It's right about this time of year that finding the best self-watering system or gadget for your plants becomes a priority for all gardeners.
You've probably spent months toiling over your planting, nurturing fruit and veg from seed, as well as working out which were the best plants to grow in your north-facing living room.
And now that all your hard work has come to fruition, your garden is in full bloom and your potted palms are thriving, you're certainly not going to ruin it all by going on holiday and letting everything dry up in the summer sun.
A quick search online will reveal that there are oh-so-many of different types of the self-watering systems to choose from, but which ones are guaranteed to work? The last thing you want is to fork out on an expensive gadget, only to come home to a shrivelled up garden. Nor do you want to buy something that isn't suitable for your planting, either watering it too much (or too little).
So where to start? When shopping for the best self-watering planters and systems, the first place to start is by looking at your plants. Are you an indoor gardener? Do you just have a balcony or a large container garden? Do you have an average-sized garden or needs something that will water a larger area?
There are tailored options for each of the above so once you can narrow down your selection, you should be able to find the best self-watering system, gadget or gizmo to suit your needs.
To make life a little easier for you – and we're all about having an easy life – we've collated our favourite self-watering accessories below to help you in your search. Some will need using in conjunction with the best garden hose, while others are the whole package.
Simply scroll down and fill your boots with the best self-watering systems to keep your plants, big and small, in tip-top shape while you're away from home getting some much needed rest and relaxation. Happy holidays!
The best self-watering planters and systems
Indoor, windowsill, balcony or garden, these ingenious devices will keep your plants watered when you can't do the job yourself...
1. The self-hydrating window box
Balconera Cottage Planter 50 | £29.99 at Lechuza (opens in new tab)
This smart, trough-style planter may look like a simple, all-weather rattan country-style window box, but it's far more than just a pretty face.
Inside, it features a removable liner, a water level indicator and plant substrate which all combine to ensure your plants are given all the water they need for at least a fortnight or more.
While this is planter is 50cm wide – hence the name – there's a wider 80cm size available, too, and you can even buy special brackets to attach the planter to a balcony or railing.
2. The super smart Gardena watering system
Gardena Smart Water Control Set | £248.65 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Whether you're home or away, connect this handy device to your best garden sprinkler (opens in new tab) or garden irrigation system via the outdoor tap and it will take on the job of watering your garden for you.
Linked to your smartphone via Bluetooth and operated using an app, you can set up to three different watering schedules of your choice and adjust them whenever you need to.
And in winter months, there's a handy frost alarm which will alert you when it's too cold to work.
3. The no-fuss self-watering spike
Elho Aqua Care watering system | £11.65 for two at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Available in transparent, aubergine and lime colourways, the Elho Aqua Care gadget couldn't be simpler.
Made from recycled plastic bottles, you fill it with water, insert the spike into the soil and the roots of your plant will suck up water from the earth when it needs it.
4. The indoor/outdoor plant pot on wheels
Ikea PS Fejö self-watering plant pot | £17 at Ikea (opens in new tab)
This simple, sturdy planter for your plants features a tube insert leading into a separate water container in the base, so you can water your plants from the bottom up.
Perfect for use indoors or out, your plant will drink what it needs – no more, no less – and the wheels on the base make it super easy to move around too. Genius.
5. The smart, stackable self-watering planter
Pila color stick planter | £28.99 at Lechuza (opens in new tab)
The new Pil range from Lechuza features two sized planters in six colours made from UV-resistant, frostproof, durable resin. The integrated auto-watering system will ensure your plant gets the right amount of water it needs to thrive for up to three months.
Ideal for patio ideas (opens in new tab) and balcony ideas (opens in new tab), you can stack them on top of handy storage units (as shown here) or buy a separate coaster base so you can move the planter around on wheels.
6. The container garden's self-watering saviour
Hozelock Classic Micro Irrigation | £76.85 at Amazon (opens in new tab)
If most of your plants are in containers, you need this best self-watering system in your life. Suitable for use in up to 25 pots, this kit features includes a supply tube that features special mini drippers that will automatically deliver water directly to the roots of each plant.
This reduces water wastage and ensures your plants stay healthy when you're away from home (or just lazing on a lounger in the sunshine).
How to choose the right self watering system
Choosing the right irrigation system is dependent on what you are watering and how hands off you need to be. You also need to consider how long you are away as some will hold enough water to cover a long weekend or a few days, while smart irrigation systems are designed to work for as long you need.
It all depends on whether your choice of best self-watering system is connected to a water source, such as an outdoor tap. If not, you will be limited by their tank capacity. Be mindful that you will need to avoid overwatering too, so before you pick what type you need, learn a bit about watering plants.
Self watering planters
These are best suited to container gardening ideas and houseplants, or kitchen herb gardens. They hold enough water to keep your plant fresh for a number of days, or a couple of weeks. There are some that can manage months of watering too, but this will despond on climate and exposure.
Look for a self-watering planter that regulates how much water the plant drinks so that the soil doesn't become waterlogged. We also like options like those from Lechuza (opens in new tab) that have water indicators so you never forget to top it up.
The most basic of self-watering systems are spikes. Some are ornate like the option we have shown above, but if you need something utilitarian for a greenhouse or your best indoor plants while you are away, check out the large range of self watering spikes on Amazon (opens in new tab). They aren't pretty but they are very affordable and make use of any old plastic bottles you have, meaning you can choose how many litres of water you hook up.
Smart watering systems
The most expensive – but most flexible – best self-watering systems are smart watering systems. These are connected to the mains and programmed via your smart phone. There are a few choices out there with Hozelock and Gardena offering some of the most advanced systems, but most will offer scheduling options. These are not just great for when you go on holiday, but can take the daily effort out of keeping your garden thriving.
Ginevra is Associate Editor across the homes titles at Future. She has worked for the majority of Britain’s monthly interiors titles, such as Ideal Home, Country Homes & Interiors and Livingetc, as well as for websites HomesandGardens.com and Gardeningetc.com. She has written about every area of the home, indoors and out, from shopping and decorating, appliances and home tech, wallpaper and fabric, kitchens and bathrooms, even extensions and conversions.
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