Garden Moments: Olla Clay Pot Irrigation

Melinda's Garden Moment

Nationally recognized gardening expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moment television segments.

Melinda shares tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience.  New Melinda’s Garden Moment web tips will be added throughout the growing season, so be sure to check back for timely, seasonal tips to help you be successful in your gardens!

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Olla Clay Pot Irrigation

Conserve water, grow a more productive garden and take the guesswork out of watering your plants with clay pot irrigation also known as Olla irrigation. 

You can purchase Olla pots like these from a variety of online sources. Or create your own from unglazed terra cotta pots. Just plug the drainage hole with a rubber cork like I’ve used here, mounting putty or other waterproof material.  Test to make sure the seal is watertight before installing. 

Bury unglazed clay pots in the garden between rows or blocks of plants. Leave just the lip of the pot exposed and fill with water. Cover the opening with a saucer to keep out dirt, bugs and mosquitoes.

Water moves through the clay pot walls into the surrounding soil as needed.  This provides water directly to the soil where plant roots grow, so less water is lost to evaporation and run off.

A bit more information: Those gardening in cold climates will need to remove the clay pots when you do your fall cleanup. Since the clay pots absorb water and water expands when it freezes the pots will crack in cold weather.

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About Melinda Myers
Gardening expert, TV/radio host, author & columnist Melinda Myers has more than 30 years of horticulture experience and is a columnist and contributing editor for Birds & Blooms magazine. She has written over 20 gardening books, including Can’t Miss Small Space Gardening and the Midwest Gardener’s Handbook. She hosts the nationally syndicated Melinda’s Garden Moment segments which air on over 135 TV and radio stations throughout the U.S.  Myers is also the host of the recently released The Great Courses “How to Grow Anything” DVD series.  Melinda writes a regular column for Wisconsin Gardening and Chicagoland Gardening magazines. She also writes the twice monthly Gardeners’ Questions”newspaper column. Melinda hosted “The Plant Doctor” radio program for over 20 years as well as seven seasons of Great Lakes Gardener on PBS. Melinda has a master’s degree in horticulture, is a certified arborist and was a horticulture instructor with tenure. She’s the recipient of the American Horticultural Society’s B.Y. Morrison Communication Award and was inducted into the Hall of Fame of GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators. Myers’ website,, features gardening videos, podcasts, monthly gardening checklists and more.

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