Q: I saw a clever slow watering device called “The Plant Nanny” at a shop in South Carolina. Could I make something like it myself?
A: The Plant Nanny is a hollow ceramic spike you insert into houseplant soil. When a water-filled wine bottle, cola bottle or decorative glass globe is inverted into the stake, water is released slowly into the soil. They are effective, but some may not care for the look of a bottle sticking out of the middle of their houseplants. You can accomplish the same slow watering by making a wick waterer. Put a plastic drinking cup next to a plant. Measure a length of braided 1/4 inch diameter nylon cord that will reach from the bottom of the cup to the soil surface in the center of the pot. Add three inches and cut the cord to this length. Use a kitchen knife to press the end of the cord three inches into the center of the soil of the potted plant. Drape the rest of the cord over the pot lip and into the plastic cup. Fill the cup with water and pour a bit of water around the cord inserted into the soil. The nylon wick will draw water from the cup into the soil automatically as the soil dries out. All you have to do is keep the cup full of water.
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