I love the easy-care pleasures of gardening in containers. It only takes a few minutes to set up a pot, and then you’re good for the rest of the year. All you have to do is water. Ah yes, watering the containers – easy when it’s just once a week.
But when summer hits with searing temperatures, planters often need to be checked daily to avoid plants drying out. That’s where I run into trouble. At least once every year I get distracted and miss my water check, only to discover later the dried-out remains of my once lush container garden. I hate that and I’ll bet you do too.
Try a Self-watering Container
So what’s a Southwestern gardener to do? Get some self-watering containers. This might sound like a mythical product (like a self-cleaning house) but these containers really do exist – and often are found in fashionable designs and colors.
All self-watering containers work by having a reservoir of water at the bottom of the pot. The reservoir is set up so that the water comes in contact with the bottom of the potting soil and is slowly wicked up into the soil, preventing it from drying out. Somewhere on the pot there is an opening to the reservoir where the gardener adds water periodically – it doesn’t get there by magic, after all. Some even have a dip-stick or some other mechanism that will tell you how full the reservoir is to help you keep it in good working order.
I recently saw several brands of self-watering containers at a garden trade show. I made a note of those available in Southwest nurseries and home improvement stores. In addition to the colorful Crescent containers above, here’s a short review of what’s out there:
Self-watering Containers in Local Stores
This is just a quick sample of the shapes and sizes for self-watering containers. From cranberry red to slate gray and long window boxes to tall tower shapes, there’s a container to suit your taste and help you keep your sanity this summer as you enjoy your plants despite the heat. Try some out and let us know how it goes.