Sure, you can purchase a fairly water spike or wick for your plants. But you can also save a few bucks and make your own using materials you probably already own. They are simple to make, and soon enough, you can add the spikes into the soil and consider watering your plants — that is, until you have to refill the bottles.

Water Spike Advantages

A water spike gradually emits water in a way much like a drip irrigation system, so the process is much more efficient in comparison with overhead watering. Evaporation is kept to a minimum and overspraying isn’t a problem. It also maintains the soil always moist, a must for plants which are heavy drinkers and also during the warm summer. For the lazy or traveling gardener, water spikes prevent the plants from drying — and possibly dying — because of neglect.

Some Downsides

A Water spike can sometimes hinder root growth. If the spike, by way of instance, is used to water a shrub and is always put on the right side of the plant, root growth will flourish on the one side but not the opposite. Additionally, the spike’s hole may get clogged, stopping the flow of water. Because it is underground, you may not notice the issue.

Making a Homemade Water Spike

Wash a bottle with a tapered neck and its cap with a 10 percent bleach and water solution. Rinse well with water. A small soda-size bottle works well for houseplants, while a bigger, 2-liter bottle works better for shrubs and bigger plants. Use a huge bottle also if you are not able to refill a bottle that is smaller in a timely way. Drill a small, nail-size hole, such as 1/4 into 3/8 inch in diameterat the center of the cap. Fill the jar with water and screw on the cap.

Installing Your Spike

Cover the hole with your finger and then turn the jar upside down. Insert the jar about 1 or 2 inches into the soil next to the plant, about halfway between the drip line and the main stem. For potted plants, sink the neck about 1 or 2 inches from the rim. For large outdoor plants, use at least two bottles — one on each side. Ensure that you refill the bottles as required to keep the flow of water constant.

Water Spike Tips

Thoroughly moisten the soil before inserting the spike to ensure that the water from the bottle isn’t depleted too fast. To help prevent clogging, cut a piece of wire mesh, cheesecloth or another screenlike material. Cover the neck of the bottle before putting on the lid. If desired, use colored wine bottles, which you may consider more appealing than plastic bottles. If you do not own a drill, use a nail and then carefully poke a hole in the cap.

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