If you enjoy having live plants around your house but struggle to remember to water them, watering globes may be the solution. But, you might be wondering, “Do plant watering globes work?” After all, there are various plant watering globes on the market, but not all of them should be used for all types of plants.
The truth is, these products will help keep your plants alive and relieve you of the stress of remembering to water them regularly. They work if you plan to be gone on vacation for several days or just need your regular watering to be easier. Read on to learn more about how they work and what type you need based on the type of plants you own.
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Plant Watering Globes
As a busy person, remembering to water your plants can easily slip your mind. Watering globes can be an effective option for keeping plants watered when you forget or are away from home. However, they are not suitable for all plants or situations.
Water globes go by various names, including aqua globes, watering spikes, or watering bulbs. These globes are filled with water and then release water over time to keep your plants enjoying a steady water supply.
It is important to think about your typical watering pattern when considering whether a self-watering globe will work. Is this a plant that you need to water needs regularly? Should the soil stay moist, or does it need to dry out before it is watered again? That’s why watering globes won’t work for all plants, as some do best without the constant moisture.
The best watering globes are glass globes. But unfortunately, this means that they are fragile and easily broken. For this reason, watering globes are most effective indoors, where you do not have to worry about strong winds, squirrels, or stray animals knocking them over.
Different sizes of watering globes will last different lengths of time. Some manufacturers report their globes providing between one to two weeks of water. However, that is not everyone’s experience.
Before relying solely on watering globes to keep your plants alive while you are gone for several days, it is better to do a few trial runs. That way, you’ll learn how well they work for different plants you have. You can then tune their use based on the types of plants you have, the temperature and humidity of the area, and other factors.
The design behind these self-watering apparatuses is simple, but it works. If you have numerous plants that need watering regularly, installing glass watering globes may cut down on time spent on this chore. It will also help keep the soil moist between waterings.
What is a watering globe for plants?
They make most watering globes out of blown glass, designed as one piece with a ball-shaped sphere on the top and a long, hollow stem sticking down. They retain the water in the globe, which then flows into the plant’s soil. Over time, the water will pass through the stem of the watering globe and into your plant’s soil.
Alternatively, outdoors you can aim for a rain garden for a more natural watering system.
When do you use a watering globe for plants?
You can use watering globes for plants that like continually moist soil, especially if you will be gone for many days and unable to water them traditionally. However, they are best suited for indoor plants. The plant’s soil type will be another key determinant in whether it is a good idea to use a watering globe. You may also want to look into some gardening supplies.
In addition, self-watering globes are designed to release water slowly. Therefore, they are ideally used for potted plants, not a garden.
How do watering globes work?
Watering globes are low-tech. There is no mechanical apparatus or electronic component in them. So how does the water not just drain out immediately?
Water is released from the watering globe when air displaces the water inside. When you place the stem in the soil, a vacuum is formed inside the globe (1). This slows the water down and keeps it from pouring out all at one time. There is also the soil around the opening of the watering globe’s stem, which helps stop it.
When the soil dries out, air can enter the globe. This prompts a small amount of water to drip out.
How to fill watering globes?
To fill a watering globe, you will have to pour water into the base of the stem. This will require holding the watering globe upside down to lower the globe part than the stem.
To make it easier to pour the water into the narrow stem, try using a cup with a lip or a measuring cup with a lip. Alternatively, you can put the globe under the sink faucet. However, keep in mind that it will probably make a mess as the water spills out the sides because the stem is so narrow.
You want to add enough water to fill the bulb of the watering globe and about half of the stem. Try using a low stream of water or pour slowly to ensure you do not overfill the watering globe. If you notice too much water is in it, tip it over and pour some out before inserting it into your plant’s soil.
How to install a watering globe for your plant
You must install the watering globe carefully, as the stem can be fragile. Also, to help prevent clogging, you should install the self-watering bulbs right away.
You want to avoid soil clogging up the stem. For this reason, create a small opening where you plan to insert the globe. You can easily do this by poking a pencil, a knitting needle, or another slender object into the soil to create a hole. This will prevent the watering globe’s stem from getting clogged with soil when you are first installing it.
Now you are ready to insert the watering globe. If you find that the globe is too top-heavy to stand up, you need a deeper hole. The best solution is to take the globe out, dig a deeper hole, and then reinsert the globe.
You do not want to push on the globe to make it stand up. For one, the glass globe may break. For another, pressing on it will push soil into the stem, clogging the tube and insufficient water flow. This would harm your plants by preventing proper watering.
Consider the angle of your watering globe as well. The more the globe is angled, the more water will come out. Additionally, point the stem of the watering globe towards the plant for optimal watering results.
Are Self-Watering Globes Good for Plants?
Self-watering globes can be good for plants if you use them with the right plants. For example, many plants thrive with continually moist soil. A watering globe would help keep the soil moisture level up for these types of plants, even if you cannot water the plants regularly.
That’s why it’s best to give your plants a good soaking watering before relying on the watering globe to release water to keep the plants alive slowly.
If the plant prefers to dry out before being watered again completely, then a self-watering globe would not be good for it. The product’s design is one where a steady water supply is released regularly. It’s good to be sure that it works with your plants.
How long will a watering globe water your plant?
A watering globe can water your plants for about two weeks. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, as there are elements that affect how long the globes last.
The temperature and humidity will affect the water absorption rate, which will impact how long you can go between refilling the water globes.
The size of the watering globes also makes a difference. Some globes are designed for large plants, while others are better for smaller houseplants kept indoors.
If you are going to be gone for a while, it is best to do a trial run to see how long your watering globes last. It is best to water your plants well before inserting the watering globe. If the soil is moist, it will keep the globe from releasing water right away and instead conserve the water until the soil dries out some.
What kinds of houseplants can you use watering globes for?
While watering globes can be very helpful, they are not appropriate for all types of plants. For example, if you have a plant that needs to dry between waterings to avoid root rot, the watering globe is not a good idea (2).
This is because they design the globes to release water regularly, so the plant’s soil will not be able to dry out between waterings. However, if your plants thrive with consistently moist soil, you can place a watering globe in it.
Can you use a watering globe in place of regular watering?
Busy plant owners may wonder if watering globes would be easier than regularly watering the plants by hand. While the convenience of inserting the globe and forgetting about it may be alluring, more goes into properly using watering globes.
Watering globes work best when you clean them regularly. However, periodic cleaning takes time and effort, so using the watering globes is not just a set it and forget it process.
Additionally, you will have to refill and reinstall the globes regularly. For many people, it is easier and faster to just water the plants the old-fashioned way. That is, by filling up a cup or watering can in the kitchen sink and adding the water to the soil of the indoor plants.
The main allure of self-watering globes is when you are away from home for two weeks. Using watering globes for the appropriate types of plants means that you do not have to have someone come to your home and tend to your plants.
You may have some plants that thrive with consistently moist soil, and keeping up with them may be too much for you. Using a watering globe can help supplement your regular watering schedule. It can also cover you in case you forget to check on your plant’s soil moisture. However, they probably will not replace your regular watering routine.
Can you use watering globes for outdoor plants?
It is possible to use watering globes for outdoor plants, but beware of their fragile nature. Glass bulbs can easily break if shaken or moved by the elements or animals. However, if you have plants on a porch or patio that is well protected, you may be okay installing a watering globe.
However, there are other options than just glass watering globes that could work just as well without the risk of breaking. One idea is to recycle empty wine bottles into self-watering apparatuses by attaching terracotta self-watering stakes.
If using the watering globes outside, it is important to note that you should not place watering globes in direct sunlight. The sun passing through a water bulb can create a hot spot that could damage the plant or the surrounding area.
Can you use watering globes for succulents?
Watering globes are not well suited for watering succulents. Typically, succulents need to be completely dry between waterings, which the watering globes do not allow for. So what should you do if you are going to be gone for a while? The good news is that if you water them well before leaving, they will likely be fine for several weeks before you need to water them again.
How to clean watering globes
It is essential to regularly clean your watering globes to ensure they function correctly. If their stems get clogged with soil, water cannot escape, and they won’t keep your plants watered.
If the stem is clogged, use a pipe cleaner to clean it out. Inserting the pipe cleaner into the stem will help loosen the soil. You can then flush it out with water to clean the entire inside stem.
Once you’ve used a water globe for a while, there may be mold or algae building up noticeably inside it. This could also show up as a cloudiness on the inside of the glass.
There are several methods you can use to get your watering globe clean. All you need is some basic household cleaning supplies.
One option is to pour baking soda into the globe and then add lemon juice or white vinegar. After adding these elements, swirl the globe around so that the mixture touches all of the inside surfaces. Then drain it and rinse the watering globe well before using it again to water your plants.
A second cleaning option is to pour a little bit of fine sand into the globe and add water to it until the globe is nearly 25% full. Then, cover the stem hole with your finger and shake the globe. Once the inside is clean, drain the mixture and rinse the watering globe well.
A third option is to pour a little bit of bleach into the globe before filling it with water. Then prop the globe in a glass or a mug for ten minutes with the stem facing up. Once the ten minutes have passed, drain the globe and rinse it out well.
DIY Water Globes
Depending on the soil, the output hole for the water globe may be too small and get clogged, resulting in your water globe not being able to disburse water when the soil gets dry. You can make your own water globe with an old wine bottle or other glass bottles.
Simply rise out the wine and fill it up with water, and you have an easy to use DIY water globe.
Plant watering globes final thoughts
In conclusion, watering globes can help keep certain plants alive between regular waterings. The self-watering globes work in a simple, low-tech way, but they are effective at slowly releasing water as a plant’s soil loses moisture.
You should test out the product before relying on it solely to keep your plants alive if you will be away from home for a while. That way, you will know how long the water in the bulb will last.
While the product does work, it is not suitable for all types of plants. When buying and using watering globes for your houseplants, keep this in mind.
(1) – https://www.npl.co.uk/resources/q-a/what-is-a-vacuum
(2) – https://cropwatch.unl.edu/soybean-management/plant-disease-phytophthora-root-and-stem-rot