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The Gardening Post Where I Lose My PG Rating

Every year, I plant several containers of annuals to place on my front porch and patio (and a few other spots here and there in the garden). I love putting the combinations of plants together, and I love the pops of color the annuals provide all summer long. But. They require daily watering. And I'm not always home to do it (going up north frequently and all). Although I usually hire someone to come and water my plants if we go on a long vacation, I don't do this for just a few days away at our cabin. I usually just . . . water the crap out of everything before we leave and hope for rain.

But this year, we've been in a drought here in my corner of the world.* I knew that my containers would absolutely not survive even a day without water. You might remember that a couple of weeks ago I mentioned having a "trick up my sleeve" for keeping my annual containers watered . . . even when I wasn't home for several days?

Let's talk about that.

I ordered a set of these . . . 


(Actually, I ordered two sets.)

They're spikes (the ones I ordered are made of terra cotta; there are also plastic ones available) that you "plant" directly into the soil of your containers . . . and then you can place bottles filled with water upside-down into the spikes. The theory is . . . the water will leak out into the soil of your plants slowly, to keep your plants watered and ALIVE.

They arrived a couple of days before Erin did, and we decided to try them out together before heading up north for a few days. (Erin was particularly interested in how they'd work, since she does a lot of container gardening in the blistering California sun on her apartment patio.)

We weren't quite prepared for what they'd actually look like . . . when we unpacked the box and opened them up. (And here goes my PG rating.)


Because . . . plant dildos . . . right? (There was so much laughing.) (So. Much.) You really can't describe them any other way, I'm afraid.

Okay. So.
On we go.

We followed the directions carefully so as not to break the terra cotta. And to get them to work properly, of course.


What else can you even call these????


But. Once carefully planted in the containers . . . the design makes perfect sense!


Next, you fill bottles with water and place them (carefully) in the spikes, upside-down. You can use any bottle -- recycled water bottles, pop bottles, wine bottles. Really, anything you might have around. I ordered a set of 12 plastic wine bottles to use in my containers, and they worked perfectly! They're light, even filled with water (I was afraid standard glass wine bottles would be too heavy for the terra cotta and would crack it), and they're not a bad "look" for my containers either. (If I was going to be home for a while - and definitely if I was going to have a party or gathering in my garden - I'd take the bottles out.)

IMG_4435 2

The most important thing? THEY WORKED! We were gone for several (very hot) days - with no rain. When we returned, the bottles were about half-full, and all the plants were alive and looking great. The soil wasn't wet on the top -- but the water was definitely getting to the roots, where it's most important.

I'm really pleased with the results so far. I don't know how well they'd work during a long vacation during a dry spell, but they will certainly see me through for my shorter forays up north. My note-to-self for next year will be to "plant" the spikes at the same time I plant my containers, as it was slightly challenging (but not very, because it's still early in the season) to fit them in among the already-growing annuals.

There you have it.
Plant dildos . . . for the win!!!


* And, of course . . . the drought has officially ended here in my corner of the world.
Here's the weather situation as I write this post. . .


Looks like I won't be needing my plant dildos for a while. But they're (ahem) inserted and ready when I do!

I hope you all have a great weekend.
See you on Monday!



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Maybe they would help me keep my patio pots hydrated. We are dryer and hotter than we have ever been and I'm sad the pots are not happy. I might need to give them up if this we have an even hotter summer next year. Glad your drought is over and you have some good rains for the rest of the summer!

Valerie might also be interested in Leigh's blog post about wicking pots here:

I think I might give this a try next year....though probably won't work on the hanging baskets.


Oh no, now I’m accidentally going to start referring to them as such in my prim little corner of the world.


That's hilarious. And I'm so glad that they're working for you!!
Happy Weekend!

Susanne Scheurwater

you and Erin sure had me giggling this morning over my coffee!!! Plant dildos...perfect name!!


Thanks for the hm... *interesting* post. :-D Lightened my lunch time!

(We had 4.5" of rain yesterday. Coming down at a rate of 1.5" an hour at some points. Up until this month we were also in a drought condition...)


Hahahahaha - this is the best. Best laugh all week. The weather pretty much sucks and is unpredictable as well. I think it is getting hot here again this weekend. But the other night I needed a blanket on the bed.


Your plant dildoes (I will only be able to call them by this name) sound great! I haven't planted containers in NJ or MD for this very reason, but I think I might order a set to try next year. I do have some hanging baskets on the porch in NJ, but they have a pretty decent water reservoir that has kept them alive so far. I'm glad you had some quality mother/daughter time with plant dildoes (and Erin's expression is priceless)!


Okay, I snorted reading this! So thanks for that laugh. I'm also glad to hear that these things actually work. Sorry to hear that you've been so inundated with rain. We talked to my aunt outside Detroit last night, and she said they'd had flooding in both their front and back yards. And it looks like it will still be raining when we head up there next weekend. I guess it's a good thing we didn't plan on doing anything but visiting!


I am DEAD! Hilarious! But ingenious! (I am off to order a set (or three) for my containers for August! LOL

Plant Dildo's FTW!!


What a great solution! glad they worked ... and honestly, those plastic wine bottles look pretty good in your planters - my mom tried something similar, but used some ugly soda bottles - I'm going to suggest the wine bottles instead.


Ha! I am glad these new gizmo's worked. Good to know for future reference. I usually trade watering chores with a neighbor but these would be a nice backup.

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