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Spy Finds is a daily series that unveils the coolest, under-the-radar products that you haven’t heard of until now. Each product is curated by our editors who want to help you discover cool finds you didn’t know you needed.
How much water do your plants need? How often should you water them? Do you know? How many plants do you have to kill before you finally learn the answers?
Don’t feel bad. Nobody knows. Maybe that’s why houseplants aren’t known for their longevity: because they’re not very good at telling you when they’re thirsty.
Now you can stop asking them. (Besides, the neighbors see you doing that and they think it’s weird.) These beautiful and ingenious Self-Watering Pots from the Museum of Modern Art Design Store are here to make feeding your plants goof-proof. All you need to do is fill the glass reservoir. The plant does the rest, absorbing only as much water as it needs, right through the terracotta pot walls. Basically, you’re off the hook as a negligent plant parent, so long as you keep the reservoir filled. And if you can’t do that, maybe consider a lifelike plastic plant?
We’ve established that these pots are great for your plants and for the clueless or lazy home gardener. But they’re also great for your home, simply because they’re so attractive. The Museum of Modern Art wouldn’t pick an ugly or a cheap-looking pot for your house, certainly. The reservoir is made of hand-blown glass, and the terracotta insert is an attractive two-tone shade, which is magnified by the water in the reservoir for a beautiful effect. The darker top half of the terra cotta is glazed for easier handling, while the bottom unglazed so the water can be absorbed through it. The reservoir is also dishwasher-safe.
The pots were developed in Sweden 15 years ago when Lasse Svedenstedt met Nils Plöjel, who had worked most of his life with ceramics. In Plöjel’s garage full of prototypes, the pair developed the innovative function for the Self-Watering Pots. They have been sold overseas as Wet Pot Systems for years, but they are now making their presence felt in the United States. And by virtue of being made from all-natural materials, they have a minimal environmental footprint. You can display your green and be green at the same time.
The pots come in three sizes: extra-small (3.7 inches high x 4.85 inches in diameter), small (5.2 x 6), and medium (6.5 x 7.4). The extra-small will fit one or two mini-cacti; the medium will happily house a potted azalea, bonsai tree, or fern. They’re safe for outdoor use but only when the temperature is above freezing, so even though they will look great on your patio or deck, don’t forget to bring them inside when the mercury dips. They’re perfect, of course, for indoor use. Put one on a windowsill, table, your office desk, or anywhere you want to add a bit of green in a cool conversation-piece planter. And unlike most flower pots, these won’t leak and stain your countertop if you overwater them. (Because you can’t overwater them!)
The MoMA Design Self-Watering Pots are suitable for most houseplants, but not recommended for succulents or orchids. And, to be honest, if you don’t have a very serious green thumb, maybe skip the orchids altogether.