2024’s Best Self-Watering Planters for Low-Maintenance Gardens, Tested

A self-watering planter will let you enjoy houseplants, herbs, and even vegetable plants without worrying about how much water to give them.

Best Overall

The HBServices USA Self-Watering Self-Aerating Plant Pot on a white background.

HBServices USA Self-Watering Self-Aerating Plant Pot

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Best Bang for the Buck

The Best Self Watering Planter Options: Bloem Ariana Self Watering Planter, 6"

Bloem Ariana Self-Watering Planter

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Best for Herbs

The Amazing Creation Windowsill Herb Planter Box 3-pack on a white background.

Amazing Creation Windowsill Herb Planter Box

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If you’re a plant lover but are afraid to own plants because you don’t have much time or might forget to water them, consider self-watering planters. These offer a convenient way to have an indoor garden with little maintenance. A planter water system allows aspiring gardeners to enjoy their plants, including vegetables and herbs, by doing the heavy lifting for them. These self-watering flower pots often use a reservoir of water and a wicking system to provide consistent moisture to a plant’s roots. We tested 10 self-watering plant pots from top manufacturers to help you make the best selection.

Although it may seem daunting at first (especially for newbie gardeners), picking the best self-watering planter doesn’t have to be complicated. Our top choice is the HBServices USA self-watering plant pot. It allows the plant to go for up to 2 weeks without needing to be watered, and it has an elevated design that promotes plant health. Read on to learn more about these innovative and convenient products, and discover why the following options earned a spot in this guide of the best self-watering planters available today. 

  1. BEST OVERALL: HBServices USA Self-Watering Self-Aerating Plant Pot
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bloem Ariana 6″ Self-Watering Planter
  3. BEST FOR HERBS: Amazing Creation Windowsill Herb Planter Box
  4. BEST WINDOW BOX: Lechuza Balconera Self-Watering Garden Planter
  5. BEST SPLURGE: easyplant Radiant Trinity
  6. BEST GARDEN BED: Vego Garden Self-Watering Garden Bed
  7. BEST HANGING BASKET: Zmtech Self-Watering Hanging Planters
  8. BEST FOR TOMATOES: Vego Garden Self-Watering Rolling Tomato Planter Pot
  9. BEST FOR INDOORS: Gardenix Decor Self-Watering Pots
  10. BEST FOR AFRICAN VIOLETS: Atri African Violet Self-Watering Ceramic Pot 
The Best Self-Watering Planter Options
Photo: Debbie Wolfe for Bob Vila

How We Tested the Best Self-Watering Planters

Over 4 weeks, we conducted a comprehensive evaluation of self-watering planters. We selected a variety of planters; some were intended for indoor use, and we placed houseplants in those models. The remaining planters were outdoor models intended for exposure to the elements, allowing us to determine their effectiveness in preserving moisture levels. 

We tested and rated each planter based on ease of assembly, mobility, and self-watering effectiveness. We used the appropriate potting soil to ensure the plants’ well-being and monitored the water levels every few days to ensure the plants received the optimal amount of water, neither too much nor too little. 

Throughout the testing period, we maintained a comprehensive record of each planter’s performance. These steps included noting any significant changes in moisture levels and plant growth and examining each planter’s durability and ability to withstand various weather conditions. 

Overall, our evaluation provided valuable insights into each of the self-watering planter’s efficiency, durability, and effectiveness in keeping plants healthy.

Testing Stats
Products tested
10
Hours spent testing10 hours testing, 1 month of observation/inactive testing
Tests performed 3
Price range $10 to $295 

Our Top Picks

From budget-friendly options to more sophisticated picks, these products are among the best self-watering planters on the market. One is sure to meet the needs of any plant lover looking for a convenient way to keep their plants healthy and thriving.

Best Overall

HBServices USA Self-Watering Self-Aerating Plant Pot

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Our Ratings: Use 5/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 5/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 4/5 

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 8 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Water-level indicator: No

Pros

  • Ensures the root zone is well aerated, preventing issues like root rot and promoting better plant health
  • Features a simple but elevated design suitable for various decor styles
  • Properly hydrates plants for up to 2 weeks

Cons

  • Lacks a water reservoir level indicator

This HBServices self-watering planter, which is available in several sizes, offers many features that make it our Best Overall pick. The pot’s water reservoir allows users to go for at least 2 weeks without watering the plants. It offers a lightweight and modern design and comes in several colors, including black, white, green, blue, and plum, to suit a host of decor.

Self-watering indoor planters like this model feature an elevated design that prevents the water from flooding the plant’s root system while circulating air within the soil to prevent mold growth. The pot also has a removable watering attachment that allows users to pour water directly into the reservoir. Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, this self-watering planter is an affordable option for plants, herbs, and vegetables.

We used the HBServices self-watering pot to hold a Lemon Meringue pothos. The plant requires average watering, but we keep it on a covered porch during the warmer months, causing us to sometimes overlook the plant for weeks before remembering to water it. This self-watering planter did provide the plant with enough water for 2 weeks. However, we were disappointed that it didn’t have a water reservoir indicator, so we couldn’t check the reserve level without removing the saucer.

Get the HBServices self-watering planter at Amazon.

Best Bang for the Buck

Bloem Ariana Self-Watering Planter

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Our Ratings: Use 4.3/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 4/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 4.3/5 

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 6.5 inches
  • Material: Plastic resin
  • Water-level indicator: No

Pros

  • Constructed from high-quality plastic; designed to be durable and resistant to the elements
  • Available in multiple colors to match various decor styles and preferences
  • Features optional knockout drainage holes for better water management

Cons

  • No removable tray or water reservoir level indicator

The Bloem self-watering planter is an affordable yet functional pick. It’s available in several colors and sizes to suit a variety of indoor and outdoor decor. The planter features a removable self-watering disk that operates as a wicking system to supply plants with the water they need to thrive. 

This planter has a simple design—it’s essentially a cache pot with a tray insert to help wick water. However, it lacks a water indicator or removable tray to determine the reservoir’s water level. We planted a scindapsus in the planter and monitored the soil’s moisture level. While we concluded that we could water the plant every 2 weeks, this time frame may vary depending on the surrounding environment. 

Overall, this self-watering planter is a sturdy and versatile option. While it has the ability to add drainage holes if desired, doing so will cause it to lose the self-watering capability. 

Get the Bloem self-watering planter at Amazon, The Home Depot (3-pack), or Menards.

Best for Herbs

Amazing Creation Windowsill Herb Planter Box

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Our Ratings: Use 5/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 5/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 4.5 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Water-level indicator: Yes

Pros

  • Ideal for small spaces and indoor gardens, enhancing accessibility for users who lack outdoor space
  • Crafted from high-quality plastic and available in trendy colors, providing both functionality and style
  • Versatile enough to grow a variety of plants, such as herbs, flowers, and succulents

Cons

  • Lacks extra moisture-wicking strips

This windowsill herb planter box by Amazing Creation is a practical and stylish option for garden enthusiasts who prefer to grow their herbs indoors or on a covered porch. This set of three planters features a modern self-watering system that ensures plants receive the optimal amount of moisture. Its design is also ideal for small spaces, as it fits perfectly on most windowsills. 

The planter features removable wicks that absorb water. These wicks are easy to slide into the slots at the bottom of the planter insert. We like that the planter’s water-level indicator window is visible without detracting from its stylish design. An integrated water-filling port that matches the planter allows you to seamlessly fill the planter without removing the insert. However, we wished the manufacturer had included extra wicking strips. We are not sure how long they are meant to last, but the user will have to replace them at some point. 

We also liked the compact nature of the planter, which is ideal for anyone with limited space. The base is only 3 inches wide, so it should fit on most window ledges or porch railings. This planter offers a great combination of functionality, ease of maintenance, and visual appeal. It is both durable and vibrant, making it a functional and decorative addition to any home.

Get the Amazing Creation self-watering planters at Amazon or Amazing Creation.

Best Window Box

Lechuza Balconera Self-Watering Garden Planter

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Our Ratings: Use 4.7/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 5/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 4.3/5 

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 7.5 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Water-level indicator: Yes

Pros

  • High-quality plastic construction offers durability against weather conditions
  • Clean lines and a contemporary look complement modern home decor
  • Specially formulated substrate enhances water and nutrient absorption for healthy plant growth

Cons

  • Planter is well designed yet notably pricey for its features
  • Hanging hardware required for installation on balconies must be purchased separately

The Lechuza self-watering planter is an attractive planter for indoor and outdoor use. It offers ample space for various plants, from herbs to flowering annuals. Its sleek and modern design in a matte white finish (among other colors) makes it an elegant addition to any setting, blending seamlessly with different decor styles. Constructed from high-quality and weather-resistant plastic, it promises durability and long-lasting use.

Two of the standout features of this self-watering planter are its ease of installation and low maintenance. It includes two inserts to simplify plant setup that you can easily remove for seasonal changes or plant maintenance. Additionally, the planter comes with a special substrate that you add to the base of the planter insert to help improve water-wicking ability and nutrient absorption. While we could not tell whether our plants looked better using the substrate, it may prove to be a valuable addition as the plants continue to grow. 

The planter also supports brackets at the base, allowing you to install it on a rail or balcony. However, the hanging hardware is not included and is a separate purchase. While we think this self-watering planter is well designed, it is on the pricier side, particularly because users will need to purchase the hanging hardware separately. 

Get the Lechuza self-watering planter at Amazon.

Best Splurge

easyplant Radiant Trinity

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Our Ratings: Use 5/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 5/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 4/5 

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 4.5 inches (S), 7.5 inches (M), 10.5 inches (L)
  • Material: Plastic and ceramic
  • Water-level indicator: Yes

Pros

  • Plants arrive in easy-to-open packaging, ready for immediate placement and enjoyment without additional setup
  • Sleek planters match well with the low-light plants, offering a modern aesthetic
  • Water reservoir access camouflages with the soil, ensuring a seamless design

Cons

  • Lacks a water reservoir indicator, making it difficult to determine when to refill

The easyplant Radiant Trinity is a selection of low-light indoor plants with attractive self-watering planters. It includes the ZZ plant, heart-leaf philodendron, and snake plant, all known for their durability and minimal care requirements.

We ordered a variety of plants in the mail, and the easyplant Radiant Trinity was the best-packed mail-order plant set we received. We appreciated the sparse use of plastic packaging, and the foliage was undamaged with no soil shifting in the box. Due to the self-watering feature, the plants arrived healthy and have continued to thrive with little intervention. 

The self-watering feature is integrated into the planter. It is accessible through a removable plastic cover at the soil level that’s perfectly camouflaged. However, since the planters lack a water-level indicator, it can be difficult to determine when to refill them. According to easyplant, once you fill the reservoir, you should only have to water once a month. So far, that claim has proven to be true.

The aesthetic appeal of this planter set is also a noted benefit. It seamlessly integrates into various home decor styles, providing a touch of green sophistication. This trio does come at a premium price. Nonetheless, it’s perfect for any occasion on which you want to spoil a plant lover. 

Overall, the easyplant Radiant Trinity is a commendable option for indoor gardeners looking for a stress-free solution to enhance their living space with greenery. The self-watering system, ease of care, and robust nature of the included plants make it a worthwhile investment.

Get the easyplant self-watering planters at easyplant.

Best Garden Bed

Vego Garden Self-Watering Garden Bed

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Our Ratings: Use 4.3/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 5/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 4.6/5 

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 2 feet
  • Material: Metal
  • Water-level indicator: No

Pros

  • Suitable for various plants, including vegetables, herbs, and flowers, enhancing gardening flexibility
  • Constructed from durable and corrosion-resistant metal, and available in 4 color options
  • Offers multiple configurations to suit different gardening needs and preferences

Cons

  • Features a partially closed system, allowing water to seep from the container’s bottom
  • Lacks a water-level indicator, making it difficult to assess reservoir water levels

The Vego Garden self-watering garden bed is an excellent choice for gardeners who want large self-watering planters. Vego Garden is known for its durable and corrosion-resistant raised garden beds and has now introduced a line of self-watering planters designed to withstand outdoor elements.

This garden bed is identical to Vego’s other metal raised beds but has a removable wicking cell system. The system ensures that plants receive the correct amount of moisture by drawing water from a reservoir at the bottom. The 3.5-inch-tall wicking cell sits in a reservoir that collects excess water and distributes it to the plants over time. Unlike Vego Garden’s raised beds, which can be time-consuming to assemble, the wicking cells require no assembly and are ready to insert into the bed upon unboxing.

The self-watering outdoor planter allows you to go a few extra days between watering without the need for a drip irrigation system. However, the water retention depends on environmental factors as it is an outdoor planter. Although Vego Garden claims the planter is safe to use on patios and decks, it’s a partially closed container garden system. Excess water that overflows the reservoir will seep through, so if you want to use it on a patio or deck, there is potential for decay or moisture damage. Overall, we love the sleek design of the planter, and it makes a fun addition to our patio garden.

Get the Vego Garden self-watering planter at Vego Garden.

Best Hanging Basket

Zmtech Self-Watering Hanging Planters

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Our Ratings: Use 5/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 5/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 8 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Water-level indicator: Yes

Pros

  • Minimalist style and various sizes make these planters adaptable to multiple indoor decor themes
  • Features a visible water level tray, simplifying water monitoring and maintenance
  • Combines practicality with aesthetics thanks to the durable hanging chain and stylish pot design

Cons

  • Planters may leak if overwatered, necessitating careful water management

Hanging planters can be a great way to utilize space, but watering them can be challenging. Fortunately, the Zmtech self-watering hanging planters offer a practical and stylish solution to make watering a breeze. This set of two self-watering pots features a visible water level tray that allows users to easily monitor the water reservoir, ensuring plants receive the perfect amount of moisture without any guesswork.

These planters are constructed from durable materials and are noted for their sturdy build and high-quality hanging chain, making them suitable for indoor and outdoor use. The minimalist style and matte finish lend a modern touch to any decor, creating a beautiful addition to any room or balcony. The planters also include a removable base tray, which is handy if you overwater.

We found almost everything about these hanging planters to be excellent. Their simple style and lightweight design make them versatile and a cinch to hang. The only downside is that if you overwater the plants, water will seep from the bottom tray seam, which you must remove to drain. However, you can avoid a leaky mess by monitoring the water level in the reservoir indicator. If you’re looking for a functional and elegant gardening solution, the Zmtech hanging planters are an ideal option. 

Get the Zmtech self-watering planters at Amazon.

Best for Tomatoes

Vego Garden Self-Watering Rolling Tomato Planter Pot

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Our Ratings: Use 4.7/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 5/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 15 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Water-level indicator: Yes

Pros

  • Equipped with wheels, allowing easy movement to optimize sunlight exposure or rearrange garden spaces
  • Includes a built-in trellis that supports vertical growth of climbing plants, ideal for maximizing space in small areas
  • Designed for both indoor and outdoor use

Cons

  • May be more expensive than traditional pots, reflecting its advanced features and materials

The self-watering rolling tomato planter from Vego Garden is an excellent solution for gardeners who want to grow tomatoes and other climbing vegetables at home. This self-watering plant system ensures plants get the right amount of moisture for optimal growth, eliminating the need for daily watering. The sturdy trellis included in the planter supports vertical growth, making it perfect for small spaces like balconies and patios.

Tomatoes need at least 6 hours of full sun exposure daily and consistent moisture for optimal growth. We think the planter’s mobility is a game changer: It has rolling wheels that enable gardeners to move their plants effortlessly to capture the best sunlight or protect them from harsh weather. This feature is especially beneficial for renters or those who frequently rearrange their outdoor spaces. We planted two small tomato varieties in the planter and kept them inside until the warm weather arrived, allowing us to give our tomatoes a head start on the season.

While the planter requires only minor assembly, the trellis does take a fair amount of time to assemble and can be tedious. Overall, however, we highly recommend this product for its convenience, mobility, and ability to support healthy plant growth, making it a valuable addition to any gardener’s tool kit.

Get the Vego Garden self-watering planter for tomatoes at Amazon or Vego Garden.

Best for Indoors

Gardenix Decor Self-Watering Pots

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Our Ratings: Use 5/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 5/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 5/5 

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 7 inches
  • Material: Plastic
  • Water-level indicator: Yes

Pros

  • Water-level indicator simplifies plant maintenance by removing the guesswork from watering
  • Suitable for a variety of plant types, including indoor flowers and succulents
  • Available in multiple sizes and styles to match different decor and space needs

Cons

  • The water-level tube might be too prominent for some shorter plant varieties

Consider starting your gardening journey with this three-pack of affordable self-watering pots from Gardenix Decor. These pots are ideal for small indoor plants. Each pot includes a water- level indicator and a pH-balanced coco coir that helps keep plants hydrated for up to 2 weeks. 

The water-level indicator makes it easy to determine when to refill the reservoir. Initially, we thought this 3-inch water tube was an eyesore and would be distracting. However, the tube was mostly inconspicuous once the plant was in the planter, although it may stand out more with a short-growing plant variety. We could stretch our watering out for nearly 2 weeks before needing to refill the planter.

These self-watering plant containers are designed to complement any home decor and come in various colors. We like that they are functional, aesthetically pleasing, and fit perfectly on desks or shelves. Additionally, the coco coir growing medium helps control moisture and provides essential nutrients to the plants, promoting healthier growth and bloom.

Get the Gardenix Decor self-watering planters at Amazon.

Best for African Violets

Atri African Violet Self-Watering Ceramic Pot

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Our Ratings: Use 5/5; Durability 5/5; Effectiveness 5/5; Appearance 5/5; Value 4.7/5

Product Specs 

  • Planter width: 6.5 inches
  • Material: Ceramic
  • Water-level indicator: No

Pros

  • A 2-pot ceramic design ensures steady, consistent moisture for African violets
  • Keeps foliage dry, reducing the risk of fungal diseases
  • Ceramic material and a stylish design add a decorative, practical element to home decor

Cons

  • More expensive than traditional pots, making it a significant investment

African violets are known for their specific watering requirements, thriving best when watered from below. The Atri African violet ceramic pot is ingeniously designed to meet this need while offering functionality and aesthetic appeal. This pot is particularly beneficial for African violet enthusiasts seeking a reliable and attractive solution for their plant care.

The design of the Atri pot consists of two components: an inner pot and an outer water reservoir. The inner pot, crafted from porous ceramic, permits water to gradually soak through, ensuring even moisture distribution without wetting the foliage. This is crucial, as damp leaves can lead to fungal infections. The outer pot, made of glazed ceramic, serves as a reservoir, providing a steady water supply directly to the roots and maintaining optimal hydration levels essential for the plant’s health and vibrancy.

During testing, the Atri pot lived up to our expectations. When we planted a 6-inch African violet, the pot effectively maintained the plant’s hydration for nearly 3 weeks without additional watering. The plant remained healthy and vibrant, demonstrating the pot’s capability to regulate moisture efficiently—vital for preventing both overwatering and underwatering. 

The Atri pot is not just a tool; it’s also a guardian of your plant’s health. While the price point may be a concern for shoppers with multiple African violet plants, the reassurance it brings about your plants’ well-being could easily justify the investment.

Get the Atri self-watering planter at Amazon or Atri.

Jump to Our Top Picks

What to Consider When Choosing a Self-Watering Planter

Shoppers will want to consider several important features when searching for a self-watering planter, including how much water it can hold (allowing you to extend the time between watering the plant) and how many plants you’d like to keep in it. These shopping considerations, in addition to a few others, are outlined below. 

Number of Plants 

If you plan to keep numerous plants in one self-watering planter, such as herbs, consider the shape and size of the planter. Horizontal elongated planters can display several plants in one pot, while smaller vertical pots can be better for a single houseplant or vegetable plant. 

Some self-watering planters may be smaller but still have the potential to accommodate an arrangement of plants. Whether big or small, the ideal size of a planter depends on the type of plants you’d like to grow. While some plants need room to grow, others—such as snake plants—prefer to be snug in their surroundings.

Water Content

Depending on the design, self-watering planters can hold more or less water. The reservoir, located at the bottom of the planter, holds the water supply. You will need to fill it initially and then continually top it off to keep the plant happy and healthy. 

Some self-watering planters include a water gauge that will note how full the reservoir is and when you need to fill it. If you plan on traveling or know you’re a forgetful gardener, having a larger reservoir or one that can go weeks without needing additional water may be convenient.

Material

The material of a self-watering planter can impact both its design and durability. Most models are made of plastic, which can be durable enough for both indoor and outdoor use. Plastic planters also tend to match various styles and are easier to clean and transport than ceramic planters. Keep in mind that even if the planter isn’t made of plastic, the inner pot—which keeps the plant from touching the water supply—may be.

Tube Lengths

Self-watering planters typically have “tubes” that are part of a platform designed to keep the plant and soil separate from the water reservoir. The length of these tubes may impact the plant size. For example, if the tubes are 2 inches long and the pot is 5 inches high, that offers 3 inches for healthy plant growth. 

Most tubes are designed to be shorter to minimize their impact on the plant’s growing room. Even so, tube lengths are worth looking into—especially if you’re hoping to grow larger plants or have a plant that you’ll eventually need to transplant.

Drainage Holes

Not every self-watering planter has drainage holes, so if a plant needs proper drainage to be healthy, a planter with a built-in drainage system may work best. If you’re unsure of what you prefer, some planters come with plugged drainage holes that you can open or close depending on the situation.

Regarding the plant’s soil, some self-watering planters may have better drainage features than others. Depending on the plant and the design of the planter, drainage can be an essential factor to consider.

FAQs 

You may have some additional questions about getting started with a new self-watering planter. Here are several of the most frequently asked questions and answers about these innovative and convenient products for plant lovers.

Q. How do you set up a self-watering planter?

The specific brand will have instructions, but most planters are easy to assemble and consist of an inner and an outer container that fit together to create the self-watering system.

Q. Can you use self-watering planters both indoors and outdoors?

It depends on the planter. If the planter is for outdoor use, it’s recommended that it includes drainage holes to prevent the plants from becoming saturated.

Q. Do self-watering planters cause roots to rot?

A self-watering planter will not cause the roots to rot when it’s used correctly. On the contrary, these planters keep roots away from standing water while wicking moisture into the soil, delivering just the right amount of moisture to the plants.

Q. Can you overwater a plant in a self-watering planter?

A self-watering planter is designed to provide the necessary moisture level for the plant, but overwatering can still occur. This is particularly true if the soil holds on to too much water or the planter’s water reservoir is too full.

Q. Do self-watering pots attract mosquitoes?

Self-watering pots can attract mosquitoes due to the stagnant water in their reservoirs.

Meet the Tester

Debbie Wolfe is a photographer, author, and freelance writer in various niches. She has contributed hundreds of home, garden, and crafting articles and DIY tutorials for leading media outlets and retailers, including HGTV, Real Simple, Forbes Advisor, The Spruce, The Home Depot, Walmart, and Mother Earth News. She is the author of two DIY books: Do-It-Yourself Garden Projects and Crafts and Crafting with Herbs from Skyhorse Publishing. Her testing approach is straightforward and budget-minded. 

Additional research provided by Jenn Ryan.

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Debbie Wolfe

Contributing Writer & Editor

Debbie Wolfe is a freelance writer, photographer, and author who specializes in a variety of fields. She’s been contributing to BobVila.com since March of 2020 but has been writing in the home and garden industry for 10 years. Debbie covers all topics pertaining to home, gardening, and food, and she has published hundreds of DIY tutorials with step-by-step photography for leading home and garden media outlets.

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