Whether you’re not at home that often, you want to go traveling or, ahem, you’ve been known to forget to water your houseplants from time to time, we’ve got you covered with our picks for the best self-watering planters for indoor plants.
They’re the perfect solution for those times when you can’t stick to a regular watering schedule yourself – or would simply rather not to, given there’s now an alternative.
I’ll give you some ideas of what to look for when choosing from the various self watering pots for indoor plants, whether it’s for herbs, to create a beautiful window box or just to press a button and watch your plants thrive!
Of course, there is a question of whether self-watering pots are good for indoor plants. Spoiler alert: not for all of them, but we’ll help you out with some tips on how to know when using self-watering planters is a great idea or not.
Best self watering planters for indoor plants
1. Lechuza Premium Cubico Planter
Lechuza has some of the best self-watering planters for indoor plants as they’re not only great quality, but they look amazing too. (It’s why you’re going to find a few of their range on this list as I couldn’t resist!)
This specific one is perfect for making a statement in any room it’s in. It comes in several different colors and while I’m personally a fan of the vibrant scarlet red that’s in the picture, you could easily go with something more cool like the metallic charcoal version.
The fact that this is such a tall self watering planter makes it great for framing a doorway or window. For my one like this, I have a similarly tall plant coming out of it to really take advantage of the height, but I’ve also seen them with various hanging houseplants cascading over the edge which can look beautiful too.
And in terms of their actual function, filling the reservoir will give you between three to four weeks of water for your houseplant. This is great for anyone who’ll be away for some time – or simply can’t be bothered keeping a constant eye on their plants.
How it works: There’s actually an inner section for the soil that’s around one-third of the height of the planter as a whole, so you don’t need to fill the entire planter. This soil section is easily removable, so you can simply lift it out if there are any problems.
The water reservoir is just below the soil section and this works well for making sure your indoor plant receives enough moisture without getting waterlogged. The water level indicator is very easy to use too, making it simple for you to know whether or not more water needs to be added.
2. Lechuza Cubico Wicker Planter
This Lechuza planter is a similar idea to the previous one – except its wicker design really sets it apart from its smoother-looking cousins.
The wicker effect is really beautiful for a more relaxed feel with your decor and you’ve also got the choice of a few different colors here too, depending on the room where you plan to keep this.
FYI: Just keep in mind that thanks to their high quality, these planters are all pretty heavy, especially when filled. Out of the three tall indoor self-watering planters mentioned here, this wicker planter is the lightest so could be easier for you if you’re setting it up on your own. That said, with any of them, I’d recommend putting them into position before adding soil and water.
It’s slightly shorter than the other Lechuza one, at 30 inches tall, which may or may not be good for you. There’s also an even smaller version if you like the effect without the height.
In terms of setting this up, it’s just as easy as the earlier one. That is, the soil is in a separate container, meaning you don’t have to fill the entire planter and can easily remove it when needed. The water is also kept just below it to ensure your houseplants stay happy and healthy.
3. Lechuza Rondo Planter
This planter is great for anyone who wants to move away from the more squared design you’ll find with most self-watering planters. With a wide range of colors and heights, the rounded edges would work particularly well for anyone who doesn’t intend for their planter to be in a corner.
As above, this one works much the same as the others when it comes to setting it up and keeping the soil and water separate. One extra feature that this one (and the others we just mentioned) has is that there’s also a drainage hole at the bottom. This means that if you have an outdoor area where you may keep this planter in the summer, you can remove the plug in the hole if it rains to keep your plant dry enough.
That said, if you intend for this tall self-watering planter to be purely for indoor plants, then this won’t matter. It’s a nice feature to have “just in case” though.
4. AeroGarden Harvest Elite
In terms of the best smart self-watering planters, the AeroGarden Harvest Elite is at the top of the list.
How it works: You basically get what are like Nespresso pods that contain various herb and vegetable seeds. Simply set up and plug in the planter, add the pods and they almost grow themselves. You can, however, add your own seeds too if you’d like once you’ve finished the pods.
It claims that the plants will grow five times as fast in this as in soil – and the reviews solidly support this as being true.
The LED light works on a timer, so you don’t need to manually switch it on and off if you don’t want to. It also comes with a “vacation mode”, meaning there’ll be no issue if you have to leave your AeroGarden alone for a short period of time.
When it comes to watering, I love the automatic reminders of when your plants need water and food – perfect for the occasionally forgetful indoor gardener (not just me, I’m sure).
Let’s be honest though: the AeroGarden isn’t cheap. But if you’re looking for a great kitchen bench set up that not only looks impressive but produces fresh food in the easiest way possible, you really can’t go past this one.
5. Click and Grow Smart Indoor Herb Garden
This smart self watering pots for herbs isn’t quite as advanced as the previous one, but could be more than enough if you’re looking to set up some herbs to grow and go from there.
Like the AeroGarden, it works by growing from “plant pods” that you click into place once the planter is set up and plugged in. You’ll get a choice of over 50 different plant pods, including herbs like cilantro and basil or fruit such as strawberries, cherry tomatoes and chili peppers (yes, they’re fruit!).
(You’re also able to grow your own seeds if any of the 50 choices don’t do it for you.)
The water reservoir is surprisingly big for the size of the planter, meaning you’ll only have to add water from time to time. Also, the LED light is on a timer, so no need to manually switch it on and off every day.
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6. iGrowtek Desktop Planter
This is the least (no offence!) smart self-watering planter out of the three, but it may just be enough for what you need – not to mention that it’s much cheaper. It’s especially good if you are looking to keep a plant on, say, a desk that’s away from any source of natural light, as the built-in grow light will make up for that.
The light is on a timer, so you won’t need to pay attention to it every day. That said, it’s a bit limited as you can only do 12 hours on and 12 hours off automatically. This light is also super bright, so maybe don’t put it right next to you if you’re working and don’t want to be distracted.
Otherwise, it works much like any other self-watering planter. One refill provides enough water for up to ten days so it really helps for making sure you don’t need that much effort for your plants to thrive in this.
7. GardenBasix White Planter Box
This rectangular self-watering planter box is perfect for keeping your houseplants along a windowsill or kitchen bench. It holds enough water for up to a week of making sure your plants get the moisture they need, meaning very little effort is needed on your part to keep them happy.
It’s also beautiful to look at, being available in either black or white. While this planter is plastic, it looks incredibly sleek and, frankly, more expensive than it actually is.
If you want, it includes a bracket for it to be hung – although, personally, I prefer it as a window box so you can enjoy it at eye level.
8. Lechuza Long Stone Window Box
This is a great option for anyone who’s looking for longer self watering pots for indoor plants, whether it be to put it on a slightly wider window sill or on a longer surface that’s just begging for some plants to be added to it.
I have to say, I love the stone effect of this one. I’m not even sure that the photo above does it justice, but having seen this planter in the wild, the mottled stone effect makes it look like serious quality.
Of course, if you’re ready to really brighten up your plant area, you can’t go past this same one in purple…
9. Lechuza Pistachio Planter Box
This is essentially a shorter version of the previous one, although with a different color range. This means that you’ll get the same sleek look and great self-watering design, just for a slightly lower price.
In fact, the way that the water reservoir is designed in this planter means you’ll get up to 12 weeks between watering. If you’re not at home much or are worried you’ll forget to water your houseplants, this is going to be perfect for you.
And to remind you to water your indoor plants when the water does eventually run low, there’s a water indicator that lets you see the level. If it gets too low, it’s time for a drink.
10. Cole and Mason Self-Watering Potted Herb Keeper
This is one of the best self-watering planters for herbs as not only does it look great, but it’s incredibly functional.
It’s targeted mainly at store-bought herbs rather than growing them from the seed. If you’ve ever bought pre-grown herbs, you know they don’t tend to last that long, especially if you buy them already cut.
This planter, however, will completely change that. All you have to do is remove the herb from the pot in which you bought it, put it all in this planter with a tiny bit of extra soil, fill it up through the watering lip and you’re good to go! You can also put different types of herbs in this if you’d like to have a bit of variety.
The water reservoir isn’t so big and herbs usually like to be kept quite moist, so you’ll have to refill the water every five to seven days. This is still a huge improvement though to having to do it every day – especially if you’re the kind of person who’s found yourself forgetting to do this.
11. Environet Self-Watering Mason Jar Herb Garden
These make a great change to the usual look of most self-watering planters for indoor plants, with a line of mason jars being the stuff of Pinterest dreams!
You’ll have the choice of three different herbs included with these, based on various combinations of rosemary, lavender, oregano, basil, cilantro, dill, mint and more. This means that they’re very adaptable to your tastes.
Once each herb outgrows its jar, you’re also fine to reuse the jars with new herb seeds. So with these self watering pots for herbs, you’ll be able to enjoy (and eat the benefits of) these for years to come.
12. Gardenera Self-Watering Planter
Coming in six different sizes and nine different colors (although this emerald green is a personal favorite), this planter would fit right into any room where you’re looking to keep your houseplants.
It’s also got everything you need from a self-watering planter for beginners on a budget. However, instead of a water level indicator sticking up out of the pot, there’s a small clear window on the side for you to see if there’s still water or if a top up is needed.
This planter is very lightweight and entirely functional. Just choose your color and size and you’re good to go!
13. GreenSun Self-Watering Planter Pots (set of three)
These are great looking, very economical self-watering planters for your indoor plants that are on the smaller side. And considering you get a set of three of these pots when you buy them, they’d make a perfect little set on a shelf or other surface.
You’ve also got the option of picking from their five different colors to really help them draw people’s attention in a room.
Surprisingly, for one of the cheaper options, this comes with the “real” water level indicator popping up out of the soil, which helps to make it clearer for you when your plants need more water. On that point, one refill can keep your plants watered for up to a week, making it very easy for you as a plant parent.
14. Gardenix Self-Watering Planter
This planter does just what it says by keeping your plants well watered – all in some of the best-looking colors you’ll find on this list.
The one in the picture is the “terracotta” color (although it kind of looks more burnt orange to me…) although this burgundy version is definitely a close second in terms of the favorite.
One great aspect of this one is that the water reservoir will last between ten days and two weeks from one refill.
But perhaps the highlight is the water indicator itself. Not only does it, well, indicate when more water is needed, the water indicator also has a feature where you measure the growth of your houseplant and track its progress. When you see your plant every day, it’s difficult to notice any difference, but this helps assure you that you’re on the right track and that your plant is thriving.
15. Bloem Ariana Self-Watering Planter
This self-watering planter is simple (and cheap!) but definitely does the job of keeping your plants watered with minimal effort on your part.
It looks far more expensive than it actually is with the strong gray color and the slightly tapered shape. The “lip” at the top of the planter really sets this one apart as a more classic option compared to some of the sleeker, more modern ones on this list.
Also, if you think this pot could spend some time outside as well as indoors, the bottom of it has several circles formed into it that you can break open to create holes. This is important if there’s any chance of your houseplant being rained on at some point as it will ensure any excess water can flow out, rather than staying in the soil and causing problems for your plant.
16. Vingli Six Raised Self-Watering Garden Beds
This is a great space-saver for anyone looking to grow veggies inside, as the two-tiered design means you’re maximizing the available space you have for these plants.
Of course, you don’t have to use this only as a self watering vegetable planter for indoors, as it could look amazing with two levels of flowers in a room. But in terms of its function for growing vegetables, it definitely fits the bill.
The plastic is confirmed as being food grade and you don’t actually have to follow the configuration in the picture. Some people keep each level completely separate from one another, others cross over some of them and not others – it depends on your personal preference and what the plants need.
This planter also has drainage holes that you can keep plugged when it’s inside, just in case you plan to bring your vegetable plants outside during the warmer months.
17. Hydrofarm Tomato Trellis
This is a great idea if you’re looking to grow a tomato plant indoors, including the fact that this means that it will get a consistent amount of water, which tomatoes love.
If you prefer, you can set it up initially to be shorter than shown in the picture, then simply add levels to the supporting structure as your plant grows. The planter also has wheels on it so you’re able to move it around easily, like if you want to bring it closer to a window. Just keep in mind that it’s going to be pretty heavy when it’s full of water, so perhaps be a bit strategic about your moving schedule.
While it’s mentioned that you can plant up to three tomato plants in this, various reviewers mention how they only planted two or even one and still had plenty of tomatoes from this, so less may very well be more here.
18. Emsco Mobile Raised Grow Box
This is the perfect option if you live in, say, a smaller apartment as it lets you get all the benefits of growing fruit and veggies without the space that’s normally required for this. That means that this self-watering planter isn’t as big as the previous one, but that’s actually a good thing here.
It comes on four wheels, making it very mobile (which is great for light-hungry houseplants that need to be moved next to a window from time to time), and the plastic is confirmed as being food-safe.
Make sure you keep in mind that, like most of the best self-watering planters for indoor vegetable plants, you shouldn’t use this to grow from seed. Instead, it’s better to grow these in a tray and then transplant your new plants into a planter like this.
19. Tabor Tools Self-Watering Hanging Planter
The basket effect of this self-watering hanging planter for indoors looks really nice, as is the fact that you can get it in a range of colors. In fact, this can even double as a non-hanging planter, meaning you’re able to grow, say, flowers in it then bring it down to act as a table centerpiece.
But we’re all mainly here to make sure it works – and that it definitely does. It comes with a water level indicator so you can easily see when a drink is needed with one water refill lasting up to two weeks. This makes this planter excellent for someone who doesn’t have that much time to look after their houseplants.
The plant itself is actually put into an inner section that you can lift in and out easily, so it’s very easy to set up. You’ve also got a drainage hole with a plug you can remove if you’d like to put your hanging planters outside from time to time.
20. MyGift Wall Mountable Self-Watering Planter Pots (set of four)
These hanging self-watering planters for indoor plants not only look great, but they’re a really good idea if you’ve been wanting to grow succulents or herbs without wasting surface space.
People have commented that they’re great quality for the price, but it’s the overall look of these that makes them a great deal.
The water reservoir isn’t huge, so you will have to keep an eye on these from time to time to make sure there’s still enough water for your houseplants. Otherwise, though, these would be a great addition to any home where you’re looking to take advantage of wall space to feed your plant collection.
21. Sungmore Garden Self-Watering Hanging Planter
These are a super interesting, modern alternative to the more classic hanging self-watering planter you normally see, like the first one we mentioned. The eggshell shape immediately catches your eye, especially given that they come in a set of three.
There’s enough space in each one to grow slightly larger houseplants than you may expect, although it’s worth keeping in mind that they are relatively shallow. This means that they may not work for plants that need a bit more root space.
That said, various reviewers mention that they use this to grow plants such as spider plants, pothos, certain herbs, ivy and more, so you really can be pretty flexible here in terms of your houseplant choice.
What is a self-watering planter?
A self-watering planter provides an ongoing source of water to a plant, allowing the soil to absorb more moisture when it’s dry enough to need it. Once the water reservoir has been filled, the plant can drink as needed without the plant owner having to regularly water it.
The water reservoir also provides a handy way for plant owners to see when more water is needed. It also helps you to track how much water your plant is absorbing, which can be helpful if it seems to be drinking more or less than normal at any point, as this could be indicative of something else going on.
How often do you fill self watering pots?
Most self-watering pots only need to be filled every two to six weeks, depending on the size of the water reservoir, the plant you put in the pot and the design of the planter. Some, however, can last up to 12 weeks.
This one, for example, claims that it can last up to three months between refills. At the same time, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on even the best self watering pots for indoor plants to make sure your houseplant hasn’t inadvertently drunk more than usual.
Perhaps obviously, smaller plants will generally take longer than larger plants to use up all their water. The same advice applies though: make sure you check on these from time to time, just to ensure there’s still some water left.
Do self watering pots attract mosquitoes?
Self-watering pots can attract mosquitoes as they love to breed in still water. An easy solution is to add a couple of drops of oil into the water, which prevents them from breeding, or to buy a mosquito dunk, which can also help to deter black flies.
A mosquito dunk works by releasing a chemical into the water it’s placed in, which stops the water from becoming a mosquito breeding ground. It’s also got the added benefit of deterring black flies!
Are self watering planters good for indoor plants?
Self-watering planters are good for those indoor plants that like moisture, such as vegetables, tropical plants and annuals. You should be careful, though, that you’re keeping those plants that prefer moist soil sufficiently moist for their needs. It’s also important to avoid over-watering with self-watering pots, especially with houseplants susceptible to root rot.
This means though that self-watering planters are perfect for anyone who may not be home that often, including if you think you’ll be traveling for more than a few days at a time. They’re also great if you tend to forget to water your plants (hey, it happens) to avoid that all too familiar droop of thirst – or, worse, a completely unrecoverable plant.
What indoor plants are best in self watering pots?
In terms of what plants benefit from self-watering pots, these primarily include those that like moisture, such as vegetables, herbs, tropical plants and annuals. Certain flowers that like moist soil like Japanese irises and African violets, also do well here.
In particular, self watering pots for herbs are hugely popular at the moment. For these, the best herbs include basically all of the usual ones, such as basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, mint and parsley.
While herbs thrive in pots with good drainage, they also have to have sufficient moisture. This is why using a self-watering planter for your herbs can be perfect, as it ensures that they will get enough water without being drowned.
Are self watering pots good for peace lilies?
Self-watering pots can be good for peace lilies, given that these planters work well for ensuring consistent amounts of moisture. Given that most problems with peace lilies come from overwatering, make sure you use well-draining soil and don’t buy a pot that’s much bigger than the plant itself.
Having a bigger pot than the plant may need increases the chance of overwatering. While not every plant will care about this, given the peace lily’s sensitivity to this, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Are self watering pots good for succulents?
Self-watering pots are good for those succulents that need a sufficient amount of moisture to thrive. For any succulents that prefer a dry medium, like cacti, these pots may make the soil too moist and leave the succulents susceptible to root rot.
It’s best to check the information on your specific succulents to be sure whether or not it’s a good idea to put it in a self-watering planter. If you do, there are specific self-watering planters for succulents that can work really well – and look great too.
Can there be problems with self-watering pots?
Some self-watering pots can have problems for your plants if their design means that the soil ends up holding too much moisture. This can lead to issues such as root rot, a build-up of toxic minerals, or fungus and bacteria forming.
That can easily be solved by getting a self-watering planter that keeps the water separate from the soil, so that moisture is only being fed in when the soil becomes too dry.
You should also only fill your planter with well-draining soil, which also helps to avoid problems that can arise from your soil being waterlogged.
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Do self watering planters cause root rot?
Some self-watering planters can cause root rot if they’re designed in such a way that your soil can become too wet, such as if the planter allows the soil to absorb too much moisture or if there’s no overflow feature. In that situation, the waterlogged soil can lead to root rot.
This is why the best self-watering planters for indoor plants are designed so that the water reservoir is separate from the soil (in fact, this is how most of them are designed). This means that the soil will only absorb the water when it’s dry enough to do so.
There should also be no possibility of any overflowing water if your plants get too much water for some reason. Without this mechanism, the water can go into the soil and not be able to drain.
That said, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on your houseplants, even if they’re in a self-watering planter. This will help you to be sure that your plants are happy and thriving in whichever environment they find themselves in.
What soil is best for self watering planters?
It’s best to fill your self-watering planter with well-draining soil, as too much moisture can be an issue with these pots for certain plants. You can either buy a premade potting mix or mix a combination of peat or coconut coir with perlite, vermiculite and sand to encourage drainage.
Preparing the mixture to include in the wicking container of your self-watering planter isn’t complicated. All you have to do is the following:
- Combine well two parts peat and one part perlite (or just use this pre-mixed mixture) with one part vermiculite. Make enough of this mixture to fill the wicking container in your self-watering planter.
- Tightly fill the wicking container with this mixture, leaving around 1.5” at the top of the container.
- Add water to the filled wicking container until you start to see water draining from the bottom.
- Fill the top 1.5” of space with vermiculite.
- Continue following the instructions that come with your planter in terms of how to fill the soil chamber.
How do self watering planters work?
Self-watering planters work by a reservoir in the planter being filled with water. The soil that holds the plant is then able to wick the water as needed. When the roots have absorbed this water, the soil will dry out slightly, allowing it to wick more water and maintain a constant level of moisture.
This means that as long as you check the reservoir every now and then – which is usually done through looking at a water level indicator that sticks up out of the soil – and fill it as needed, adding some self watering pots for indoor plants to your collection means that watering your plants is largely taken care of for you.
How do you fill a self watering planter?
The process of filling a self-watering planter will depend on its design, although it generally involves putting water in the separate section of the pot that leads to the water reservoir. Don’t fill your planter by watering the soil directly except where the planter’s instructions tell you to do this for the first few weeks.
It’s best to check this with the instructions that will come with your self-watering planter so you know exactly how to do this – as well as how to check when it’s time to fill your self-watering planter again.
As an example of how to do this (which probably won’t be so different to the one you have), take a look at this video:
Do self watering planters need drainage holes?
Self-watering planters need drainage holes if you plan to keep yours outside at all, as this will allow excess water, such as if it receives rain in addition to moisture from its water reservoir, to drain out rather than causing the soil to become waterlogged.
If your planter will live inside sometimes, simply keep the plug in the hole until it’s moved outside, which some people like to do during summer.
However, if you intend to only keep your self-watering planter inside, keep the plug in or even skip limiting your search only to those planters with drainage holes. Otherwise, this can cause water to leak all over your floor – if it can even get any excess water inside anyway.
Final thoughts on the best self watering planters for houseplants
Using self-watering planters for your indoor plants can be a massive timesaver if you just don’t find yourself home enough to give your houseplants the love they need – or, and no judgment, you simply forget to do so.
While it’s true that not all self watering pots are good for indoor plants, especially in the case of those plants that prefer a drier home, for many of them, these planters offer just the environment these houseplants need to thrive. And when the solution to this is simply to check what plants are good for self-watering pots, it’s an easy question to solve.
In terms of what is the best self-watering planter for your houseplants, it’s going to depend on your specific needs. Are you growing succulents or vegetables? Do you plan to keep your herbs small or do you need a bigger pot for that beautiful Japanese iris? Whichever indoor plant you have and where you plan to display them will help to guide you in deciding which planter is best for you.