“I have a plant over-watering problem & was pretty quick to snag a Marly - great solution”
- Sierra S


Understanding Capillary Action: Nature's Watering System for Plants

Capillary action is a fascinating natural phenomenon that plays a crucial role in the life of plants. This process, essential for the transport of water from the soil to the upper parts of plants, not only supports plant health and growth but also offers significant benefits for gardeners. 

Whether you're a seasoned horticulturist or a casual plant enthusiast, understanding capillary action can help you make more informed decisions about plant care and save you time and money.

What is Capillary Action?

Capillary action, also known as capillarity, is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of external forces. 

This process occurs due to the combination of adhesive forces between the liquid and the surface of the narrow space and the cohesive forces within the liquid itself. 

In the context of plants, capillary action allows water to move upward through tiny tubes called xylem vessels, from the roots to the leaves and other parts of the plant.



How Capillary Action Benefits Plants

For plants, capillary action is vital. Here's how it works:

  • Water Uptake
    Water is absorbed from the soil through the plant's roots. Due to capillary action, this water travels up through the plant's xylem vessels, reaching all parts of the plant.

  • Nutrient Transport
    Along with water, essential nutrients dissolved in the water are transported to different parts of the plant. This is crucial for the plant’s growth and development.

  • Cooling Mechanism
    Water that reaches the leaves evaporates in a process known as transpiration. This helps to cool the plant and maintain its internal temperature.

Benefits of Capillary Action for Gardeners

Understanding capillary action can transform how you care for your plants, offering numerous benefits:

  • Improved Watering Efficiency
    Knowing that plants can draw water through capillary action helps gardeners water more efficiently. Instead of overhead watering, which can lead to water wastage and disease, you can focus on ensuring the soil is adequately moist.

  • Healthier Plants
    Consistent water supply through capillary action ensures that plants receive a steady supply of nutrients, promoting healthier growth and more robust plants.

  • Reduced Labor
    Gardeners can reduce the frequency of watering by using techniques and tools that enhance capillary action, such as self-watering planters.

“Marly’s self watering system works great for plants that need frequent watering. The planter is elevated so I’m not worried about moisture accumulation underneath”
- Alina F


Self-Watering Planters: A Natural Approach to Growing

Self-watering planters like Marly leverage capillary action to maintain optimal moisture levels in the soil. 

These planters typically consist of a reservoir that holds water at the bottom, and a wick or similar mechanism that draws water up into the soil as needed.

Benefits of Self-Watering Planters

  • Time-Saving
    With a self-watering planter, you don’t need to water your plants as frequently. This is particularly beneficial for busy individuals or those who travel frequently.

  • Cost-Effective
    By reducing water usage and minimizing the need for plant replacements due to inconsistent watering, self-watering planters can save you money in the long run.

  • Consistency
    These planters ensure that plants receive a consistent supply of water, which is crucial for maintaining plant health, especially during hot or dry periods.

  • Reduced Risk of Overwatering
    Self-watering planters help prevent overwatering, a common issue that can lead to root rot and other problems.
    Marly planters include a clever water level indicator which shows you exactly how much water is left in their reservoir, and when to top up (usually every 30-45 days).

“The self-watering feature is a true savior, especially for someone like me who tends to forget to water the plants sometimes. It's evident that Marly's goal is to make plant care as hassle-free as possible. The days of worrying about my plants while being away are gone!”
- David D


Additional Tips for Using Capillary Action to Your Advantage in the Garden

  • Soil Choice
    Use soil mixes that promote good capillary action. Soils with proper aeration and good water-holding capacity, such as those containing perlite or vermiculite, work well.

  • Mulching
    Apply mulch around your plants to retain soil moisture, enhancing the effects of capillary action.

  • Smart Planting
    Group plants with similar water needs together to optimize watering efficiency and ensure all plants benefit equally from capillary action.

Capillary Action Matters For Gardeners

Capillary action is a vital process that supports the health and growth of plants. 

By understanding and utilizing this natural phenomenon, gardeners can improve their plant care routines, save time and money, and enjoy more vibrant, thriving gardens. 

Self-watering planters are an excellent investment, harnessing capillary action to keep your plants hydrated and healthy with minimal effort. 

Shop the Marly Garden range now to discover a new way of growing and say goodbye to dead plants!

“My plants are already thanking me. I’m thrilled that I won’t be coming home from a vacation to dead plant babies!”
- Min L



Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.