Frequently Asked Questions
How do Plant Straws work? Let me tell you!
I've listed a couple of questions that I've received about how to use plant straws, why to use them and when.
🌱 This is a growing section, so if you're question is not here yet please don't hesitate to use the form below - I'd be happy to help!
How to install your Plant Straws?
How do Plant Straws work?
Q: Oo how does it work?
A: Hi! I’m glad you asked! 😍
Short answer: A wick runs through the straw. The wick conducts water, which makes sure your plant stays moist!
🤓 Long explanation: As one end of the Plant Straw sits in water, capillary action will strive to balance the moisture level between the two ends of the wick inside.
The tube (the straw) makes sure no water dries out to the air on the way over.
To adjust for specifik needs of different types of plants and sizes of plants, use a longer or shorter length of the wick in the soil.
Physics makes the Plant Straws water your plant!
Can I use Plant Straws for all my plants?
Q: Could you do this with any type of plant? I have a lot of plants but my job likes to make me work out of town from time to time and ive been trying to think of something i could use to keep them watered while im out of town. Sure friends and family can stop by but it would be nice to not need that.
A: Plants have different needs. With Plant Straws you can put thirsty plants, such as swamp and rainforest natives, on a similar care schedule as your succulents, cacti or Mediterranean plants. I don't recommend Plant Straws for plants that prefer to cycle between dry and moist soil.
How long can I leave my houseplants?
Q: I'll be gone four weeks this summer, can I leave my plant with just a plant straw??? or how long does it last?
A: With a Plant Straw installed - you can indeed leave your plants for quite some time and the bigger your vase/vessel is, the longer you can leave them! In addition to water though, plants need fertilizers and light.
When indoor plants are not getting enough nutrients, they adapt by growing slower, and loose leaves. Consider a slow-release fertilizers if you want to leave for a long time. To reduce germs and bacterial build up, do not add liquid fertilizers to the water in your vase.
Prepare your vacation watering
- At least as long before leaving as you plan on staying away, install the Plant Straw
- Watch the plant over the coming weeks, and adjust the length of the wick if needed
- Remember to swap for a larger vase if it’s emptied faster than anticipated
Best-practice self watering
- Do a test! Set up the plant straw before leaving, track the progress, and leave home knowing confidently how long your plants are fine for 🌱🍹
- Less water will evaporate from the vase if it has a narrow opening, making it last longer
- When using an organic liquid fertilizer: Flush the soil with water until the water starts leaking through the drainage holes. Let it drip off, then give your fertilizer solution of choice. Repeat this on the recommended schedule, typically 1-2 times per month
How to fertilize self-watering plants?
Q: Can I add fertilizer to the water vessel?
A: We do not recommend this, for several reasons. Water soluble fertilizers are (generally) not supposed to be given a little at the time. As they contain live microbiome they shouldn't be exposed to UV light, and adding fertilizer to the water can cause unhealthy germs and bacteria to build up in the vessel.
Instead, to give fertilizer to self watering plants, we recommend that you first flush the plant with water until the water starts leaking through the drainage holes. I.e normal top watering! 🤗 Let it drip off, before giving your fertilizer solution of choice.
Repeat this on the recommended schedule of your fertilizer product, typically 1-2 times per month.
Another option that will keep your plants self supported for longer is a slow-release fertilizer, mixed into the soil of your plant.
How to style Plant Straws?
Q: Where do you get the glass from?
A: These are my favorite sources when I look for new vases and vessels to combine with plant straws!
- I love using wine bottles that remind me of a nice dinner with friends
- Second hand and thrift stores, there are so many beautiful objects in this world
- Local artisans (working together with a glass artist to create something custom for plant straws is one of my dreams - make it come true?)
- Or... Use the vases I have in most of my photos!
I accidentally pulled the string out of my Plant Straw!
Q: I just bought a Plant Straw today! Unfortunately, I accidentally pulled the string out too much and now one end is stuck inside the straw. Do you have any tips or videos on how to get the other end of the string out? Thanks!
A: Hi! To get it back in, you’ll need a fishing line or a flexible needle, and if you don’t have one, I’d be happy to send one over! It's also included with the replacement cords.
We are so thankful you brought the issue to our attention! To prevent this from happening, we’ve begun making knots at each end of the cord before packing Plant Straws!
Plant Straws bought directly from us have knots at the ends! If you got yours from one of our resellers that have had them in stock for a long time, consider making knots on your own as you’re unpacking ☺️)
When is it necessary to change the cord?
Q: Hi there! When is it necessary to change the cord in my Plant Straws?🤗
A: Hi! You don’t have to change it unless you see a change in how your plant is doing, or you’re repotting 😊
How to adjust your Plant Straws?
My plant is not getting enough water
Q: I've had my plant straw installed for about two weeks now, but I'm afraid my plant is not getting enough water. The top layer is all dry & the leaves are getting crispy... should i water as well or what do i do??
A: First question - The top layer will stay dry, and the moisture is now deeper down where the cord and roots are.
Second question, crispy (or yellow) leaves could be a warning sign and something might be wrong. Trouble shoot by watering your plant, if it cheers up your assumption is right and it's not getting enough water from the plant straw.
- Reinstall the plant straw, and use a longer length of the cord in the soil this time
- Make sure that the entire cord is moist and squeezed out before re-installing
- Water your plant thoroughly after you've installed
- Keep an eye on your set up, and repeat the above steps if necessary
- Bonus: Consider continue top watering your plant with nutrients around once a month or so, to maintain a natural routine where you check in with your plants.
If the plant does not do any better after its been given water, consider other factors. Has it been moved to a sunny spot? Are the seasons shifting? Check for root rot as well, to make sure the plant is not over watered.
My plant is getting to much water at once
Q: Just after I installed, the vase emptied out in a matter of hours (i noticed it the morning after) What happened? The soil is soggy and water even leaked out on the tray.
A: Your Plant Straw just became a siphon. I'm so sorry! For this to happen, two things needs to be true:
- There is zero air inside the straw. There are usually tiny air pockets in the cotton cord, but in your case they were all filled with water.
- The water level is higher than the end of the straw.
Remove the Plant Straw, and allow the soggy soil to dry up. Squeeze the entire cord before re-installing. It should be moist, but not dripping wet. If you get this part right, you shouldn't have to worry about the water level in comparison to the plant.
After you've installed - Place the set up on a larger tray/non-sensitive surface and make sure it's OK.
Is my plant dead? ☠️
Q: I think my plant is dead, what did I do wrong?
A: I’m sorry about your plant! Learning how to care for plants takes a little time and (unfortunately) a couple of failures for most of us.
House plants need a balance of light, nutrients and water. What the right balance is varies between species, but you can gain a lot of insights from understanding the plants natural habitat. Because yes, our houseplants exist in nature too!
For example, desert plants have different needs than rainforest plants. The first comes from a dry, sunny habitat where the temperature can vary greatly between day and night. The other comes from a humid, often shaded and warm habitat.
Ask yourself how you took care of the plant, and try to figure out how well that matches the needs and habitat of that specific plant to gain insights!
I forgot to moisten the wick before setup, will it work?
Q: oh no i forgot to wet the string before planting, will it work?
A: No, I’m sorry but proooblably not. It will take longer time for the wick to soak up water and lead it over to the other side.