Question: I’m looking for advice on automatic plant watering. I enjoy my houseplants and they look great thanks to many of your tips.
However, I taking a vacation and hate the thought of my plants suffering while I’m gone for 2 weeks. How can I mix a vacation, watering and plants together? Diane, NJ
Answer: Diane, watering your plants while out of town or on vacation can be a problem.
On the market you can find a self watering pot, large and small in size but it can get expensive outfitting all your houseplants for a short time. I happen to like a self watering planter or growing plants in a subirrigation system especially for those with a busy lifestyle.
Automatic Plant Watering
SmartHome.com offers an “automatic watering system for plants”. It’s the Claber Oasis Self Watering System and is capable of handling the automatic watering of up to 20 plants with 4 independent watering cycles. No electrical connection is required or faucet hook ups needed.
The plant watering system is intended for indoor use only. The system comes equipped with a 6.6 gallon “watering tank” to hold water, a 33-foot “distribution hose” and 20 stakes and drippers to regulate how much water each plant receives.
The watering tank needs a firm level surface and should sit 2.5 feet above the floor and place the plants close you plan on watering. Since we’re talking about water – potential leaks can always be a problem, DO NOT sit the watering tank on any electrical appliances.
With 33-foot of tubing you have plenty of tubing to spread the plants out, give them good lighting and still water them. Spacing the plants a foot or two apart should be fine.
Customize Your Automatic Plant Watering System
Each “water stake and dripper” has a stem which is pressed into the soil to hold the dripper in place, each dripper can be adjusted so larger plants can receive more water than smaller plants.
One dripper is sufficient for small and/or medium sized pots. You may want to double up on larger pots to put more water around the root ball. In fact on oversized houseplants I would recommend using two taps. This is a great way to make your own self watering pot for large or small planters.
Before you set everything up and assume you’ll be watering your plants while out of town – test it out. Pour water into the tank but do not overfill. Also do not put in any liquid fertilizers in the water, this will encourage algae growth.
The unit uses a 9 volt battery operated timer and solenoid valve. The Oasis unit can be used outdoors, and should be placed in a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight.
4 Independent Water Distribution Programs
10 Day – 4 oz per day for each dripper; 2x day 12 minutes per
20 Day – 2 oz per day for each dripper, 2x day 6 minutes per
30 Day – 1.35 oz per day for each dripper, 2x day 4 minutes per
40 Day – 1 oz per day for each dripper, 2x day 3 minutes per
Once set up the whole system delivers automatic operation for watering your plants… that until the water runs out. Although daily watering I think could be a little much, stay on the low side – don’t over water.
It’s also not a bad idea to place under each plant a sauce to catch any excess water which could run out the bottom of the pots drain holes
Now instead of worrying about your plants drying up when on vacation or writing down long detailed instructions for the boy next door on “how-to water your plants”.
All you need to do is have him make sure the water reservoir is filled.
This technology isn’t something that new in concept. Nurseries have used "drip irrigation" for years with great success.
Now you can take advantage of this subirrigation technology while traveling.
The Claber Oasis Self Watering System from SmartHome.com offers an “automatic plant watering system” is affordable, portable and gives you complete control over how much water each plant receives.
Now go enjoy your trip and make the automatic plant watering part of your vacation or trip.