Saving Water In The Garden: Ollas

Ollas are used to water plants underground, at the roots. This method of irrigation is very efficient because the water goes right where it’s needed, to the plants roots, without loss through evaporation.

Ollas are unglazed, single-fired, clay pots that are burried in the soil. The pots are porous, so water passes slowly through the walls and seeps at a constant rate that provides consistent moisture to the adjacent soils and plants. They can be used in the ground, raised beds or in planters.

I’ve been using ollas in my garden for about 1 1/2 years. They have made a big difference. Since the ollas have been in the garden, the plants are bigger and stronger, I using less water for irrigation, and the plants get more water even though I am using less to water them. I prefer Dripping Springs Ollas because –

  • They have covers – minimize evaporation and keep out mosquitos
  • The are bigger than most (2 gallons) – they hold more water and need to be filled less often. In Houston, they need to be filled about once a week in the winter and every other day in the summer.
  • They reach more plants – they can water plants up to 18 inches from the pot
  • They have a bigger mouth – easier to fill once the plants get bigger.

In Houston, they are available at Joshua’s Native Plants.