Regardless as to whether you have a knack for indoor gardening or not, it’s always nice to worry less about whether your plants are getting enough of what they need to not only survive—but thrive. Of course, if you have the desire to get your first houseplant (or to try again after you've killed the last one), then you may want to start with an easier-to-care-for species.
But once a plant is chosen, what planter can you use to ensure the plant’s survival—especially on those days...errr...weeks that you forget to water it? After living with so many green companions, I’ve come across and experimented with a number of different vessels that work. Here are a few of my favorites.
CloudFarms Amphora Vase
I reached out to designer Bradley Ferrada of Cloud Farms after I came across his work in home hydroponic systems. I loved his approach to design—not only in the aesthetic sense—but also for the simplicity in setup of his systems. His latest invention is the Amphora Vase, which is a soilless, never-water, hydroponic planter for growing herbs indoors. For those who never remember to water their plants—this is a perfect planter. All you need to do is fill the vessel up once and you’re set. I've grown both cilantro and basil in mine—and just look at the root system!
It took me quite some time to try out this upside down version of a plant pot. I first purchased three for one of my clients, and the plants grew particularly well. Admittedly after using it for a year, I’ve found it to be quite an effective system, but you just have to find the right plant to work in the system. Yes, the roots grow upwards in the soil and you feed water through the top reservoir, which gradually waters the plant’s roots. A small plastic “flag” pops up to let you know that the reservoir is full—and I’ve found that most plants only need watering once a week with this system.
Self-watering Ceramic planters
There are a number of self-watering planters—some that are pre-made and others that you can easily build yourself. One of the more attractive ones that I have found is this Oasis ceramic planter, which I keep ferns in. Ferns have a tendency to be quite finicky, as they enjoy damp soil, but it’s easy to over- or under-water them, so I've found that this pot is a perfect solution. Pour water in the side of the planter and from there the plant’s roots absorb moisture through the clay wall. With this method of watering, I only need to water the plant every 2-3 weeks. Highly recommend!
Though I haven’t gotten mine yet, I have high hopes for Biopod, which is an app-controlled microhabitat. The premise of this living biome is that you choose the type of environment—from an herb garden to a rainforest—and the app programs the correct requirements, including light, water and humidity. One doesn’t necessarily need to be tech-savvy or green-savvy to have a beautiful, thriving garden, so I’m eager to see how this works! (Note: this is the only one on the list that I haven't fully tested).
DIY self-watering Mason Jar
There are so many great DIY self-watering ideas out there, but I found that a self-watering Mason jar version is one of the more attractive—and not to mention—effective approaches. Of course, Mason jars, can be great planters in general, but this one takes a slightly different approach. A stainless steel tea infuser sits in the Mason Jar and serves as the soil container for a plant, while a piece of wicking fabric hangs from the tea infuser into the water. The water travels up the fabric “wick” through capillary action and waters the plant’s roots, as needed. When the water runs out, (which takes quite some time), then you just lift up the tea infuser and add more water. It’s super simple, really affordable and easy to make! 🌿