but make sure to read the plant tag carefully and allow enough room for the fully grown herb – overcrowding can stop plants from expanding their root system and be harmful in the cold winter months. The best herbs to grow will easily fit into your pot now and when they are full size. A good option for an herb container that allows room for plenty of plants is the Danbury Round Planter, which has a wide diameter for plenty of planting room.

With a little research and a little planning, a container herb garden will be spicing up your kitchen in no time! For best results, shop smaller containers that fit on countertops or tables.

window box on vinyl siding

How to Hang Window Boxes on Vinyl Siding

If you’re one of the millions of homeowners nationwide with vinyl siding, chances are you value materials and products that are long-lasting, low-maintenance and beautiful. As such, desired tips for increasing curb appeal should be affordable, durable and doable from a DIY perspective. The perfect project? Hanging window planters!

With the help of this how-to guide, installing a window box on vinyl siding is made easy. Here at Hooks And Lattice, our mission is to improve curb appeal for every abode, from ranch homes to colonials. And being that vinyl is the #1 siding used in the United States, many a homeowner will find this tutorial useful learning how to hang window boxes on vinyl siding.

When deciding how to hang a window box planter, there are essentially two options to choose from:

Option #1: Direct Mount with Bolts

Option #2: Mounting Hooks For Vinyl

Deciding between the two is really a matter of preference. There’s no single best way to hang window boxes on vinyl siding, although we recommend a direct mount installation. Read on to see why.

front-of-house-vinyl-siding_75281377

Wow does this house need window boxes!
For dual-span windows, try one long window planter for a comprehensive look.

Installing Window Boxes Directly to Vinyl Siding

The Perks:

  • Simple and stable for a lasting mount
  • Lower risk of coming unattached compared w/ vinyl hooks
  • Greater weight bearing capabilities
  • Mounts flush to siding for a polished look
window box on vinyl siding

A hayrack trough planter dresses up this dormer window.
Raised panel shutters frame the opening for a polished exterior display.

Supply List:

  • Correctly sized window box
  • Mounting bolts
  • Stud finder
  • Pencil or marker

How To Install:

  • Find the wooden studs beneath vinyl siding. You will be drilling straight through in order to anchor mounting bolts right into studs.
  • Measure your garden container to determine the distance between mounting brackets or holes in the frame. You will align this with your stud spacing.

Note: If using a Hooks And Lattice Window Box made of wood, composite PVC or one of our metal cages, your container is compatible with standard 16″-18″ stud spacing.

  • Use window box measurements to identify mounting position. Then mark your spots on the vinyl clearly to guide drilling.
  • Drill starter holes into siding. Just enough to give the bolt an opening that will help to guide it through.
  • Thread your first bolt through a pre-drilled mounting hole on the window box. Depending on their position, either begin with one side or, if there’s a center bracket or mounting tab, begin here.
  • Attach your container to siding. Depending on how comfortable you are holding up the weight of your window box, this part can be a one or two-person job. While supporting the full weight of the planter, drill in your first threaded bolt all the way through to wood siding, just shy of tightening all the way.
  • Finally, add remaining bolts and repeat the step above. Once the last is in and you’ve checked to make sure the display is straight, tighten bolts the rest of the way to secure the mount.

Now you’re ready to try out all of your favorite container garden arrangements for spring, summer, fall and winter. For homes in colder climates, be sure to choose a weather resistant flower planter or choose window boxes with removable liners that are easy to winterize and store.

Kids Gardening – How to Get Everyone Involved at Home

Forget the TV, smart phones, and other gadgets-this summer get your kids outdoors with fun garden activities for the whole family! Gardening is a fun project for kids and teaches them useful skills, all while they enjoy time outdoors with the family. Here are three easy garden projects to get your kids involved:

Terrarium

A terrarium is small enough that it is manageable for a child, and the great growth conditions ensure that nearly everything they plant will thrive. Terrariums are great year round, or if you live in a climate that makes outdoor gardening difficult. It also creates a conversation piece and allows your child to show off their work! To begin, pick out a terrarium container. A great option is this fun apple shaped terrarium. Next, have your child help pick out the plants. Because terrariums act like mini-greenhouses, plants like succulents and cacti are great options. Pair with some river rocks and soil, and soon the plants will be growing. Terrariums can be placed indoors or outdoors and work on nearly every surface, even hung from the ceiling.

Photo Credit: tienvijftien

Give the kids a breath of fresh air this summer with fun garden projects that are just their size!
Photo Credit: tienvijftien

Window boxes

For a project that will always be in view, have your child take charge of a window planter. Wooden planters are great options because they are durable and will match whatever your child decides to plant inside. This redwood planter can be used as a window box or even as a standalone planter. Your child’s creativity can run wild when picking flowers and plants for the box-just remember to take into account the location of the planter in regards to sun and water needs. By picking a variety of colors, heights, and textures, your child can create their own masterpiece in plant form and it will be right outside the window to enjoy each day!

Outdoor planters

A large garden can be intimidating for children, but many outdoor planters come in sizes that are perfect for little fingers. If your child needs a little gardening motivation, consider giving them a uniquely shaped planter to pique their interest. These volcanic rock planters are a fun option. For a larger project, this vertical pot garden allows kids to be in charge of just a few small pots that will still have a big impact. Help your child choose the right materials for planting, such as soil, fertilizer, and plants. Be sure to choose plants that will work in your climate and that are durable enough to withstand a novice junior gardener.

Gardening is a perfect family activity and a great chance for kids to get their hands dirty in a comfortable environment. With these fun kids gardening ideas, your family will be growing their green thumbs in no time!

Flower Box Holders for Railings

We all know that flower boxes are a great way to add life and color to any home. No matter how dull the walls might look, window boxes will add an element of cheerfulness and freshness to the image, significantly improving your home’s appeal. Moreover, you can also increase your house’s curb appeal by placing window boxes on railings, thus embellishing stairways, balconies or terraces.

This is done with the help of flower box holders which, as the name suggests, allow you to attach your flower box to railing and support the weight of the planters. There are different kinds of holders, and they differ in terms of size, design and, most importantly, the type of the railing they are compatible with and the way in which they attach themselves to the railing.

Wrought iron railing brackets suspend a beautifully planted Fiberglass Supreme window box.

Wrought iron railing brackets suspend a beautifully planted Fiberglass Supreme window box.

Holders for wood railings

Railing brackets for wood decks allow you to attach planters securely without having to drill any holes in the material. This is very practical, as it allows you to rearrange planters whenever you feel like making a décor change, without worrying about any unaesthetic holes. These planters use either adjustable railing hooks which allow them to fit on railings of different width, or a clamp system that utilizes an adjustable screw so that it can be attached to any wooden railings, regardless of their thickness.

Holders for wrought iron railings

Many homes use wrought iron railings, which require less maintenance and have a longer lifespan than their wooden counterparts. Rail planters are attached to the deck through brackets similar to the ones for wooden railings. You can choose either adjustable deck railings or metal brackets for your specific rail width.

You can find a great diversity of models of metal brackets for your specific needs. Make sure that you know the measurements of the window box you want to mount on the specific railing, as some types of holders are compatible with window boxes up to a certain width and/or length. And, if you are not opting for an adjustable holder, don’t forget to measure accurately the width of your railing before placing your order. Click Here to contact us for consultation.

All holders on the market are coated with a special finish which makes them impervious to water and humidity, and thus less prone to rust.  This ensures a long life expectancy of these products, making them a cost-efficient purchase which can help you add to the curb appeal of your home for many years to come.

10 Ways to Increase Sales with Silk Flowers – Part 1

Marketing a florist shop is a challenge.  There is tons of competition from small boutiques, with a few corporate giants thrown in, crowding out many florists. Successful florist shops have active SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for global presence as well as print ads, coupon mailers and local association connections to create local interest.  The question is: When everyone has access to the same flowers, candy, fruit, plants and gift baskets, how do you set yourself apart?

Expand your line, reduce waste and increase profits with silk flowers!  In the first installment of this two part countdown, we explore using artificial flowers to improve your window displays and appeal to new audiences.  Here is what we learned…

Natural looking silk flowers are an easy way to design better window displays and Realtors love them for home staging.

Natural looking silk flower arrangements are an easy way to design better window displays and Realtors love them for home staging.

 

 10.   Window Display Optimization

Location is still the #1 way a florist shop is recognized and your window displays is the first, and often last, impression your store gets to make.  Many florists spend months or years coming up with their featured designs; some even go as far as to hire specialized floral designers.  This is an awful lot of work and expense for a product that withers in a matter of days.  Try using artificial silk flowers for these displays and prototypes.  Not only are the stems reusable if you don’t like the design, but customers will be able to see a physical sample of the arrangement you spent so much to produce, months or years after the live floral version would have been trashed.

Less talked about, but every bit as important, is how much silk flowers and plants can add to a window display.  When flowers last months or years, spending time designing off-the-wall, eye-catching displays is less daunting and more affordable. Even if you do not plan on selling artificial flowers or arrangements to your clients, faux silks have a huge upside for front window displays and bouquet design samples.

9.       Expand your shipping area

Appealing to a local audience is extremely important, but at the same time there is no reason to limit yourself to customers in driving distance of your shop.  The larger e-florist chains contract out to local florists for most jobs because it is easier to pay someone else to put together arrangements than to work out how to get fresh flowers to long distance customers.

Artificial flowers are a great way to push your local business to a national or international stage.  Marketing avenues that were previously closed to you now become a major income stream.  Websites like Etsy, Ebay, Amazon and Overstock are geared toward smaller vendors with items that keep and ship well.  The more artistic and unique an item is, the better it generally sells.  Plus, the photos you upload are only design templates, you can easily arrange more as orders arrive.

Being in the floral industry, we have all seen clients try to put together bouquets on their own.  While customers may know what they like, they have no idea how to make it.  You have the expertise, design eye and market knowledge to know what is attractive to your clients.  Why waste skills you have developed over the years by limiting yourself to fresh cut flowers?

A bountiful offering in your floral showroom is the way to go - showcase your selection of silk sprays in an organized manner.

Showcase your florals and selection of silk sprays in an organized manner.

8.       Silk Flower Sprays

In the same way that you accompany cut flower bouquets with individual flowers or flower bunches, silk flowers are a great adder product to artificial arrangements.  There can be a significantly higher perceived value to individual flowers.  The stems are generally longer, with retail pricing usually around $4-$10 each and dozens retailing for $25-$60. Using vertical racks to show the silk sprays helps to improve the perception that your shop stocks high volumes of flowers and improves the perception of freshness.

Silk stems and sprays attract a DIY clientele that often lacks the design sense to put together items they are happy with.  The most popular styles are Gerber Daisies, Roses, Iris and Lilies; All items where a bunch of 12 can be thrown into a vase and still look attractive.  Because of the lower individual price points of stems and sprays, you will find customers have a tendency to over purchase to ensure they have enough to finish the job.

7.       “How To” Videos and Clinics

Getting involved in community and being recognized is a critical factor in local marketing.  Community Centers, Big Box Stores and Trade Associations are always looking for exciting new products to feature, drawing attention to their own organization.  Faux Silk Flower “How To” videos and seminars are a great way to get your foot in the door and your face in the community, teaching potential clients about your company and your products while avoiding the negativity and cost of sales driven trade show booths.

Watching the creation and design of a silk flower arrangement is very popular, especially with the higher end demographics florists’ target market.  These shows and videos also have the positive impact of getting your clients interested in purchasing components instead of completed arrangements.  While television and print continue to shrink, free online resources like youtube gain clout.  With creativity and a little personality, “how to” videos put a name and face on your floral shop.

Visit our local floral showroom in Solana Beach!

Make yourself available to the local public. Set up a showroom to welcome them!

6.       Overcoming the Silk Stigma

No matter the quality of the silk flower stems and arrangements, the terms “silk flowers” or “artificial plants” have a black eye that shuts down sales before the client gets a chance to look at your designs. When marketing silk florals, it is better to use terms like “Replica Flowers” or “Fabricated Arrangements”, emphasizing the extreme realism, longevity and care free nature of the silks.

The stigma behind silk flowers disappears almost immediately when clients set eyes on a good design.  The manufacturing materials and techniques available today allow the creation of faux flowers that don’t just mimic real stems, but replicate them.  Many of the currently available silks seem real to the eye and even to the touch.  The key here is to get the product in front of the customer and let the flowers sell themselves.

Keep an eye out for the second half of our list, coming soon!

-Hooks and Lattice has been a family owned and operated silk flower manufacturer and importer since 1969.  If you have any questions or are interested in getting an estimate for your project, give us a call at 888-320-0626, visit us online at www.artificialplantsunlimited.com or visit our showroom space at 6056 Corte Del Cedro, carlsbad, CA 92011

Cool DIY Projects for Spring Gardening

It’s that time of year again, dust off your shovel and rake and break out the gloves, its time to start planning your spring gardening projects. Whether you plan to plant a few potted flowers to brighten up the front of your house, or grow enough vegetables to feed your family for the year, spring is always a busy and exciting time for gardeners.

The most important lesson to take with you, is that you've just got to get outside in the garden and do something! Photo Credit: M. Dolly

The most important lesson to take with you, is that you’ve just got to get outside in the garden and do something!
Photo Credit: M. Dolly

Planning your Spring Gardening Projects

The key to any DIY garden project is planning. In any space the largest pieces draw the eye immediately and demand your attention. A great idea for the anchor piece in a small garden is a dwarf fruit tree planted in a Cedar Planter. Imagine orange juice fresh from your backyard, or juicing your own limes to liven up some homemade salsa. If you live in a cooler climate planters have a undeniable benefit. Some of the more delicate fruit trees can’t handle harsh climates, but a tree in a mobile planter can easily be moved inside when the mercury starts to drop.

Cedar planters are the easiest to paint, plus it's a fun DIY project that will get the kids in the garden too!

Cedar planters are the easiest to paint, plus it’s a fun DIY project that will get the kids in the garden too!

Not a fan of citrus? No problem, try arranging multiple planters around the perimeter of your patio or deck to create separation from the rest of the yard. Fill these barrier planters with flowers, vegetables, or perennial shrubs. Do you have a creative friend of family member? Provide a few cans of paint and some brushes and that row of planters will become a canvas allowing infinite options for customization of your outdoor space.

Gardening in Small Spaces

A living wall is an excellent addition to any small gardens décor. If your garden is limited to an enclosed area try hanging a Living Wall Planter on any wall to add life to a once dead space. An absorbent mat set behind this durable planter protects your walls from any water damage. Let your creativity run wild and arrange several planters on a large wall to add a custom touch to your garden. If your felling ambitious try covering a large vertical space with planters, then use a variety of colored flowers and plants to make a design, or even spell your family name.

For small space gardening, check out our living wall planters. They're modular, so you can make your project as big or small as you want!

For small space gardening, check out our living wall planters. They’re modular, so you can make your project as big or small as you want!

Enjoying the Results of Your DIY Garden Projects

After all your hard work be sure to sit back and enjoy the results. If you have grown vegetables you and your family will surely enjoy a few meals from the garden. Flowers with large and fragrant blooms can be cut fresh and arranged in a vase as a thoughtful gift for the neighbor who is always there for you, or kept on the dining room table as a DIY centerpiece straight from your garden. On the other hand, if you have grown some smaller succulents or flowers, glass pendant terrariums hanging in your home or office are the perfect way to display the product of all your hard work.

As with any hobby the key output of your spring gardening this year should be joy. The time spent planning, planting, and caring for your garden this spring will pay dividends throughout the summer and fall. Dream big this year and make your garden the talk of the town!

What are your spring gardening ideas? Share them in the comments below!

How to Install Arched Top Shutters Correctly

Photo Credit: The Godby's

Wooden arched top shutters on the upstairs accompanied by straight-top shutters on the lower level.

Historically, shutters only served a functional role: that of covering the house’s windows, protecting them against the elements – since back then glass was something not many could afford. Nowadays, shutters serve both a functional role – as they protect your window and a decorative role – as their presence can greatly contribute to the curb appeal of your home.

It is no surprise therefore that an increasingly number of people turn to installing exterior shutters when it comes to home improvements, especially since shutters also increase property value. Although it looks easy enough, not everyone knows how to install shutters properly, especially arched top shutters which are a bit trickier to mount because of their shape. And because you probably want to make sure that you do a good job, here are a few things you need to pay attention to:

Placement

open-closed-arched-shutters

The #1 mistake made during arch top shutter installation is the panel orientation…oftentimes even by hired installers!

You don’t have to place shutters at every window. Use them only for the windows you feel could benefit from the presence of shutters. In fact, only single windows should be fitted with shutters, as fitting them on wider windows would be impractical – they would not cover the entire window. Even if you just want them for décor they would look awkward.

Choosing the Right Shutters

You need to select a shutter that matches the shape and size of your window perfectly. The arch of the window can be elliptical or a semi-circle. You need to then measure the width of the window opening. This will help you get the exact width of the two arched window shutters, since they need to meet in the middle of the window.

Wood composite arched top window shutters flank a traditional window. Exterior shutter hardware supports and holds the panels open.

There aren’t many styles of arched top shutters on the market, because of their special shape. However, they match pretty much any architectural style easily, and you will find it easy to find something that is a perfect fit for your home – whether you are looking for something classical looking or for something with a more modern look.

Shutter Installation

The materials you need to use for shutter installation depend on whether you are interested in using them only as decorations, or you wish to actually use them to protect your home from the scorching sun. You should know that the difference in costs between the two is not significant – and it pays to be able to actually use them. Either way, attach the shutters at the edges of the window, so that they look natural. Make sure they are symmetrically placed, and that you didn’t attach them backwards – the exterior design must face the wall.

It’s easy to make mistakes when installing arched top shutters. You need to pay attention and correct any mistakes made. That way, you’ll be one step closer to giving your home that perfect look you’ve always dreamed of.

Now that you know how to install them correctly – start shopping exterior shutters for the perfect fit for the architectural style of your house.

Metal Lantern Centerpiece

How to Decorate Metal Lanterns

Metal Lantern Centerpiece

Create a unique centerpiece with a metal and glass lantern. These living table mats are cool too!

For first-timers and DIY veterans alike, deciding how to decorate lanterns is a fun and challenging part of the process. Some projects call for simplicity like the effortless feel of decorative candle lanterns, perhaps adorned with a ring of fresh garlands outside the enclosure. And for special occasions, transform metal lanterns into Christmas themed centerpieces or unforgettable wedding decoration ideas. With so many design concepts to choose from, here’s a few of our favorites to get you started:

Centerpiece Table Ideas

Spruce up everyday home decor with elegant table centerpiece ideas crafted using iron lanterns. On a dining room table, a kitchen island, or atop a patio set, indoor and outdoor lanterns add a touch of personal charm.

One classic option begins with our Victorian Table Lantern and your favorite pillar candle. Understated and elegant, this lantern provides the perfect display case for a gently flickering flame: A timeless accent that is sure to warm the ambiance at any dinner table. And it makes a great housewarming gift, too!

Lanterns for kitchen and tabletop display are also a wonderful opportunity to showcase your family’s personality. Fill with keepsakes like vacation souvenirs, children’s art projects, or a string of wildflower garlands to create an irresistible conversation piece.

Holiday Themed Lanterns

Give your Christmas, Passover or Thanksgiving table decor a boost using lanterns for decoration. For Christmas themed centerpieces, it’s as simple as choosing favorite yuletide materials: ornaments, garlands, holly berries, light strings, colored candles, and more. An enclosure like our Oxford Garden Lantern is ideal for combinations of bright reds and greens, all arranged to gleam through the lantern’s glass sides.

Incorporate lanterns into Thanksgiving table decor with festive autumn materials like dried fallen leaves, miniature pumpkins, and textured husks. Create your own favorite combinations and delight holiday guests with all the colors and shapes of the season.

Decorative Metal Lanterns

We added a candle, smooth stones, ribbon, and a seashell to create our beach-themed metal lantern.

Seaside & Beach Lantern

Start with simple bronze or black lanterns, fill with tokens of the sea or lakeshore, and, presto! You have a charming beach lantern that will warm any tabletop. Whether you live near the water or not, seaside themed lanterns are a breeze to create. Choose combinations of sand, seashells, pebbles and corals to construct a calming coastal theme. These can be collected in nature, or purchased at most any craft store.

Wedding Decoration Ideas

For a memorable wedding decoration, professional planners and DIY’ers alike are loving indoor and outdoor lanterns. An all-around charming look coupled with the endless opportunity to customize makes this an irresistible option for the big day! Cater to the bride and groom’s tastes by displaying glimpses of their life together within each lantern, like a folded map for the honeymoon destination, or a small photograph of the happy couple together. Or, keep it simple and classic with decorative candle lanterns and enclosures filled with brilliant floral arrangements.

Diagram of how a self watering planter works

How Do Self-Watering Planters Work?

Diagram of how a self watering planter works

Self-watering planters have a reservoir of water beneath the soil.

Watering is one of the most vital and detested chores in the garden, right after pulling long rooted, thorny weeds with your bare hands.  For container gardeners, watering has become much less of a hassle since the introduction of the newest generation of self-watering planters.  Older styles of self-watering planters weren’t much better than resting a pot in a saucer, but today’s self-watering planters contain separate water reservoirs designed to protect plant roots from excess moisture.

Benefits of Self-Watering Planters

The heat of the summer makes container gardens particularly needy when it comes to water.  The high heat, low humidity and small amount of water-trapping planting medium means that containers dry out significantly faster than garden beds.  In many areas, containers need to be watered two or three times a day, especially when vegetables are involved.  In response to this sort of problem, the reservoir system was developed to allow gardeners a break from constant watering.

Whether you’ve got a busy life that keeps you on the run or you’re a notorious under-waterer, self-watering planters will help you to grow a wider range of plants than ever before.  Depending on the size of the plant, the pot and the reservoir, you may be able to go a week or two between waterings, turning a daily chore into a weekly task.  Furthermore, self-watering containers tend to save a lot of water, since the water that isn’t used immediately by your plant is stored for later use.

How It Works

Self-watering planters have a very simple design and work on basic concepts.  A plastic, hollow platform rests in the bottom of the pot to create the reservoir.  The top of the platform is solid, with one or more holes to allow water to drain from the plant’s soil and collect underneath.  Some self-watering planters are additionally fitted with watering tubes that protrude from the top of the soil once the pot is filled with medium.  Others also have an overflow hose to prevent standing water above the platform.

The water that’s trapped below the plastic platform is dealt back to the soil through wicking, or “capillary action,” gently hydrating the growing medium.  You may find advertisements that claim your plant will get exactly the amount of water it needs from this system, but keep in mind that the self-watering pot isn’t magic. They do deal back an average amount of moisture for an average plant under most conditions.  This means that plants that need very dry conditions or those that require boggier soil won’t do well in self-watering pots, but your standard garden vegetables, annuals and many perennials are excellent self-watering container candidates.

You can purchase self-watering planters from just about any home and garden retailer, and we have quite a wide selection right here at Hooks & Lattice. If you already have a planter you love, transform it into a self-watering planter by adding a reservoir beneath the soil. You may even be able to exercise your DIY skills and create one from scratch. Whatever method you choose, your plants’ roots will draw up exactly as much water as they need, and you’ll spend less time watering and more time relaxing in the garden.