When most people think of shade loving plants, what comes to mind are boring foliage bearers and a limited selection of tired, worn out, overused flowers. This is only the beginning of what you can put in a window box, though! Shade window boxes can be amazing, intriguing and…
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Are you searching for a simple solution for keeping your plants healthy? By using self-watering planters, you do not have to worry about regular watering. You simply fill the self-watering reservoirs for window boxes and your plants take care of the rest – remaining hydrated weeks at a time, depending on weather conditions.
Thanks to this easy-to-use container irrigation setup, you no longer need a green thumb to maintain your plant life. Read on to learn how to make DIY self-watering planters for residential or commercial use.
What is a Self-Watering Reservoir?
As the name implies, self-watering reservoirs for window boxes and planters allow your plants to absorb water as needed. They are essentially plastic containers with a tube extending from the top.
You can find them in a wide selection of sizes and shapes, to accommodate any planter. This includes our 36x8x3-inch rectangular self-watering reservoir, which fits rectangular planters. For a large square planter, we have a 24x24x3-inch reservoir – along with dozens of other options, including custom reservoirs to fit your planter.
In this educational container gardening video, Claire covers how to make any window box planter self-watering in just minutes. Click to watch or shop planter box reservoirs online.
How Do You Use Self-Watering Planters?
Self-watering planters are incredibly easy to use. They also ensure that your plants do not receive too much or too little water. You just need to choose the right size. Plants will wick moisture from the surrounding 9 inches of soil, depending on the plan and planter size. So, your reservoir should be no more than 18-inches shorter than the length of your planter, again proportional relative to size.
There are just 3 steps to using your reservoir to keep your plants hydrated:
Step 1 – Arranging Your Reservoir
First, you place a thin layer of gravel along the bottom of your planter. This will help provide drainage in the event that you add too much water. Top off the gravel with an inch or two of soil. You then set your reservoir on top of the gravel and soil layers. The included fill tube
Step 2 – Adding Soil and Plants
With your reservoir in place, you can begin adding soil. As you add soil, tamp it down, while avoiding packing too firmly. Make sure that you allow the reservoir tube to extend from the surface of your soil.
Once you add soil, you can add plants as usual. You can hide the tube, but you should ensure that you can still easily pour water into it.
Step 3 – Fill Your Reservoir with Water
The final step is to fill your reservoir with water. Pour water until you can see water in the tube. Through capillary action, your plants will absorb as much water as they need. You no longer have to deal with over or under-watering.
Generally, a full reservoir should keep your plants hydrated for up to 2 weeks. This makes PlanterWell reservoirs great for residential and commercial use. Conserve water and keep plants hydrated as needed while reducing maintenance time and increasing curb appeal with beautiful containers.
You should be able to tell when the reservoir is empty by looking through the watering tube. Shining a light down the tube could help with this process. Much like you check the oil levels of your vehicle you can also use a dowel to measure water levels. You should refill your reservoir in the mornings before the plants begin to receive their sunlight for the day for best results.
Simplify Your Plant Care with Water Reservoirs
Caring for plants is not always easy. You may forget to water them regularly or you may not have the time to keep your plants watered. For this reason, many turn to the best-kept secret in container gardening – self-watering reservoirs.
If you want to simplify the way you care for your plants, then consider using self-watering planters. You can start with a self-watering reservoir DIY project or purchase any of our durable pre-made reservoirs.
You can easily add a self-watering system to any of your existing residential or commercial planters. Browse our selection of planter reservoirs to create your own self-watering garden.
Irrigation Through the Ages
When it came to irrigation, the farmers of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Rome had geography on their side. Civilizations have always sprung up around large bodies of fresh water because of the fertile farmland they produce.
Today’s farmers have invested their resources into modern, high-tech irrigation systems that provide hydration to crops being grown across plains, mountains, and even deserts. Urban farmers aren’t lucky enough to have access to large tracts of land, or proximity to the undisturbed freshwater lakes and rivers that make irrigation simpler for traditional farmers.
The Benefits of Drip Irrigation
Growing fruits, vegetables and flowers in your window box can feel like a daunting task if you haven’t done this before. Window box planters are made from artificial containers that don’t allow for proper water drainage. Hot climates, especially in cities, make shallow soil dry out faster. This is especially true when your window box is exposed to direct sunlight.
The solution? Look no further than drip irrigation. This form of irrigation allows water to slowly drip into the roots of your plants. Water application efficiency becomes very high, and your foliage itself can remain dry. Below are three of the top drip irrigation systems for flower boxes on the market.
- Balcony drip kit with variable timer. This is an excellent irrigation choice for urban farmers who grow in a variety of different containers in the same vicinity. The circuit system can be set up to water window box planters, flower pots, and hanging baskets all at once. Once turned on, this drip kit exudes a water pressure of an even 14.5 ps, perfect for urban gardeners who strive to conserve water.
- Oasis self watering kit. Are you worried that your urban garden may require numerous drip irrigation systems? If you have less than 20 plants, don’t fret. This kit operates on one 9V battery and is ideal for balcony, patio, or small-scale gardening in city plots with other farmers.
- Basic drip kit. If you’re not in need of a timer, then you may want to consider this simpler version of the balcony drip kit. The amount of water dispersed throughout each planet can still be calibrated – you can choose for plants to receive between 0 to 1.59 gallons of water per hour.
All of these drip kits come with instructions for urban farmers who may be setting up drip irrigation systems for the very first time. As with all irrigation techniques, make sure to calibrate each planter box according to the specific watering needs of each plant.