Do Self-Watering Planters Cause Root Rot?

Self Watering Planters

Two of the major challenges of growing plants are overwatering or underwatering them. Some people might find it difficult to perfect the art of watering the plants and that is not acceptable for some sensitive plants.

Even when it’s set up and running there are still risks in using in a self-watering planter. You can use the right soil and set thing up well. However, a self-watering planter can’t be aware of changes in its surroundings. Hence it could lead to root rot.

Can Self-Watering Planters Cause Root Rot?

The short answer is yes. Even though you get it all set up and running and won’t mind doing the routine schedule of watering the plants, there are still risks involved in self-watering planters.

Those risks can be attributed to how you set it up and the soil you used. Remember, a self-watering planter does not mean they are conscious of what is happening in their surroundings.

To overwater a plant results in decreased oxygen levels in the soil causing damage to roots such as root rot and crowning. To underwater a plant, dries out the soil and the plant can’t absorb all the nutrients it needs leading to slow death.

Therefore, having a perfect setup and soil is crucial in using self-watering planters and they are not mutually exclusive.

First, the self-watering planter should have enough drainage holes. This is to help the excess water from the reservoir and soil drained out.

Moreover, it goes hand in hand with well-draining soil to maintain a moist environment and not a soggy one.

For well-draining soil, you should not use clay soil because they retain too much moisture which will lead to root rot.

The ultimate cause of root rot is waterlogging; therefore, you should use well-draining soil to prevent this from happening.

But what if you only have clay soil in your area, what should you do? You can still improve its drainage system by mixing it with perlite or coarse sand.

Just mix the two until you reach crumbly soil that does not clump together when you squeeze them.

Therefore, self-watering planters do not directly cause root rot. Although they can lead to such if the drainage holes and well-draining soil are overlooked.

Nevertheless, if both factors are well-considered, then you will not worry about root rot.

Pros and Cons of Self-Watering Planters

To really give you a deeper insight about self-watering planters, it is but fair to also discuss its pros and cons.

Pros Of Self-Watering Planters

Excellent For Indoor Plants

Self-watering planters are the best solution for most indoor plants such as tropical plants, annuals, and perennials.

It Is Convenient

If you did it right, you can ensure that your plants are well-watered and will have lush green glossy leaves as a sign of healthy growth. It also saves you a lot of time because you do not have to water them manually especially if you are a busy person.

Saves Time and Energy

The traditional watering method is very time-costly and exhausting especially if you have a lot of plants to water. Also, it drains your energy as well as using electricity which translates to expenses. With self-watering planters, it can save you the trouble of all these things.

No Nutrients Put into Waste

That is because plants will absorb water whenever they need it. Unlike the traditional method wherein you pour water on them, and a lot of nutrients get drained together with the excess water. For self-watering planters, that is not the case.

Encourage Deep Root Growth

While you may not notice it, self-watering planters helps roots to grow deep in the soil. A well-seated root means the plant is stable in the growing pot.

It Comes in Many Styles

The style of self-watering planters can also be considered a pro especially to someone who is quite particular when it comes to styles and designs. Just so you know, an elegant style of self-watering planters quickly elevates the overall profile of the plant.

Cons Of Self-Watering Plants

A Higher Price Point

Although it might save you some time and energy in the long run, you may still have to spend a good amount of money, depending on its style, to have self-watering planters. Still, you can opt for doing it yourself to save some extra cash.

Not Ideal for Humid Environments

If you live in an area with high humidity levels, using self-watering planters will only increase root rot. Humid environments also mean that the soil can retain moisture for a long time and will continue to retain it as the plant absorbs water from the reservoir.

Not Ideal for All Plants

Self-watering planters cannot sustain the needs of plants that are thirsty all the time. Even if they can access water from the bottom, it is not enough to properly soak the soil.

Can Be Dangerous If Not Done Properly

As a rule, always make sure to have a proper draining system so you don’t run with problems in the future. So, self-watering planters are not always safe.

Why Use Self Watering Planter?

When you overwater the plants, it results in the decrease of oxygen levels in the soil causing damage to the roots such as root rot and crowning.

On the other hand, if you underwater the plant, the soil will dry, and the plants could not absorb all the nutrients they need leading to their slow death.

As a result of this problem, a lot of growers became interested in self-watering planters because it just makes the job pretty much easy for them.

However, other people may find it odd at first and raise questions about whether or not it is effective, more particularly can it cause root rot?

Such a question is a valid one especially if someone is planning to start using self-watering planters.

Luckily, this article runs through important details regarding self-watering planters and settle the question of whether or not it causes root rot once and for all.

How Do Self-Watering Planters Work?

Ideally, self-watering planters are containers that hold a reservoir of water. Its design includes an inlet where the water will enter and a drainage system where the water exits the pot.

The reservoir can be made up of a saucer with a perforated top to sip the water upwards.

This whole new deal of self-watering planters revolutionized the traditional method of watering. At times, the traditional watering method is no longer ideal because nature says so.

Usually, a plant should be watered whenever they need it, and we simply have no direct contact with them to know whether or not they need water.

We rely on a routine schedule when watering the plants. But this does not save them from the risk of being overwatered or underwatered.

You will also need to put external factors such as temperature, weather, type of soil, and plant into account.

In other words, there is no guarantee if the plants are receiving enough water even though you water them on a routine schedule. Thus, the self-watering planters enter the scene to save the day.

In a nutshell, it works by putting initial water into the reservoir and letting the soil sip the water to moisten the area whenever the plant needs it.

Interestingly, self-watering planters perform what we call the “capillary action” wherein the water climbs up from the reservoir all the way to the plant through intermolecular forces between the soil and water.

That is, the soil comes on top of the reservoir to have direct access to the roots. The capillary action is also quite common among trees because that is the only way they can get water from the soil.

Basically, you put a reservoir of water in a pot and let the plant absorb water whenever they need it. This way, you can minimize, if not terminate, the risk of overwatering or underwatering the plants.

Final Thoughts

The above is a comprehensive overview of Self Watering Planters and if they cause root rot.

The unenviable decision of whether or not to implement them is yours.

Jenny Marie
Tribal Writer

Edited By
Patricia Godwin

Patricia Godwin

Patricia has many years of experience as a content writer on various subjects, but her first love is gardening. She’s never met a plant she didn’t like and, consequently, she writes about every type of plant you can think of. Once an avid gardener with a herb garden, a succulent rockery, and a rose garden – to mention a few. Nowadays, she’s constantly on the move searching for interesting plants to bring to your attention; and explain to you all the details you need to grow, care and maintain these plants.

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