The hydrator, reservoir and wicks combination delivers water to plants reliably, but some special situations may require modified approaches. We share those here - many of which come from users of the device.
Spotted Laurel: Acuba Japonica
Peace Lily: Spathiphyllum
Devil's Backbone: Pedilanthus
How do I install/use the plant watering system? Detailed instructions are found under the Installation and Operation tabs, linked at the top of this page.
What if the water does not flow into the growth medium or it flows too slowly? Assuming that the wicks are properly installed (see the "Installation" tab above) and that the reservoir contains sufficient water, the problem may be an overly dry medium. If there is not good contact between the wicks and a medium that is at least modestly moist, then water may not transfer efficiently between the wicks and the medium. To correct the problem, add a little water to the medium around the location of the wicks. Another approach would be to add a few drops of dish detergent to the hydrator and replace the reservoir. You should soon see the watering rate increase (watch for bubbles rising in the reservoir). Also, on rare occasions, the wicks can bunch up in the bottom of the hydrator and partially block the outlet of the reservoir. To address this, lift the reservoir slightly and pull upward on each of the wicks individually to straighten out any kinks. Then re-bury the exposed portion of the wicks.
What if too much water flows into the pot and leaks out the bottom? Because the water transfer rate is determined by the number and size of the wicks, you can reduce the transfer rate by removing wicks. This should be done one wick at a time. Each wick has two legs. Pull one leg of one wick from the medium, wipe off any medium left on the wick, fold the wick into the hydrator and replace the reservoir tip in it. If, after a few days, you see that the water no longer leaks out, you could either leave that leg of the wick inside the hydrator or pull up the retainer and trim the wick near the bottom of the hydrator. Replace the retainer (and the other wicks). If, there is still too much flow, then try removing that wick entirely. It is strongly recommended that pots have drainage holes so that water does not accumulate in the pot and possibly cause the medium to become septic, damaging the roots.
How do I water indoor plants automatically? Once the hydrator and wicks have been put into place (see the Installation tab at the top of this page), you only need to refill the reservoir when or before it empties. For almost all houseplants, it will not cause any damage if the reservoir is left empty for a few days, since there will be residual moisture in the growth medium to provide for their needs. Just be alert to signs that the plant is under water stress (yellowing, browning or drooping leaves) Adjusting the water flow rate to meet the needs of your plants is explained above and under the "Operation" tab at the top of this page.
How can I water my plants while on vacation? Because the reservoir can be readily interchanged for one of higher capacity, water can be reliably provided for weeks. The reservoir shown at the upper right on this page holds 32 ounces and can water a small or medium sized plant for weeks. Adapters with an extension that will fit into the hydrator will soon be available on this site.