How to Use Plant Watering Globes

How to Use Plant Watering Globes
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One of the things that kept me from having plants for so long was my busy travel schedule. Prior to the pandemic, I was traveling once a month and barely had time for anything. I thought I wouldn’t have the time to grow plants and take care of them — until I discovered watering globes.

Plant watering globes are fantastic tools to provide potted plants with water while you are away on vacation. I use them on most of my plants when I’m traveling. And even when I’m home, I use watering globes all the time on certain plants (read more on that below), to save time and avoid having to keep track of the watering schedule.

Table of Contents

What are Plant Watering Globes?

Watering globes are small globes with long thin necks or spikes that are inserted into the soil. They’re also known as self watering bulbs, aqua globes and watering spikes.

These days, you can find watering globes made of plastic, blow glass, polypropylene and more. They come in all kinds of shapes these days, not just round globes — some glass watering globes are shaped like cute animals, while others are tinted in pretty colors and make great items for home decor. 

self watering bulbs

How to Use a Plant Watering Globe

To use a plant watering globe, simply fill the globe up with water, then invert it and push the long thin neck of the globe into the soil. 

It’s normal for a small amount of water to spill out to the soil at first. But eventually the soil will stop the water from entirely leaving the watering globe. And voila! You won’t need to water your plant until 1-2 weeks later when the watering globe is empty.

How long the water lasts depends on several factors, including the type of soil, the size of the globe and type of plants. In general, my watering globes last for 1-2 weeks on most of my plants.

how to use plant watering globes - at home

How Does A Self Watering Bulb Work?

A watering globe works based on the laws of physics. The soil limits the rate at which water can leave the globe.

At the same time, the water leaving the globe will prevent air from entering the globe. If air is unable to get in to to displace the water, the water will not be able to leave.

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Once the soil around the neck of the globe dries out, air will then be able to enter the globe and displace a small amount of the water. This is how the watering globe provides a slow and steady supply of water to a plant.

Do Aqua Globes Really Work?

Yes, watering globes actually do work. I was skeptical before I bought them — but after using them for more than a year, I’m a huge fan of watering globes and highly recommend them for those who travel often.

I have used them with great success for trips of 2-3 weeks, and have always returned to living plants. I also use watering globes all the time, on some of my plants. That said, they aren’t always perfect (read in the next section to see why).

They also work better than plant humidifiers as humidifiers usually have a run time of 8-16 hours. Even the biggest one can run only for a maximum of 96 hours.

glass watering bulbs for plants

Why I Love Using Watering Globes

Self watering globes are just so easy and quick to use, and they’re a godsend for frequent travelers like myself. It literally takes seconds to fill up a watering globe and insert it into a plant. Even if you’ve got 50 plants like I do, it doesn’t take long to set them up for your plants before a trip.

There are now so many different kinds of watering systems for potted plants on the market now — but watering globes are still the cheapest and simplest to use. You can get a set of 11 plastic watering globes for just $15 on Amazon.

Besides, you don’t have to move your plants around to water them. Some of my big plants can be a pain to water as they’re heavy to move around. Plus you don’t need electronic controls or apps to use a watering globe. Watering bulbs simply use physics to release water to your plants slowly over time.

plant watering globes - using it at my desk

Disadvantages of Using a Plant Watering Globe

Watering globes are not perfect — they may last two weeks in some soil and only a few days in different soil. Before your trip, try the globe on different soil and see how long the water lasts before a refill is needed.

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Most plant watering globes need a refill after just 2 weeks, so that’s the maximum amount of time you can leave your plants on their own. If you do leave on longer trips, you’ll run the risk of having some of your plants die on you.

Which Plants are Suitable for Watering Globes?

Watering globes are ideal for indoor potted plants that need regular watering. For instance, I use my watering globe all the time on my Areca Palm and it’s fantastic to keep it constantly watered.

However, some plants don’t like wet soil and prefer to be left to dry completely before being watered. My Dracaena Fragrans and Snake Plant don’t do well with the watering globe as they prefer less water. To check if a watering globe is suitable for your plant, I suggest using a plant moisture meter to monitor the wetness of the soil and see if it’s keeping your plant healthy.

Also, watering globes only work for medium to large plants as they can only be used in deep pots (to keep them from falling over). They won’t fit in tiny plant pots.

plant watering globes

Recommended Self Watering Globes

1. Evelots Glass Watering Globes

These colorful blow glass globes definitely add a splash of color and decorative touch to your home. Each globe holds approximately 100 ml or 4 oz of water. I use this on my beautiful Stromanthe Triostar and it not only keeps it healthy but also adds such a splash of color to my pink plant.

Check current price!

glass watering globes

2. Alotm PVC Watering Globes

Made of quality PVC material, these sturdy PVC watering globes are non-friable, with good permeability. This makes them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. I swear by them!

Check current price!

plant watering globes - pvc watering globes

3. Terracotta Plant Watering Spikes

This highly-effective system uses recycled wine bottles along with these beautiful terracotta plant watering spikes making it very sustainable and eco-friendly. Also perfect for indoor and outdoors!

Check current price!

terracotta watering spikes

4. KISEER Plastic Watering Bulbs

In the form of cute carrot shapes, these plastic watering bulbs are made of strong and durable polypropylene material. They’re easy to refill: you can screw off the lid and add water without taking it out of the soil.

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Check current price!

carrot watering bulbs

5. E-KAY Bird Shapes Design Watering Bulbs

These hand blown bird-shaped glass watering bulbs make perfect gifts for plant lovers. They are made of glass, so you need to be extra careful when setting it up.

Check the current price!

Special Tips on Using Plant Watering Globes:

  • If it’s your first time using a watering globe, I recommend experimenting it on your easy beginner plants first. These plants are more sturdy and tolerant to various conditions.
  • Before you go on a trip, try your watering globe a few times to get a good idea of whether it’s going to last for the duration of your trip. Use a plant moisture meter to check that it’s getting the right amount of water.
  • The best way to ensure your plant receives enough water is to water your plant thoroughly before inserting the watering globe into the soil. This prevents problems with the globes emptying quicker than they should.
  • The neck or opening of watering globes can get clogged up with soil sometimes. The best way to clean it is to use a narrow pipe cleaner or cotton bud.
  • The best way to prevent your plant watering globe from getting clogged is to first make a hole in the soil with a long, thin stick such as a screwdriver before inserting your watering globe. This prevents soil being forced up into the neck during insertion, and also reduces the risk of breaking the watering globe while inserting it.
  • Some glass watering bulbs might have mold grow inside them after a while. Clean them with baking soda and lemon juice. Shake them about to create a scrubbing effect, then rinse well.
do watering bulbs work

All in all, I highly recommend using plant watering globes to keep your plants watered while you’re on vacation. They aren’t perfect, but they are inexpensive and do a great job. They can also be used all the time but only on specific plants that love wet soil.

Let me know if you have any questions about plant watering bulbs below and I’ll be more than happy to answer them!

18 thoughts on “How to Use Plant Watering Globes”

    1. hi Kristal, yay congrats on getting your first globe! Yes zebra plants thrive in humid environments so a watering globe will work well on a zebra plant. Let us know how it goes. 🙂

    2. My watering Globes came with a test tube like plastic thing that I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with. There’s no hole in it but there is a tool provided in order to create a hole. Is this something I should use with my water and globes? Should I insert them first and then insert the watering Globe inside of the tube?

  1. Susan Rosenzweig

    I made a hole in the soil and then inserted Aqua Globe. Then I pulled it out to make sure soil wasn’t getting into the tube. It was filled with soil.
    I pulled the bulb out, shook the dirt out and reinserted it.
    Does the soil that gets in the tube prevent water from reaching the plant?

    1. hi Susan, thanks for dropping by! Oh yes sometimes soil can get stuck in the aqua globe. But I’ve found that if you shake out the dirt and insert it back in, it usually works fine. Try to test it out and see if your plant is getting water, before you leave for a trip.

        1. hi Susan, yes I usually water my plant completely and insert the glass bulb before I leave on a trip. For some plants, I just leave the plant bulb in permanently.

  2. Barbara J Campbell

    How do you use the Plantastic plant waterer. I don’t know what they are talking about. Remove light green dustcap and take flo-disk into treaded base. Do you then put it back into the bottom of the jug

  3. Hi Nellie, I want to use a watering globe for a philodendron that lives on a high shelf. Is that not a good idea for this plant?

  4. I have different kinds and size globes. I have put cotton fabric, cotton balls, inside, covering the end and all of them have lost all their water within 2 days. Some within 2 hours. I have watered the pots before I put them in, put the at an angle. I can’t imagine how they are lasting 1-2 weeks for people. They are all in potting soil. Is that the problem?

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