Self-watering planters can be a great helper in your plant care. There are some plants that are better suited for self-watering planters while other plants would be a big no-no.  I want to show you some great plants that are wonderful options for self-watering planters and talk a little about the do’s and don’ts

First off, these lovely planters were given to me by Emerging Green.  You can learn more about them and their mission on their website or check out the link in my show description.  I was interested in trying these planters because 1 they are a nice modern design that works well with my other pots and the overall aesthetic of my house…they are durable, super easy to set up and refill. 

Another thing that excites me about trying these planters is that I am a habitual underwaterer.  I always err on the side of underwatering and some of my plants suffer because of it.  Now underwatering is better than over, which is the risk with self-watering planters, but that is why we are going to discuss which plants can really flourish in a self-watering planter.

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I feel like you could really get away with most varieties as they all require watering about every week or couple of weeks and you can let the topsoil dry out and keep the middle soil moist and they will be happy.  If they are not happy they will tell you with droopy leaves, refill your reservoir or yellow leaves…it might be too much water and not enough sun.

African Violets

The African Violet is a great option for a self-watering planter because they need their soil to be constantly moist.  So use your African Violet soil mix…If you want to get fancy and make your own, go with 2 parts peat, one part vermiculite and one part perlite.  This also works well for a self-watering planter because when you water you want to be careful NOT to get the leaves wet which is hard when watering from the top. Give your African violet plenty of sun.  If it stops blooming it needs more sun.

Umbrella Palm

These are cool, upright plants.  They need a lot of sun and light and they are semi-aquatic so they love sitting in water.  In a self-watering planter these could be virtually set it and forget it.  Just make sure that the reservoir stays full.  You can grow these indoors and outdoor.  I personally love plants with upright growth.  Since it is aquatic, you cannot let it dry out!

Herb Gardens

Remember last year I think we did a homemade basil garden from seed under some grow lights with the wick and all that.  Well, these planters will be great for herb gardens.  Plants like basil cilantro and mint, will work well in a self-watering planter.  Other thoughts would be chives, parsley, marjoram.

Bird of Paradise

These plants like to have their soil evenly moist…they also like to be fertilized a lot during the growing season.  When I grow these outdoors I have them on a water drip line to keep their soil moist so if you are growing one indoors, you also need to keep them in HIGH light and evenly moist.


These are a great option for self-watering planters.  I would say that a ‘Birds Nest Fern’ is a good candidate because watering from the top can cause nest rot if you aren’t careful.  They are thirsty plants and love their soil evenly moist. If you love ‘Bostons’ or ‘Kim Queens’ or maybe an ‘East Indian Holly‘, try a self-watering planter.


These plants hate me because I don’t water them enough or consistently enough.  If you have ever gown Fittonia you’ll know one minute they are cute and lovely and then the next minute they are flopped over and wilting.  They can not dry out, so that makes them a great candidate for a self-watering planter.

Rex Begonia

Begonia rex requires consistently moist soil, but this is one of those that can be tricky.  You don’t want to overwater them.  So I feel like the begonia is one of those that would be great to do a trial run of and see how it goes, but I do think that with the proper lighting, they would do just find in a self-watering planter. Begonia propagation is also really simple and fun. Add a self-watering planter and you won’t have to worry about your cuttings going dry.

Monolena primuliflora

This plant is super interesting.  I stumbled upon it on the plant rescues shelf and thought it would be just perfect.  Unlike other caudex-type plants, this one needs to be constantly moist.  If you let it dry out just a little bit it will drop it’s leaves and go dormant.  For more on this plant, subscribe to my channel for my upcoming rescue video featuring Monolena primuliflora.

BONUS PLANT: Venus Fly Trap or Pitcher plant

These plants are found in bogs and swamps and things and they love sitting in water.  So if you are interested in these plants.  You should be, they are super cool but here are some quick tips and I’ll link to a more in-depth video below, but you have to use special soil.  For the Fly Trap use just sphagnum moss or plain peat moss and they can only drink distilled water. So they are cool, but they require unique care but keep the moss wet and they will be happy and they get all their needs from the bugs they consume.

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