The Best Self-Watering Planters for Low-Maintenance Gardens

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

By Jenn Ryan | Updated Jan 25, 2021 12:21 PM

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The Best Self Watering Planter Option


Self-watering planters offer a convenient way to have an indoor garden with little maintenance. If you’re a plant-lover but are terrified of owning plants because you’re scared that you’ll forget to water them, you may want to invest in a self-watering planter. Self-watering planters allow aspiring gardeners to enjoy their plants, including vegetables and herbs, by doing the heavy lifting for you. Self-watering planters use a reservoir of water and a wicking system that provides consistent moisture to a plant’s roots.

Although it may seem daunting at first (especially for newbie gardeners), picking the best self-watering planter is simple. To help you out, take a look at the following list of some of the best self-watering planters on the market.

  1. BEST OVERALL: HBServices USA 8” Self-Watering High Drainage Planter
  2. BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bloem Ariana Self Watering Planter, 6″
  3. BEST FOR VEGETABLES: Santino 10.6 Inch Self Watering Planter
  4. BEST WINDOW BOX: Lechuza 15680 Balconera Self-Watering Garden Planter
  5. BEST OUTDOOR: Lechuza Cubico Self-Watering Garden Planter
  6. BEST FOR BEGINNERS: Gardenix Decor 7” Self Watering Planters
The Best Self Watering Planter Option


Shopping Considerations for Choosing the Best Self-Watering Planter

There are a few important features to consider when searching for a self-watering planter—such as how much water it can hold (which allows you to go for longer without 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 planter, such as herbs, consider the shape and the size of the planter. Horizontal elongated planters can be better for displaying several plants in one pot, while smaller vertical pots can be better for a single houseplant or vegetable plant.

Some planters may be smaller in size 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, planters can hold more or less water. The reservoir, which is located at the bottom of the pot, holds the plant’s water supply. The reservoir is filled up initially and continually topped off in order to keep the plant happy and healthy.

Some self-watering planters come with a water gauge that will note how full the reservoir is and when it needs to be filled. Others will explain how long it can typically go without watering. If you plan on traveling or know that you’re a forgetful gardener, having a larger water reservoir or one that can go weeks without needing any water added may be convenient.


The material of a self-watering planter can impact both its design and durability. Most are made of plastic, which can be durable enough for both indoor and outdoor use. Plastic planters also tend to match with a variety of styles and are easier to clean and transport than ceramic planters. 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” which are part of a platform that’s designed to keep the plant and soil separate from the water reservoir. The length of these tubes may matter with regard to the plant size. For example, if the tubes are 2 inches in length 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 you currently have a plant that needs to be transplanted.

Drainage Holes

Not every self-watering planter comes with 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 want, some planters come with plugged drainage holes that can be open or closed depending on the situation.

When it comes to the plant’s soil, some self-watering plants 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.

Our Top Picks

From budget-friendly options to more sophisticated picks, these self-watering planters are among the best on the market.

Best Overall

The Best Self Watering Planter Options: HBServices USA 8” Self-Watering High Drainage Planter

This self-watering pot, which is available in several sizes, has many features that make it a great overall pick. Each pot has a water reservoir that allows users to go a minimum of two weeks without watering the plants. There are a variety of colors, including a basic black, white, green, blue, and plum.

The elevated design of this planter will prevent the plant’s root system from being flooded while allowing the plant’s soil to get proper air circulation to prevent mold growth. This pot also comes with a removable watering attachment that allows users to pour water directly into the reservoir.

Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, this self-watering pot is an affordable option for plants, herbs, and vegetables.

Best Bang for the Buck

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

Bloem’s self-watering planter is an affordable yet functional pick. It’s available in a wide variety of colors and sizes, and each of its tubes is designed to be filled with soil to initiate a wicking system that helps keep plants supplied with the water they need to thrive.

This pot doesn’t have drainage holes, however the manufacturer includes areas on the bottom marked with an “X” to make it easy to drill drainage holes.

One advantage of this pot is that the reservoir is hidden inside, meaning it looks like a typical pot from the outside. The reservoir can hold up to 3.5 inches of water, depending on the size of the planter.

Best for Vegetables

The Best Self Watering Planter Options: Santino 10.6 Inch Self Watering Planter

Ideal for vegetables, this planters is available in a range of sizes—measuring from 7.1 inches to 12.6 inches. There are also nine creative colors.

This planter’s self-watering system consists of an inner and an outer pot—the inner pot contains drainage holes to keep the soil properly drained, preventing the plant’s roots from sitting in water. It also has a clear viewing window to easily check the water level of the reservoir.

With this planter, plants stay watered for up to four weeks, meaning veggies can stay healthy even throughout a vacation. Great for indoor or outdoor use, these self-watering pots make growing vegetables as low-maintenance as it gets.

Best Window Box

The Best Self Watering Planter Options: Lechuza 15680 Balconera Self-Watering Garden Planter

Great for a window box or balcony, this pick from Lechuza has advantageous features for effortless outdoor planting. Measuring a generous 31 inches by 7 inches by 7 inches, this planter allows users to go up to 12 weeks without watering the plants and comes in four different color options.

One downside to this product is that it doesn’t come with brackets, which can be purchased separately from the manufacturer to hang the planter on the outside of a home or balcony.

This planter has a water level indicator to easily see when the reservoir needs additional water. The planter also comes with a plant substrate, which helps deliver nutrients to plants with optimum soil aeration.

Best Outdoor

The Best Self Watering Planter Options: Lechuza Cubico Self-Watering Garden Planter

Ideal for an outdoor space, Lechuza offers a tall planter that can accommodate one plant or multiple plants, depending on the size of the plants. This planter comes with an easy-to-lift liner, and plants will stay watered for up to 12 weeks.

This planter is made of frost- and UV-resistant material to prevent damage to the pot. It also has a drainage plug, which makes this planter more suitable for large outdoor plants when compared with other planters. It also has a water level indicator which makes it easy to know when it’s time to add water to the reservoir. These planters come in three colors and sizes ranging from 16 inches to 30 inches tall.

Best for Beginners

The Best Self Watering Planter Options: Gardenix Decor 7” Self Watering Planters

Start small with this affordable pot from Gardenix Decor. It’s not too big or too small, and it allows users to go up to two weeks without watering the plants. It also includes a water level indicator and pH-balanced coco coir, which makes it easy to use for those who are new to gardening.

The size of this pot makes it a great planter for herbs, flowers, and indoor plants (including succulents) or even for starting vegetables for a garden. However, these pots are not recommended for outdoor use, as they don’t have drain holes.

FAQs About Self-Watering Planters

If you have questions about getting started with your new self-watering planter, we have answers. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions and answers about self-watering planters.

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

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

Q. Can self-watering planters be used both indoors and outside?

It depends on the planter. If the planter is outdoors, it’s recommended to use a planter that comes with drain holes to prevent the plants from being saturated.

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

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