There are three contenders for the best self watering planter for tomatoes:
- The Oasesbox (Oases with an “e”).
- The Quadgrow Planter.
- Self Watering Grow Pot Tower (from Suttons).
- The Autopot Easy2Grow System. Not really a SWP but around the same price as the competition.
Each has its pros and cons and I shall explain them in detail below.
It is recommended that a grow bag be placed on top of three Oasesboxes to increase soil volume, especially if growing salad and beefsteak varieties.
The new Oasesbox is a self watering planter that is ideal for growing tomatoes, peppers and aubergines.
It is also great for cucumbers and many other fruit, vegetable and herbs producing produce where high quality is required.
What makes it good?
The Oasesbox is a reservoir container with a cone insert in which a plant grows.
When the reservoir is filled with water and nutrients, a plant is able to take up water and nutrients whenever they are needed.
One of the biggest problems with growing tomatoes, is when the soil dries out and plants are unable to take up nutrients.
This results in Blossom End Rot and other problems associated with nutrient deficiency and stress.
This is avoided with the Oasesbox because water and nutrients are available 24/7.
Features and Benefits
- It is a sturdy item that will last many seasons.
- Units can be placed around the conservatory, patio or garden individually or slotted together in different shape combinations.
- It can be turned into a grow bag extension by placing a grow bag onto three Oases boxes slotted together.
- The clever design ensures that soil does not end up in the reservoir but roots are able to grow out of the bottom of the cone and into the reservoir.
- It is very easy to clean and maintain – no capillary matting to change each season.
- The Oasesbox comes in three different colours with the choice of purchasing one or three units.
Comparing the Oasesbox to the Quadgrow Planter
- It is easier to set up than the Quadgrow Planter.
- The Oasesbox is a more sturdy and stable item.
- Each unit can be placed separately or slotted together in a straight or corner shape.
- No capillary matting is required.
- It is easier to water the Oasesbox reservoirs.
- It can be used as a grow bag extension to combine a grow bag and self watering planter for optimum use.
- A root disease cannot spread from plant to plant because each reservoir is self contained.
- Each plant has access to 15ltrs of water – that’s twice as much as the Quadgrow.
- The Oasesbox is slightly more expensive than the Quadgrow Planter.
- The Quadgrow Planter has room for four plants.
- The Quadgrow has greater soil capacity.
- You can choose the size of the pot you want to use on the Quadgrow.
What I like about the Oasesbox
- It is very easy to set up – put soil in the cone, water in the reservoir and off you go!
- It is a very sturdy item.
- There is no need for capillary matting which can struggle to take up enough water on a very hot day.
- The roots sit in a cone that is slotted down into the reservoir so it is very reliable.
- Roots are able to grow into the reservoir – important in high temperatures.
- The options of three different colours is good.
The Quadgrow Planter
The Quadgrow Planter is among the best self watering planter for tomatoes and has been around for a few seasons.
Like the Oasesbox, it is also very good at growing tomatoes, peppers, chillies and other premium fruit and vegetables.
It provides a reservoir of 30 litres and the water is absorbed into the pots above with capillary action provided by the capillary matting supplied.
Why has it been so successful?
Like all good self watering planters, the Quadgrow provides water and nutrients to its plants 24/7.
This keeps soil moist at all times, preventing many of the problems of dry soil and stress that infrequent watering causes.
What are the features and benefits of the Quadgrow Planter?
- It is a well made item and should last for many seasons if treated with care – put it in the shed during the winter.
- Each plant is watered from a shared reservoir using capillary matting.
- It can be placed on the patio outside in the garden or in the greenhouse.
- Roots are able to grow out of the bottom of the pots and into the reservoir.
- The Quadgrow Planter comes with pre cut tot shape capillary matting and a two part nutrient for the first season’s use.
Comparing the Quadgrow to the Oasesbox Planter
- Room for four plants in the one item.
- You can choose the size of pot you use.
- Comes with a two part nutrient for the first season.
- Produces very good results.
- Uses a shared reservoir.
- It only has a 30 liter reservoir for four plants – the Oasesbox has 15 liters for each.
- Stability on even surfaces may be an issue.
- Not as easy to set up as the Oasesbox Planter.
What I like about the Quadgrow
I’ve used it for several seasons and can recommend it as a reliable way to grow tomatoes – it is one of the best self watering planters on the market.
It can be a bit fiddly to set up but the results are worth the extra care needed to get it up and running.
The Quadgrow self watering planter was the first serious reservoir system on the market for the hobby grower in the UK.
The Self Watering Grow Pot Tower
Suttons also have a self watering planter for sale this season called the Self Watering Grow Pot Tower.
A nice looking item that will need some top support as plants grow.
- Looks nice on the patio or in a conservatory.
- Easy to use watering spout.
- Ideal for tall varieties that need support.
- The reservoir is limited so it is not suitable for holiday watering.
- Stability issues – It will need to be tied to a fence or wall, owing to the weight of a fruiting tomato plant.
- Not suitable for bush varieties.
- A little over priced for what it is.
Other systems that water plants automatically
There are many containers available that use an internal reservoir – from hanging baskets to window box planters.
These often have a very limited water capacity but are good for plants that do not need a lot of water mid summer.
However, tomatoes do need a lot of water on a sunny day, especially when fruiting, so the best self watering planter is one that contains as much water as possible.
The Autopot System
In some respects, the Easy2Grow Autopot system is a self watering planter (from a tank through a valve) because it is the plants that decide when it’s time for more water.
Working on a wet to dry cycle, each pot sits in its own tray which is filled from a valve when the water in the tray has been used by the plant.
This video explains how it works.
I’ve used the Autopot for many seasons and it is reliable as long as all your pipes and valves are kept clean.
Like the Oasesbox, it runs on the wet side and is perfect for watering in hot conditons. The Quadgrow runs on the dry side with only capillary matting to absorb moisture into the roots, however, when plants are more developed they send their roots down into the reservoir.
For growing a few plants the Oasesbox and the Quadgrow planters are excellent and both around the same price.
I think that the Oasesbox is probably a little better than the Quadgrow for flexibility and ease of use – but best with a grow bag on top of three boxes.
If you intend to grow ten or more plants, I think that the Autopot Easy2Grow System is probably the most suitable but it takes more time to set up and attention to operate.
My ratings for the best self watering planter for tomatoes are: