Knowing how much water a plant needs can be a challenge but self-watering planters and plant pots can take a lot of that pressure away. Designed to allow plants to draw up water as and when they need it, self-watering planters are a great option to prevent overwatering, for when you go away or just want a little more peace of mind.
The amount of water a plant requires can vary considerably and depends on their country of origin and the environment they evolved in. And while knowing how to water house plants and the signs of over- or under-watering is always valuable, self-watering planters do have their uses.
We’ve included a range of outdoor and indoor self-watering planters and plant pots to help you find an option that suits the space or plants you have. These include vertical self-watering plant pots and herb keepers, along with raised flower beds and hanging baskets.
The selection below will, hopefully, show you the variety of shapes, sizes and styles on offer and is accompanied by a quick explanation of the ins and outs of self-watering planters and how they work.
For more advice on looking after house plants, read our guides to best watering cans, indoor plant pots and the best indoor greenhouses. To keep track of what you’re growing, we also suggest investing in some plant labels.
How do self-watering planters work?
Self-watering planters work using a process called capillary action. Within all self-watering planters is a compartment containing a water reservoir from which plants can draw up water.
As the plant’s roots absorb this water, the moisture in the soil will be kept at a consistent level. This is because as water is released from the plant’s leaves, more water is drawn up by the roots to replace it.
It is possible to set up your own self-watering system but investing in a more sophisticated, ready-made self-watering planter may be more helpful if you intend to use it often. Those from a retailer or garden centre often have extra features that can be useful, including a water level indicator, an overflow valve to allow excess water to escape and irrigation systems that can last up to 30 days.
10 of the best self-watering planters and pots
Browse our pick of the best indoor and outdoor self-watering planters, below.
Cole and Mason Fresh Herb Range Self-Watering Potted Herb Keeper
This triple herb keeper from Cole and Mason is designed to extend the life of any fresh potted herbs. Each plant rests on its own felt pad and draws up the water it needs. Nine replacement pads are also provided and can be washed and reused. The base features a lip to make it easier to fill without spillage.
Lechuza Balconera Self-Watering Planter
Available in four colours including slate, nutmeg and white, the Balconera planter from Lechuza features a removable planter liner, water level indicator and plant substrate. The pot is also UV and frost resistant.
Lechuza Trend Puro Textured Self-Watering Spherical Planter
This spherical planter is lightweight and recyclable. It has a water indicator to help prevent overwatering and an overflow valve allows excess rain water to escape. The inner plant liner is also removable to make planting fuss-free.
Freeport Park Mosaic Stone Plant Pot
Manufactured from composite, resin and fibreglass, this plant pot has a mosaic finish and is protected against UV and frost. It’s best suited for outdoor use and has a capacity of 32 litres.
Freeport Park Divisadero Metal Self-Watering Raised Flower Bed Set
Available in two finishes – marble and millstone – these raised flower beds from Freeport Park have drainage holes to prevent overwatering. Supplied in three heights, the planters are also rust, frost and weather resistant.
Symple Stuff Self-Watering Plant Pot
The Symple Stuff Self-Watering Plant Pot is a great option for those with limited floor space. It has a modular design so you can customise the height, colour and plant pot angle. Symple Stuff also promise that the plant pot’s irrigation system has a range of more than 30 days.
Self-Watering Hanging Baskets
This pair of hanging baskets from Crocus uses a capillary system which connects to a detachable water reservoir to draw up water. There should be no water overflow so they can even be used inside if preferred.
Self-Watering Windowsill Plant Tray
This self-watering tray is a simple and affordable solution to keeping your plants topped up when you’re away. Plant pots are placed on top of the tray and an inner support board, covered in capillary matting, is positioned inside an outer reservoir tray. Water is then drawn up as needed and the tray should fit neatly on a windowsill or shelf.
Recycled Self-Watering Grow Pot Tower
Ideal for fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes and peppers, this tower includes a self-watering pot with a 1.5m cane support frame. The pot has a 11-litre capacity, is made from recycled BPA-free plastic and is also supplied with a float indicator so you can check the water level quickly.
Sawford Design Studio Two Piece Cylinder Stone Effect and Wood Self-Watering Planter
Handmade from biodegradable PLA, this self-watering planter comes with a pot and drainage basin. Available in two sizes, the top of the planter has a curved inset to allow water to be poured into the bottom basin.