SIP: Sub Irrigated Planters

Sips are plant containers that contain a water chamber which allows plants to absorb water on an as needed basis SIPs are also called Sub Irrigated Planters and Self Watering Planters

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Good SIP

SIPs minimize risk of water and dirt splashing out of planter

SIPs reduce number of times you have to water a plant

SIPs eliminate uncertainly about how much you need to water your plants

SIPs get the right about amount of air and water at plant roots

SIPs conserve water less water evaporates when it’s in a chamber

SIPs Make plants less susceptible to many diseases

SIPs allows chlorine and fluoride in city water to dissipate preventing plant poisoning

SIPs  produce more flowers and veggies

Sub irrigated planters are sometimes called self watering containers because they significantly reduce the amount of time you need to spend watering plants

Make sure your plant doesn’t drown

Adding a drain hole in the side of the container, right above the level of the chamber, allows extra water to drain out so your plant won’t drown

How does a SIP work?

Sub irrigated planters have a chamber in the planter below the soil that holds water. Very porous soil or a wick pulls the water into the soil when it is dry so your plants can constantly get a good drink.

Components of a great SIP

A happy vigorous plant

Soil mix that is highly absorbent

A container with a chamber in the bottom to hold water

A way to easily add water to the chamber

Small holes in top of the chamber to allow water to be pulled into the soil mix by the plant roots

How to you ensure water gets to the plants?

Plants use a process called capillary action to pull water through soil, in a properly made sip roots will naturally draw the water they need out of the chamber

Using a wicking material that is immerged in both the water and soil will help move the water up in the planter. Felt, burlap or a stocking filled with compost are all good wicks.

Insuring you have a highly absorbent SIP formulated soil will help ensure proper water transfer

How do you know if there is enough water in the sip?

The chamber or water reservoir should ideally make up 15 percent of the total volume of your container

With a sip you should try to keep the water chamber full, if you use a wick you can be a little more relaxed about watering

Depending on the size of your planter and the conditions you are growing in refilling your sip can range from daily to bi-weekly

A drainage hole in the side of the container is the easiest way to know if there is too much water

Lifting or shifting small planters can help you feel if water is present

Like most gardening some trial and error may be needed. If your plants are wilting and are in dry soil they need to be getting more water