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DIY Self-Watering Planter

DIY Self-Watering Planter

Easy Directions for Making your own Pampering Planter

I always wanted to put a planter near my garage door, but I resisted knowing it wouldn’t be a happy spot for a plant;  the garage faces south and is in direct sun all day.  The highly reflective concrete, along with the white garage doors would just cook the poor thing in this scorching summer heat.   It also is in not a convenient spot for watering, so I knew a plant there would be doomed to a sure demise.

The only chance a plant would make it in this spot by the garage would be with constant monitoring and that was way too much trouble.  Self-watering planters pamper plants and could be an answer to my dilemma, so  I experimented with a homemade self-watering planter.

It was easy, here’s how I did it.

The idea of this homemade self-watering planter is to make a double pot with a water reservoir between the two. The water barrier’s function is two-fold: it protects the root ball from excessive heat and it slowly waters the soil as it permeates the inner planter.

Step 1 – Find 2 Nesting Planters

Find one large  planter, preferably with no drainage hole  &  one smaller terracotta clay pot that will fit into larger one.

In the demonstration photo above a resin planter with no drainage hole was used along with a porous, terracotta  clay pot.

If you prefer the look of terracotta and do not want to use a plastic pot, you can seal your larger clay pot  to make it non-porous.  Please read directions at the bottom of this post.

Seal pot tray to bottom of pot

Step 2 – Seal Drainage Hole

Your smaller, inside pot will be sitting in water; you don’t want all the soil to leach out into this water barrier.  Most likely your planter will have a hole on the bottom, seal the hole with a planter saucer.  Check to make sure the saucer you use will fit  into your larger pot before sealing.


Put weights on the pot trays to secure

This particular saucer was sealed upside down to give the smaller pot more height.  Put weights on top of the saucer and allow it to seal properly.  After this dries, add water to the pot and determine if the seal is holding.

Step 3.  Place Pot in Desired Location

Before adding the top soil, plants and water barrier, move the planter to its permanent location.  This pot will be very heavy to move once everything is added.


Step 4.  Get Ready to Plant

Add the potting soil

Now add your potting soil and plants. Water the inner pot to get the soil initially moist.  Add water to the area between pots and you are done!

Finished Planter

Planter update:

This planter has been sitting in direct, glaring sunlight for over three weeks now.  We’ve had record heat (108) and a persistent drought in the mid west this summer, contributing to the demise of two young trees and many wilted plants in our yard. Shrubs a few feet from this planter have been damaged by the intense heat, however this planter still is going strong.   The water reservoir has kept the soil consistently moist and has protected the delicate roots from over heating.   Best of all this planter takes care of itself!  Once a week I have checked the reservoir and added water. So easy. Yeah!




If you prefer to use a terracotta pot  for the larger outside pot instead of plastic or resin you’ll need to make it water-tight.   First, paint the inside of your larger clay pot, being sure to paint inside the drainage hole and the part of the saucer that shows through the hole.  Two light coats of paint should make it watertight.

Next, adhere the saucer  to the pot to seal the drainage hole with  a strong bonding agent and double seal outside edges of saucer with clear caulk .

After you have allowed it to dry, check to see if your planter is watertight by adding water to your planter.  If it leaks, try sealing again.


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