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Best Self Watering Planters: Comprehensive Guide

Traditional gardening can be fun, but it can also be an exercise in failure for those of us without a green thumb.

But thanks to some modest advancements in gardening technology, we now have some viable alternatives to diving deep into the dirt.

Self-watering planters generally have two separate containers, one container encapsulates the other; the innermost container holds the nutrients (often fiber soil or coconut coir) and the outer container acts as an artificial reservoir.

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Self Watering Planters Comparison Chart

Mayne Fairfield Patio Planter Mayne Fairfield 5825B Patio Planter product imagePatio Planter.
Plastic Build.
T4U 6 Inch Plastic Self Watering PlanterT4U 6 Inch Plastic Self Watering Planter product imagePot Planter.
Polypropylene & Plastic.
Lechuza Cubico Color 30 Self-Watering Garden PlanterLechuza Cubico Color 30 Self-Watering Garden Planter product imageGarden Planter.
Polypropylene & Plastic.

7 inch Self Watering Planter7 inch Self Watering Planter front view imagePot Planter.
Polypropylene & Plastic.

Aquaphoric Herb Garden TubAquaphoric Herb Garden TubTub Planter.
Polypropylene & Plastic.

Aquaphoric Self Watering PlanterAquaphoric Self Watering Planter front viewPot Planter.

Self Watering Planters – The Benefits

A few key benefits of self-watering planters:

  1. Self-watering – most self-watering planters use a water/nutrient reservoir and a water level indicator that lets you know when to refill the tank.
  2. Most units can be used indoors or outdoors; self-watering planters are highly versatile – they look great in any space.
  3. Work well as decorations: Available in every shape and size imaginable, I haven’t come across a single bad looking self-watering planter.
  4. Easy to set up: Most units take less than 5 minutes to set up thanks to minimal designs.
  5. Can grow most plants, herbs, and perennials.

Self Watering Planter Design

self watering planters specs. diagram

Different Growing Mediums

The majority of self-watering planters use one of three different growing mediums:

  1. Coconut Coir: is a fibrous material that is torn straight from coconut shells. It provides excellent water retention and plenty of space for aeration while also maintaining a consistent pH balance between 5.2 – 6.8. Coconut coir still requires additional nutrients because – like with other growing mediums – pH balance tends to fluctuate over time.
  2. Fiber Soil: is an improved iteration of traditional soil. It provides an extraordinary level of water absorption while maintaining fairly neutral pH levels.
  3. Soil: is… well, soil. It’s a combination of various minerals and organic matter that is required for the growth of plants. One could say that soil is a ‘traditional’ growing medium.

Best Self-Watering Planters

After testing for build quality, design, ease of use, and grow quality, we picked our favorite 6 self-watering planters.

1. Mayne Fairfield Patio Planter

Mayne Fairfield product review front view
front view of the Mayne Fairfield

Bigger isn’t always better, but in the case of self-watering planters, I like em’ big!

Here’s what the Mayne Fairfield has to offer:

  • 20 X 20 X 20 inches of planting space.
  • A high-quality polyethylene exterior that requires no upkeep (as opposed to wood) and looks fantastic.
  • Easy self-watering technology – this includes a double-wall design – one for the nutrient reservoir, the other for the water.
  • Weather-proof.

Best Plants for this Planter: Begonias and Geraniums.

2. T4U 6 Inch Plastic Self Watering Planter

T4U 6 Inch Plastic Self Watering Planter product image front view

I just mentioned that I love larger planters, but I can’t hate on pot planters.

… and I’m not saying pot planters as in planters for growing pot; we’re talking about the shape here people!

Here’s what the T4U has to offer:

  • Self-watering… we’ve gone over this!
  • An easy to read protruding water level indicator.
  • A pack of 4 pots!
  • Plenty of space in the reservoir for roots.
  • Beautiful & slick design.

A few notes:

Unfortunately, this planter doesn’t come with coconut coir or fiber soil, you have to use that boring old natural stuff instead… and it’s sold separately.

Also, you have to make sure that the water level indicator is firmly planted to the bottom of the pot. If not, it won’t work… In fact, the water indicator is fairly flimsy – this is perhaps the worst aspect of this unit.

Best Plants for this Planter: African Violets, most herbs, and Succulents.

3. Lechuza Cubico Color 30 Self-Watering Garden Planter

Lechuza Cubico Color 30 Self-Watering Garden Planter for Indoor and Outdoor Use front view

Alright… back to large planters.

The Lechuza Cubico Color has a classic shape that looks great on the porch or patio.

Here’s what the Lechuza has to offer:

  • Easy to access drainage plug.
  • Firm, well built water-level indicator.
  • Frost and weather-resistant polypropylene plastic exterior.
  • Self-watering system uses granulate compounds for optimal watering; this unit also comes with a unique plant substrate that separates soil from the planting reservoir.
  • Easy to access liner for planting.

Best Plants for this Planter: Just about anything you can fit in it!

4. 7 inch Self Watering Planter with Fiber Soil Indoor Outdoor Home Garden

Self Watering Planter with Fiber Soil Indoor Outdoor Home Garden

How about some mid-size planters?

This unit is available with one of my favorite traditional soil alternatives: coconut coir.

Here’s what the 7 inch Self Watering Planter has to offer:

  • 6 quarts of coconut coir soil!
  • A durable plastic exterior.
  • An easily accessible water level indicator.

5. Aquaphoric Herb Garden Tub

I usually avoid tub seeders: they generally require more water, they look a little awkward/unnatural as opposed to pot planters for indoor use, and they seem to be less reliable than pot planters for long-term growth; I think this is because tub planters usually don’t provide enough space for plant roots to aerate.

With that being said, this unit is pretty good.

Here’s what the Aquaphoric Herb Garden Tub has to offer:

  • Sturdy water level indicator.
  • Uses fiber soil.
  • Sleek design for a tub planter.

6. Aquaphoric Self Watering Planter

This Aquaphoric unit is a great mid-size planter that looks great in the home and grows all sizes of plants and herbs with minimal effort needed.

Here’s what the Aquaphoric Self Watering Planter has to offer:

  • 2 quarts of fiber soil.
  • Easy to read and very stable water level indicator.
  • Inexpensive! It’s less than $20 w/ a nice 30-day refund policy.

Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for new posts weekly.