The Genius IKEA Hack That Turns A Simple Vase Into A Self-Watering Planter

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Being a plant parent takes a lot of work, especially for those who strive to grow multiple plants in their homes but don't have the green thumb to maintain them. Remembering to water greenery is a significant task that some folks have trouble doing. If you have a busy schedule or travel for work, your plants are probably easily forgotten, which may lead to more frequent casualties. The best way to ensure your plants stay alive and healthy while you're away for work or on vacation is with a self-watering planter that will take care of the watering for you. Instagram plant enthusiast Adam Lustig (@knotdude) created a fantastic self-watering planter with an Ikea vase. His hack helped him grow stunning Hoya lacunosa silver (NOID) from two cuttings of other growing lacunosa on his plant shelf.

Creating a self-watering planter is effortless. You can use almost anything to hold your plants such as water bottles, hanging baskets, wine bottles, or other items. Lustig used Ikea's RÄFFELBJÖRK 7 ¾ inch vase. It's an iridescent, rainbow-shaped glass vase that's sold for about $30. You can choose from two sizes or use both for a pot set. You'll also need a wicking cord, two net pots that are about 3 ½ centimeters in diameter, and Lechuza Pon, which can all be found on Amazon. Turning the Ikea vase into a planter is easy because you're simply putting everything together.

How to create the self-watering vase

Start this self-watering planter project by gathering all of your materials. You'll want to measure the diameter of the vase's openings to ensure your pots will fit, but if you purchase the same ones that Instagram plant blogger Adam Lustig did, they'll fit perfectly. Take each net pot and make a small hole at the bottom to poke the wicking cord through. The pots have slits along the sides, so you can take scissors or a knife and create a wider opening in one of the slits. Then, fill the net pots with the Pon medium (or the potting soil of your choice) to the top.

Next, pick which plants you want to grow in your vase. They have to be types that can grow in Pon medium. You can grow the same ones Lustig did in his pots, NOID silver lacunosa, or choose another variety. Make cuttings from the plant and place them gently in each net pot. Once they're secure in the Pon, water them to get the soil and wicking cord wet. Add water to the vase, ensuring there's a gap between the net pot and the water's surface, then put the pots in the openings of the vase. The water will travel up the wicking cord and keep the cuttings hydrated without you having to water them. You'll just need to refill the vase once it's running low on water.

Why this trick works

Self-watering planters work excellently due to the capillary action that occurs throughout the process. In capillary action, gravity pulls water up toward the plant through the wicking cord. The plant receives enough water to keep it hydrated instead of sitting in a pool of water for days, which can cause root rot from too much water. Adam Lustig made an update video on Instagram where he showed the progress his cuttings made in the Ikea vase, which was jaw-dropping. Both cuttings grew long and beautiful. The cutting on the left side grew twice as long as the right side and had roots growing around the wicking cord. The foliage and stems cascaded over the side, covering the iridescent vase. The cuttings on the right side still looked gorgeous but were shorter than the left. 

However, algae did grow along the wicking cords, which Lustig claims can also sometimes get stuck to the vase. At the same time, the vase can easily be cleaned out to remove the algae. In addition, Lustig states in his video that his cuttings grew to their size over four months. So, the self-watering vase hack definitely works, it just takes some time and patience.