I bought myself a little Bonsai the other week from a local gardening place. The Bonsai is in a little 'self watering' pot according to the label (which I have since discarded).

Its a normal pot, with another that sits inside it. Much like a lot of other self watering pots. The problem with mine is that the smaller inner pot has no hole for water uptake. The little inner pot is completely solid apart from the upper opening with the plant.

My question is this, considering the inner and outer pots appear to be terracotta, is it possible that water is still able to pass through the inner pot? My gut feeling is that I have simply bought a dud one that hasn't had the hole added for whatever reason. If this is the case i'll just water it normally.


EDIT: Photo (while you can't see the base rest assured that it is totally solid).

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2 Answers 2


Unglazed terracotta is a porous material so water can pass through it, albeit slowly. This can be a very effective way of delivering water without drowning the plant. For bonsai, overwatering is quite easy, due to the limited water usage by the plant, and I would be tempted to stick with the setup as supplied unless you want to change it for some other reason.

  • Thanks! I was aware that water could pass through though I didn't know how quickly. I guess I can monitor the plant and see if it looks to be drying up.
    – Christian
    Commented Jun 20, 2017 at 0:10

Firstly, I don't think that's a bonsai. I think it's just a plant they called a bonsai so they could sell it. Also, the water should transfer only as the plant needs it. It evaporates out of the top and soaks an equal amount from the reservoir. That's if the top pot is unglazed. This one has a shine that makes it look glazed. You also need to be careful of salt build up with this type of pot as there is no way to flush it.

  • Below the dark brown glaze is unglazed. Water seems to be going down in the reservoir so I think its working. :)
    – Christian
    Commented Jul 4, 2017 at 2:06

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