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The Autopot system (wick method) is the hydroponic No Brainer! It is the only truly passive hydroponic system. It does not require electricity, pumps, timers, or aerators. The nutrient is fed to the plant’s roots via wick action.
Wick systems are best for slower growing, long-term plants like figs, African violets, patio tomatoes, and specimen houseplants (and lazy or forgetful gardeners).
Disadvantage: You will not see the “super-charged” growth as with other systems that flood the plants liberally with nutrient solution. But these do make a good, dependable, trouble-free
How Does The Autopot System Work?
The plant is potted in a large pot with a wicking mat at the bottom. The nutrient solution is gravity-fed into the saucer or tray the pot sits in. No electricity required! Each Autopot module includes 2 pots and one tray with a patented “smart valve” to regulate the flow of solution.
Build a Small Wick System
We recommend a “store-bought” module for this super-easy hydroponic project, the AutoPot®.
AutoPots® are patented kits that are essentially “self-feeders”. They can be used for hydroponic setups (no soil) or can be planted with traditional potting soil. The heart of the unit is the special “Smart Valve”, which regulates the flow of nutrient solution into the holding tray.
When connected to a simple gravity-fed reservoir, the Autopots® automatically provide irrigation to plants on-demand, then remain closed until the medium dries somewhat. This simulates the wet/dry cycle of natural rainfall and makes for a very productive system.
We have included this system in our free hydroponic plans not so much as a “build it yourself” project, but because we wanted to introduce you to this amazing system. Some very successful commercial greenhouses are set up with nothing but rows and rows of AutoPots®.
We also recommend a complete, all-inclusive kit called Hydrofarm Emily’s Garden. A super simple wick system makes a great intro to hydro.
Our instructions here provide two large pots, and the total cost is about $60 (not including a lamp and food). You can easily add more modules later to make a whole “AutoPot® farm” if you would like.
- AutoPot® basic module (comes with a grommet and 1/4” tubing). *Please note the new generation Autopots® are square, they look different from our photos here, but it’s the same product.
- Extra 1/4” black irrigation tubing if a longer length is needed [Home Depot]
- 2-gallon bucket [Walmart]
- Growing medium: 50/50 Coco coir and perlite