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Capillary Action Magic

Posted by Genie | July 27, 2011
Potted plant with water ropes

My friend Jan's plants watering themselves in her absence

If you have ever had to go away for a while, but were afraid your plants would die in your absence, here is one way to avoid coming back to face a bunch of withered sticks.

I had heard about this watering method, but then actually tried it for our last two-week vacation. The process is simple. Using a cotton clothesline rope, a bucket of water and the magic of capillary action, the plants water themselves while you are gone.

Watering Procedure

  1. Place the plant on the kitchen counter or simply leave it where it usually stands.
  2. Cut small sections of clothesline rope and submerge them in water until they are soaked through.
  3. Water the plant thoroughly, then using a pencil, make a hole in the plant’s soil at least 3-4 inches deep.
  4. Using the same pencil, push one end of the wet clothesline rope into the hole and put the other end into a pot of water. The water simply moves gradually through the rope into the plant and keeps it slightly moist.

When I used this method for our vacation, I placed my small plants on the kitchen counter and had their various ropes meeting in a large kettle of water. The three larger plants each had their own bucket. After 2 weeks away, I came home to find all of my plants nicely watered and the buckets nearly empty. Now, I am not sure how long this method would work, but I assume it would be good until the bucket was dry. So, conceivably I could use this for a longer span of time by using a larger reservoir of water.

I was very happy with my “water ropes” and plan to use them whenever we travel from now on and spare my sister the job of watering all the plants.


6 Responses to “Capillary Action Magic”

  1. Joanne says:

    What a great idea! So simple and effective. Thanks for the tip.

  2. George Brown says:

    Great Idea! Do you think this would work outside for plants in pots?

  3. Genie says:

    I am trying out the “water ropes” this year with my tomatoes that are growing in pots outdoors. I am hoping that if I keep the ground evenly moist I won’t get blossom end rot on any tomatoes.

  4. Rochelle says:

    How cool is that? you’re such a smartypants! :)

  5. Requel says:

    Was it a cotton rope?

  6. Genie says:

    Yes, I used cotton rope.

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