Unless you’re naturally green-fingered, chances are you’ve probably had your own struggles with houseplants. After all, they can be very tricky to look after, even though the requirements seem straightforward when you see them written on paper.
How hard can it be to just water your plants every day to keep them alive? Some might not even require watering that regularly, and every few days should suffice.
Houseplants are a great way to liven up your living space – they come in all different varieties and colors, so you can pick ones based on your own preference.
You can have large or small, vibrant or pastel, flowering or non-flowering houseplants, depending on what vibe you’re going for.
They bring a touch of the outside world indoors, allowing you to enjoy the earth’s natural creations from the comfort of your own house.
Plants also take in carbon dioxide from the air and replace it with oxygen, which is a great added bonus for you and anyone you live with.
However, it’s not always that simple – despite your best efforts, you may find all your plants dying or not getting the right nutrients they need to thrive.
It is possible for people to forget at times when they have lots of other things going on in their lives that they’re trying to juggle at the same time.
Other people will over-water their plants, so they end up drowning, or they won’t give them enough water each time. It’s difficult to find the right balance, especially since different plants require different amounts.
Fortunately, there are certain things you can do that might make things a little easier for you, that don’t involve simply swapping out the real plants for fake ones.
Watering globes are one such invention, but some people are hesitant to try them as they’re unsure whether they are effective or not.
Here, we dive into the world of watering globes, so you can decide for yourself whether you think they’d be a good investment for you.
Table of Contents
What Is A Watering Globe?
The name of this product should give you a big clue as to what it does: it’s essentially a globe that waters your plants.
It sits on a stem that is usually made out of the same piece of material (most commonly glass), and you place the whole thing into the soil alongside the plant.
The globe part contains a certain amount of water, which it lets out periodically over a period of time to keep your plants adequately hydrated.
Watering globes have come into prominent usage all over the world, as they effectively eliminate the need to water your houseplants by hand.
Without them, you would have to do this probably every day, since plants that are kept inside don’t get access to rainwater naturally, but still need sufficient water to survive.
A device that looks after this side of proceedings for you can be incredibly useful if you live a busy life, or if you want to go on holiday for a week or two without having to get someone in to keep the plants alive.
Alternative names for the watering globe include watering spike or aqua globe, both of which are also accurate in terms of what they represent.
They come in different colors and designs, so it’s pretty easy to find one that matches your plants or complements the rest of your decor.
While many watering globes are made of glass, some are made of plastic – these ones are lighter and less likely to break in an accident, so you should consider this before deciding which one to buy.
How Does A Watering Globe Work?
The mechanism that makes watering globes function isn’t particularly complicated, and as such, they are considered to be low-tech. However, you may still be scratching your head wondering how exactly these globes are able to do what they do.
After all, you couldn’t just put any old container upside down in the soil and expect it to have the same results. But there’s no electricity involved, and you can’t see any moving parts inside that look like they could possibly make a difference. So what gives?
Watering globes actually make use of vacuums and the scientific principle behind them. Basically, when a watering globe is put into the soil, the water in the bulb is prevented from flowing directly out of it and forms a vacuum instead.
This stops any air from getting into the stem when the soil around it is wet, and no more water escapes from the globe at that point.
Once the soil becomes dry again, the air is able to travel into the stem once more and let the same amount of water out.
This system is what allows the watering globe to give off water steadily, rather than release it all at once.
It is also how it ‘knows’ how much water the soil needs and when. It just goes to show that you don’t need the latest technology to have useful gadgets; you just need a little bit of scientific reasoning and know-how to apply it.
The actual premise is simple, but it can help to make your life a lot easier when it comes to caring for your plants.
Are Some Water Globes Better Than Others?
If all water globes are made in the same way and rely on science to power them, surely they will all be just as effective at watering your plants? Well, this isn’t quite the case, and not every water globe was made equally.
It’s not always easy to know just by looking if a particular water globe will be any good at its job, but there are some things you can do to try and maximize your chances of getting one that works well for you.
Some just have a terrible design that doesn’t make sense and won’t function in the way it’s meant to. You can usually tell which ones these are because they don’t look like other water globes, or you might be able to see poor craftsmanship.
Water needs to be able to move freely from the bulb area to the stem when it’s not in the soil, otherwise, it won’t be able to escape when it is.
Apart from the obvious badly-made ones, there isn’t much difference in effectiveness between watering globes, as they all pretty much do the same thing.
Therefore, once you’ve checked that your chosen globe is legitimate and from a respected company, it will depend far more on your individual circumstances as to if it works well for you or not.
What Makes a Watering Globe Less Effective?
Even if you’re sure you have a high-quality watering globe, it also depends on the type of plants you have as to whether it will be a good fit for them.
Certain plants require higher amounts of water on a regular basis, whereas watering globes tend to work on a one-size-fits-all model.
Some examples include irises, spider plants, and baby tears – these can dry up very quickly if they don’t get as much water as they need.
Similarly, there are some plants that don’t need as much water as other plants do. Cactus plants are common house plants that are known for their low water intake, as they naturally thrive in very dry conditions.
That doesn’t mean that you can just leave them alone without any water, though, as they will still need to be watered every so often. Watering globes are just not the best way to look after these types of plants.
Occasionally, it has nothing to do with the type of plant you have growing – the type of soil can also have an impact on how well your watering globe works.
If your soil absorbs water and becomes dry particularly quickly, then the watering globe may not be able to maintain enough moisture in it for as long as you want it to.
This means that the advertised 2 weeks will be reduced to significantly less than that.
You will also need to consider the conditions your plants will be kept. Most household rooms are fairly dry and cool, which is great for a lot of houseplants.
However, if you live in a particularly humid place that doesn’t have much air conditioning, this may have a significant impact on the way your plants use moisture.
Water evaporates more readily in heat, so the air might absorb the moisture from your soil quicker than the plant itself can absorb it.
Where Can You Get Watering Globes?
Watering globes are available from most gardening or home stores, as well as online. There is a large selection available on Amazon, and you can get them in any color you can imagine.
Alternatively, have a look at the ones Walmart has in stock, or how about Etsy if you want to support local businesses? You’ll be surprised at what’s on offer, and all is available to purchase from the comfort of your own home.
Some water globes are sold separately, while others will come in multipacks. It really depends on how many plants you have alive at any one time, as the water globes themselves can last for years and shouldn’t need replacing in between uses.
Of course, there is always the possibility that you might drop them, so having spares is always a good idea, but the multipacks are usually great for people who like to fill their houses with plants.
Best Watering Globes: Our Recommendations
All this talk about watering globes may have left you eager to try one yourself, but anxious about finding one that will work properly. That’s why I’ve put together this list with some of our tried and tested favorites.
If nothing else, it will give you a solid place to start when you come to buy your own – I’m well aware that what works for one person won’t be ideal for another.
#1: Cotswold Homeware Co Plant Watering Globes (5 Pack)
These colorful globes come in a pack of 5: 2 large and 3 small, all with a different bright color and funky patterned design. Not only will they be useful for your plant’s health, but they will also make an attractive decoration in your home.
Included in the price are also a soil pH meter and moisture meter, so you can monitor the soil condition easily and optimize it to help your plants to thrive.
The varying sizes are helpful if you have different plants or amounts of space in each pot, although they can also be a little small overall for what you want.
The stems are narrow, which means it may be tricky to fill them with water in the first place and you’ll need to concentrate thoroughly when doing so. That said, they do look great and come with a free cleaning brush for handy maintenance.
#2: Blazin Indoor Plant Mushroom Watering Globes (4 Pack)
We’re still looking at larger packs with this set of 4 mushroom-shaped globes. It feels weird to call them globes when they’re actually more conical, but that’s nevertheless how they’re referred to.
Each one is a different color: dark blue and light blue, red and, green. This means you can mix and match them according to your mood, or even pair each one up with a certain plant type that goes well with it.
You might think these would be small compared to other globes, but they are in fact 12 inches in length – that’s one whole foot!
The actual bulb part is 3.35 inches in diameter, and each globe is able to sustain your plants’ moisture for up to 2 weeks.
Just be careful not to break off the tips of the glass stems, as these can be particularly fragile – if broken, your globes will not be able to let water out effectively.
#3: KikiHeim Plant Waterer Self-Watering Globes (3 Pack)
These adorable cat-shaped globes are a must for any animal lover! They will look perfect alongside your favorite plants, and the unique design is really effective.
What’s more, they are mainly clear-colored, so will go with just about anything. Each cat in the pack features a different facial expression, and there are enough that you shouldn’t run out of them when you need them most.
The stated timescale with these particular globes is 1-3 weeks, which is a broader span than you would usually see.
They are packaged among foam in a sturdy cardboard box, showing that the safety of your purchase really is at the forefront of the designers’ minds.
One thing to be wary of is that the paint on the faces can rub off after a while, but this is simply a cosmetic issue and won’t affect the overall product.
#4: Wyndham House Mini Watering Globe Set (3 Pack)
If blue is your color and you can’t get enough of it, you should definitely get your hands on this 3-piece watering globe set.
Each one has its own pattern worked into the blown glass, and there are even complimentary colors used to complete the look.
While the colors may appear different depending on the light, you can be sure that these are a pleasing mixture of blue and green.
The size of these globes is marketed as ‘small’, which you can take with a pinch of salt – they are 7.75 inches long and have a 3-inch diameter.
While some may think this is small, the dimensions wouldn’t work for plants that are less than 6 inches themselves, so it is best to avoid them if you have loads of tiny potted plants around the place.
One advantage of getting these globes is that they’re particularly shatter-resistant and unlikely to break if you dropped one accidentally.
#5: Light Iridescent Rainbow Gradient Self-Watering Spikes (2 Pack)
Yes, it might seem like I’m just decreasing the pack size of our recommendations as we go through them, but I’m actually showing you that there are plenty of options, regardless of how many spikes you will need at that time.
If you find you like them, by all means, buy some more, but I often think that it’s best to be cautious and only buy as many as you will realistically use at once. This means you won’t have surplus globes hanging around that you don’t know what to do with.
These beautiful watering globes look just like giant bubbles when they’re nestled among your plants. They are all individually hand-crafted to ensure the highest quality and a personal touch every time.
Although they are not as fragile as actual bubbles, you will still need to handle them with care so you don’t end up damaging them; make sure you place them into the soil with patience as the ends aren’t as sharp as some others are.
#6: Tomorotec Piggy Self-Watering Globes (2 Pack)
If you love animals but the cat globes above don’t tickle your fancy, what about these playful pigs?
The round shape is perfect for representing the rotund body of these porcine creatures. Don’t accidentally mistake them for piggy banks, though, as they can only hold water!
They will look magnificent standing proudly next to your favorite plants, almost like guardians of the flora.
These watering globes are particularly recommended for smaller plants, for which a single one will last about a week. For larger plants, it is a good idea to use both globes included in the back at the same time.
This is because they are slightly smaller than average, and the globes are elongated rather than spherical to make the iconic pig shape. They are clear and not pink, but you can still tell immediately what they are supposed to be.
As I have explained, watering globes can make an incredibly useful addition to your household. They will usually last for 1-2 weeks before you have to refill them, which means that you won’t have to constantly monitor your plants yourself.
Of course, it is best if you do keep an eye on what is happening if you can, just to make sure that they are doing their job properly without any obstructions.
Chances are if a watering globe you have bought isn’t working in the way you had hoped, there is something hindering it from reaching its full potential.
There are very few watering globes that simply won’t work due to a poor design, since they all utilize more or less the same simple concept and there isn’t much variation in terms of the central mechanism.
You need to consider factors such as plant type and soil type, as well as check that there is nothing blocking the stem of your chosen watering globe.
If you’re sure that you are using your watering globes properly and as they were intended, there should be no reason why you can’t reap the full benefits they can offer.
From taking a small daily task off your hands to saving your plants when you go away, these attractive devices can help make your home gardening easier and look great while they’re doing it.