Meet the "Bubble SIP" a clay pot with no drain hole.
Bubble SIP - Sansevieria 'Hahnii' in a no-hole clay pot with SIP "bubble" inside. Stay tuned for more decorative bubble SIPs coming soon! Note that bubble SIPs are scalable. I will soon post a photo of a 7-gallon bubble SIP that is big enough to grow tomatoes.
The Sansevieria was growing in a recycled soda bottle SIP. These are the best planters for teaching kids (and their families) about plant science and horticulture. They are the cat's meow. I like the techie look but not everyone does. No problem. When you get tired of looking at it, simply move the plant into a no-hole decorative pot like this clay pot with "bubble SIP" plumbing. It doesn't get any simpler than this. Any no-hole decorative container becomes a water, time and plant saver. Look for more ideas in future posts. See more photos below.
This is about plugging unneeded drain holes in plant pots, in this case ubiquitous clay pots. They are wasting precious water all over the country...and the world.
For those who love the look of clay pots, that’s fine but they do not need to have any type of drain hole for indoor use. Drain hole pots waste water and provide no benefit in spite of what most houseplant and gardening books say.
The people who relentlessly write this drain hole stuff are living in a prior century horticulturally. Or, they may have a business plan they protect that does not include plant sustainability à la "Here today, gone tomorrow." "Aw, gee" they say, "It's only a little white lie."
The truth is that the benefits of sub-irrigated planters (SIPs) are many. Here are a few:
* SIPs save water in the range of 70-80% as compared to drench and drain watering.
* There is no messy run-off to damage furniture or floors.
* The "bubble" under the plant supplies water which is gradually used. The empty space in the bubble supplies vitally needed oxygen which is equally as important as water. These oxygen and water bubbles (aka reservoirs) are the primary reason plants maintained in SIPs are healthier and have long life spans.
* They save plant care time because of the built-in water reservoir. In addition, you can water plants on a fixed schedule, regardless of plant species or origin. Desert plants like Cactus and water-loving Peace Lilies are equally at home in SIPs. It's only a question of how much water you add to the "bubble" reservoir.
* With proper use, they prevent over watering and plant death. Over watering is a major cause of houseplant mortality.
Stay tuned for a post this coming week about water management in SIPs. It is based on what greenhouse growers do to manage proper soil moisture. It does not involve sticking your finger into the pot.
Note that sub-irrigated planters (SIPs) for outdoor use need an overflow drain hole in the side. I will cover the subject of positioning and drilling these holes in a future post.
The one and only need stated for drain holes is the big bad bugaboo about soluble salts. It is a myth unless you are using some very hard water from a well perhaps.
I have maintained the CuGreen indoor plant lab with city water for more than 15 years in San Diego and Brooklyn and have never experienced a soluble salts problem using sub-irrigation.
Back in the 1970's, I started using SIPs in my interior plantscaping business in Los Angeles and had no soluble salts probems there either.
The threat of soluble salts problems is based on greenhouse growing rather than home gardener usage. Greenhouse growers pour on the water and fertilizer (soluble salts) to push the plants out the greenhouse door as quickly as possible.
This is not the way home gardeners water and fertilize plants (particularly houseplants under low light). Houseplants require only a fraction of the water and fertilizer used to produce them, ergo minimal exposure to soluble salts.
As soon as you start growing in SIPs you will discover a miraculous new way to maintain plants in containers. Just remember that you cannot grow plants in the dark whatever watering method used.