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  do I bury my Waterpot Olla?

Bury the Waterpot with enough of the neck exposed so that soil and mulch do not wash into the pot. Ollas should be buried about 60cm apart.
Dig a hole that is about twice the size of the olla itself. Ollas should be completely buried below the surface except for the opening at the top and
about one inch of the neck. Ollas should never be less than half full, or water will not seep out into the soil. 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 for 10cm away from the olla in every direction. When planting seeds, plant them within the reach of the water and surface water the seeds until the seedlings are established.

 Q: What plants can I use 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: 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. 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. 

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.


2000 years of olla use has proven the efficacy of this simple low-tech device in solving the issue of irrigation of gardens, pots and raised beds. Applied to our urban gardens and rural farm lands, this technique has

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.


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



Bury the Olla to the Shoulders

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. 



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.


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.


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



Theoretically, if the fertiliser you are using is completely water soluble (dissolves entirely in the water) it could work. But the 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.


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?

Simple Cleaning Instructions