Waterpot Olla Information & Installation

Q: Do I plant inside the Waterpot Olla?

No. The Waterpot Olla is buried neck deep and filled with water. Plant OUTSIDE and AROUND the pot.

Q: How far does water dissipate from the Waterpot Olla?

Water will spread away from the olla for about as far as the largest radius of the olla. For example, if the olla’s maximum diameter is 20cm, moisture will reach soil 10cm away from the olla in every direction. This is not a precise measurement as much depends on the type of soil, its consistency and water retentive attributes as to how far the moisture will capillary away from the olla. When planting seeds, plant them within the reach of the water and surface water the seeds until the seedlings are established as seedlings.

The type and composition of the soil used in conjunction with terracotta ollas can significantly influence their effectiveness. The soil's ability to retain moisture and distribute it evenly is crucial for optimal plant growth. Well-draining soil is preferred, as it prevents waterlogging and ensures the roots have access to both moisture and oxygen. Additionally, mixing organic matter such as compost can improve the soil's water-holding capacity.

Always try to plant in concentric circles around your Waterpot Olla.

 Q: How Many Waterpot Ollas do I need and what size?

 What Size would suit my gardening situation?

Waterpot Ollas come in several different sizes from our 3 LitreLarge Round Olla to our Terracotta Watering Spikes/ They have been designed to accomodate all types of growing situations raised beds, in-garden beds, rooftop gardens, container/potted gardens, community gardens, patios and decks, vegetable gardens or flower gardens. The applications are only limited by your imagination!

The smaller the olla, the less distance the water will spread. In good soils, expect the water to spread at least the width of the olla in all directions. Once the porous terracotta olla is in contact with the soil, water begins to seep into the surrounding soil, directly to the rootzone of surrounding plants. The amount of water drawn from the olla varies depending on the soil moisture – dry soil will draw water faster; wet soil slows it down.

For example, if the olla’s maximum diameter is 20cm, moisture will reach soil 10cm away from the olla in every direction. This is not a precise measurement as much depends on the type of soil, its consistency and water retentive attributes as to how far the moisture will capillary away from the olla. When planting seeds, plant them within the reach of the water and surface water the seeds until the seedlings are established as seedlings.

The type and composition of the soil used in conjunction with terracotta ollas can significantly influence their effectiveness. The soil's ability to retain moisture and distribute it evenly is crucial for optimal plant growth. Well-draining soil is preferred, as it prevents waterlogging and ensures the roots have access to both moisture and oxygen. Additionally, mixing organic matter such as compost can improve the soil's water-holding capacity.

Always plant in concentric circles around your Waterpot Olla.

Waterpot Large Round Olla - 3 Litres 16cm W x 23cm H

The Waterpot Large Round Olla covers a growing space approximately up to 50cm to a 80cm in diameter. It’s perfect for:

*Large Grow bags/garden beds of minimum 75L

* 1 for each 1m x 1m square of raised bed

* Large inground beds planted in frequencies of 60cm

Waterpot Small Round Olla - 1.25 Litres 12cm W x 18 cm H

The Waterpot Small Round Olla covers a growing space approximately up to 25cm to 50cm in diameter. It’s perfect for:

* Grow bags and pots of 30 L and above

*Planter boxes

* 60cm x 60cm wide raised beds

* Can be uised in large areas but with more frequesncy. We would recommend the Waterpot Large Round Olla for this situation.

Waterpot Tall Olla or Waterpot Bird Olla - 1 Litres 10cm W x 26 cm H (Bird Topper is 6cm Tall)

The Tall and Bird Waterpot Ollas cover a growing space up to 2 feet in diameter 25cm in diameter. The taller length is perfect for narrow bags or pots and beds alike. In thee lattter, plant more frequeently at up to 50cm frequencies. Perfect for:

* Grow bags annd pots of 30 L and above

* Planter boxes

* Narrow trough style pots

Terracotta Watering Spikes - 100 mls 4.5cm Diameter x 18cm Height

These are perfect for hydrating individual small plants, both indoors and outdoors. We recommend 1 per small pot or plant. Whilst we sell small flat lids for the Spikes, we strongly recommend that the inverted water bottle be used to keep the Spike full and at a glance, know when it needs to be filled.

 Q: What plants can plant with the Waterpot Olla?

You can use the Waterpot Olla with any plant: vegetables and flowers, of course, but also trees and shrubs. Putting an Waterpot Olla by a new tree or shrub will help get the plant through that first year. If you feel the root system is well developed after one year, dig the Waterpot Olla up and use it somewhere else. Your local nursery would know more about normal tree and shrub root growth. Keep in mind that woody roots from trees and shrubs are very strong and over 2 or more years could wrap around the eventually crack it. Wisely use the Waterpot Olla to get these plants established, however long that takes, and then move the Waterpot Olla to use on another plant.

Q: What effect does environmental factors have on the performance of the Olla?

The surrounding environment greatly affects the performance of self-watering terracotta spikes. Factors such as temperature, humidity, and sunlight exposure can influence the rate of evaporation and transpiration, directly impacting the water requirements of your plants. Assess the environmental conditions in which your plants thrive and make necessary adjustments to the self-watering system to accommodate these factors.

Q: Will my Waterpot Olla freeze? 

It can happen! If you live in a climate that has hard freezes for more than a week, you should lift the olla out of the soil in the winter and store it in a dry place. If you live where snow and dusting mean the same, or where frost frolics with ice crystals, but that’s it, then the Waterpot Olla may be one in the ground year around. No matter what you choose to do, make sure the Waterpot Olla is dry in the winter. We advise you err on the side of caution.

Q: Do I need to water my new plants/seeds?

Yes, when seeds or young plants are put into the ground, they will need topical water until the roots are established enough to draw from the Waterpot Olla. After that, the Waterpot Olla will do all the work.

Q: How long will my Waterpot Olla last?

Your Waterpot Olla will last for years, with a little TLC. If leaves or light things fall into the olla, all the olla with water and as the item floats up, swish it out. If you and a lot of dirt has accidentally gotten in the Waterpot Olla (it happens), dig the Waterpot Olla up, tilt in on its side and spray the inside with your hose until the dirt washes out. You can clean your Waterpot Olla with a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water if your water is full of minerals. Pour one gallon of water AND one gallon of vinegar in your Waterpot Olla and let it sit for a few hours. Use a scrub brush for removing debris on the outside. First, remove the Waterpot Olla from the ground if using a vinegar cleaning.

Q: Why are the Waterpot Ollas produced in China?

We have been asked why we do not produce in Australia. When we started, we sought out an Australian pottery manufacturer and were unable to find a factory with the capacity, ability to scale, and consistency of quality at an affordable price. There are many wonderful small potteries in Australia producing premium hand made vessels however, with the exorbitant postal charges within Australia, none could produce the type of product we required. We were forced to look abroad and found a small factory that matched our requirements, values and needs. 

Since 2019 we have established a good relationship with our manufacturer and visited their head office and manufacturing site in the country in late 2020, to show our confidence and desire to develop the partnership. We were satisfied with the working conditions of the employees and their ability to support our growing business. 

Q: Are Ollas a new invention?

There is evidence that ollas have been used for over 2000 years in the most arid of lands across the globe.  

The potential of assisting gardeners through the toughest periods of water shortage and restrictions. Using 50–70% less water it is considerably better than drip irrigation, and virtually eliminates the surface-runoff and evaporation.

Q: How do they work in the soil?

A terracotta olla is buried with only the top opening above the soil surface and filled with water. The porous walls of The Waterpot Olla allow for water to dissipate into the soil as needed. However, because the pores are tiny, the water does not freely flow out of the pot.

Gently pack soil around the olla. Water will not disperse in air pockets and roots will not grow in air pockets. Use ollas in slightly sandy or coarse-textured soils. Soils with high clay content do not dissipate water well so we do not recommend them for very clayed soil.

The roots of nearby plants will grow towards and around the pot. The process works by soil moisture tension: the water is pulled out when the soil is dry. When the soil is moist, the water is slower to leave the Waterpot.

Olla irrigation promotes deep watering and dense root growth which facilitates more efficient nutrient and water uptake. Soil and roots do not go through extreme drying and wetting cycles, preventing bitter-tasting greens and cracks from developing in tomatoes or melons

The soil surface remains relatively dry in gardens with olla irrigation. This is something you need to get used to if you are used to wetting soil. This can prevent the growth of weeds and helps minimise some unwanted insect populations

Q: How do I install my ollas?

STEP 1

 

Bury the Olla to the Shoulders


Soak the Waterpot Olla in a tub of water fro an hour to overnight so that the pores are completely saturated.

IN POTS: situate the Waterpot in the middle or off-centre depending on what you are planting. Keep the Olla away from the edge by packing soil between the Olla and edge. 

 

STEP 2

Plant n Concentric Circles

Plant seedlings around the Waterpot, or if planting a shrub, place the shrub in the centre and the pot to the side of it. In garden beds, plant seedlings in radiating circles.

Like most things in nature, Waterpot Ollas don’t have hard edges or corners–they are beautifully round.

That means you should plant around your Waterpot Olla in a circular configuration to make the most ofthe olla's watering abilities. Think concentric circles instead of uniform rows.

The basic rule of thumb when planting around your Waterpot Olla is to plant your thirsty drinkers to the centre or closer to the olla and the lighter-drinking, more drought-tolerant plants to the outside. Also, longer, more creeping root systems are more able to travel through the soil to reach the water in the olla, while the smaller rooted plants need to be closer to reach and get what they need. Because of the watering efficiencies of Waterpot Ollas in raised beds and containers, inter-cropping and growing up (trellis) is encouraged and can provide a big success rate.

STEP 3

Fill the Waterpot

When planting is complete, fill the Waterpot olla with water and water in your plants well with a hose or watering can. Keep the regular surface watering going for a minimum of 2 weeks or until roots have settled.

STEP 4

Plant Your Seedlings

Apply a thick layer of mulch of your choice eg Sugar cane mulch or bark and DON’T FORGET to check the water level and try not to let it fall below half way to prevent mineral build up

OTHER TIPS

  • Bury The Waterpot leaving the neck above the soil surface to prevent dirt and mulch from washing Next, gently pack soil around The Waterpot Olla.
  • Plants or seedlings around The Waterpot Olla should be placed approximately 30cm around the Olla, although this will depend on the roots of the plant. Plant short-rooted seedlings closer to the olola eg. Lettuce and ones with longer roots that will grow towards the water source further away.
  • Place The Waterpots approximately every 30-60cm in your garden for maximum impact. This may take some experimentation to find the best distance apart. The closer the units, the more available water there is for your plants.
  • Use The Waterpots in planter containers at least 40 cm in diameter
  • Check the water level frequently and refill to keep the plants hydrated and prevent mineral build. The frequency depends upon the soil type, surrounding plant density, and weather. At times it may need refilling every seven days or as frequently as every other day.
  • The lid over the opening will minimise evaporation, prevent mosquitoes from breeding and slugs from entering.
  • Use The Waterpot in slightly sandy or coarse textured soils. Soils with high clay content do not dissipate water
  • Continue to surface water the young plants for at least two weeks after planting until established. You may need to continue this until the plants' roots have established and found the water source.
  • Plants with taproot sytems like carrots, radishes, parsnips are less lilkely to work with Ollas. Ollas should not be used to sprout of germinate seeds. Seeds and young seedilngs need to be surface watered until the root systems has developed enough to reach the ollas for regular and efficient watering. You will need to monitor this.
  • Your Waterpot can remain in situ for many season and can be cleaned when you re-pot or change over the plantings. See below for cleanig instructions.

Q: Can I use my Waterpot Olla to fertilise my plants?

Tight pores of the terracotta will act as a filter for any larger particles, and could clog SO WE DO NOT RECOMMEND IT. Potted plants in particular benefit from watered in soluable fertilisers. 

When you plant in your garden, the root systems have space to spread out. They have a lot of access to any water and fertiliser that is in your soil. Occasional fertilising for plants in gardens is usually all they need. When these same plants are in a container, they have a lot less root space. They can only pick up water and nutrients from the confined space of the pot. Hence soluble fertilisers are the best option for potted plants.

Q: Is there any special treatment for the Waterpot Olla?

If you live in a frost, snow or ice prone area, it is recommended that you dig up the pots at the end of the growing season to prevent breakage over cold winter months; or if a container garden, you move the containers to protected spaces.

When turning over your soil at the end of a growing season, clean off any clinging roots and scrub to remove any salt or soil build-up to free the pores of The Waterpot If you have a high mineral content in your soil a solution of 1:1 vinegar and water left inside the vessel for a few hours will help dissolve the mineral build up

Waterpot Ollas in a Pot

Watch the video -

How does a Waterpot Olla Work?

Waterpot Olla Video

How To Clean Your Waterpot Olla