Indoor Gardening: Wick Watering

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Indoor Gardening: Wick Watering

Staff Writer · Feb 4, 2010

Wick watering when indoor gardening is a perfect way to water your houseplants because it brings water directly to the roots and the soil remains consistently moist. For some plants, like African Violets it is the best way to water them. Wick watering can be accomplished with different types of self watering planters or you can make your own wick waterer.

Wick Watering Ceramic Pots

Because wick watering is the preferred method to water African Violets there are self watering pots on the market designed specifically to wick water. The basic concept is that of a two tiered pot. The bottom part of the pot is made of fired ceramic and designed to hold a couple of inches of water. The top tier of the pot is made from unsealed ceramic material that absorbs the water from the bottom of the pot and pulls it through to the soil. These pots are often decorative and are easy to use, but they can be expensive.

Self Watering Planters

In addition to ceramic pots specifically designed for African Violets, there are many self water pots on the market. Most of these pots are plastic and have a well at the bottom that can be filled with water. The bottom part of the pot has slits that allow the water to penetrate into the soil. Because these pots are made from plastic they are much less expensive than their ceramic counterparts, but they often lack the beauty that ceramic pots offer.

Do-It-Yourself Wick Watering

The previous two commercially available wick watering pots are great, but you can also make your own wick watering system using planters that you already have. In order to make a wick waterer you will need the following materials:

  • a plastic nursery pot with holes in the bottom

  • a high sided bowl (preferably attractive because this will be the visible)

  • a plastic food container with a hole in the bottom and sides

  • a wick material like shoe strings or candle wick material

  • a screwdriver

The first step is to plant the plant in the plastic pot with holes on the bottom. Next, use the screw driver to force on end of your wick material up into the root ball of the plant. The bottom of the wick material should hang out of the drain hole. Now place the plastic food container that has a hole in the bottom and side upside down into the bowl. Place the plant into the bowl on top of the plastic container with the wick threaded through the container. Now fill the bowl with water until it runs into the plastic food container and wets the wick thoroughly. As long as the wick remains wet it will draw water up into the root ball of the plant.

Maintenance

Standing water in any of these wick waterers can become fetid or grow algae. To prevent this, add 3 tablespoons of 6% hydrogen peroxide to 1 gallon of water and use this water to fill your planters.

One great advantage of using any wick watering system is that they become self-watering, allowing you to leave your plants for more than a week at a time if you need to be away from home.

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