Gift Guides

Gift Lab: How to Keep Plants Healthy While You’re Away with the Self Watering Planter

October 23, 2013

Jen | UncommonGoods

I travel a lot and my plants tend to suffer because of it. Turns out it’s easier to find someone to take care of cats than plants – probably because the plants don’t complain as loudly as the cats do. Over the years I’ve tried a bunch of gizmos to get the right amount of water to the plants, but they were all either ineffective, the wrong size for my plant, or just plain old ugly.

Let me be the first to say that I was skeptical about this planter. It was a good size and attractive, but it seemed too good to be true. The last of my non-succulent plants just died (thanks, cat-sitter), which meant that this was going to be a long experiment. Armed only with slow-drinking succulents, I took a chance on this planter.

May 2013: I got my materials together: some succulent planting mix, some decorative rocks, and some new succulents from my favorite store. I took the lid off of the water compartment to check it out, but neglected to put it back on when I started filling the planter with planting mix. Lesson learned: put the lid on because that planting mix goes everywhere and it’s really hard to remove from the water reservoir.

Self Watering Planter With Succulents | UncommonGoods

June 2013: I hadn’t checked the water in a month but the plants looked happy and healthy. The water level had definitely decreased, though it was hard to tell whether this was from the planter soaking up the water and it evaporating, or if the planter was delivering water to the succulents. I filled the reservoir and went on vacation for 3 weeks without leaving watering instructions for the cat-sitter.

Succulents | UncommonGoods

July 2013: I came home to find that (a) the cats were fine and (b) so were the succulents. They were larger than they were when I left and the water was about half gone. I was starting to become a believer.

Growing Succulents | UncommonGoods

August 2013: Baby succulents began popping up – this was the clearest sign that the planter was delivering water as promised. Another sign that the planter was working: the succulents that I hand-watered were all near-dead from over-watering.

Beautiful Baby Succulents | UncommonGoods

1. This planter actually works.
2. The planter has got to be much more impressive with something that needs more water. I’m going to get another one and try to grow some herbs.
3. Put some little plastic feet at the bottom of the planter to raise the planter a bit above the windowsill or table it’s sitting on. I found that the water in the reservoir affected the paint on my windowsill.

The Uncommon Life

Uncommon Personalities: Meet Jen Grim

August 12, 2013
Jen Grim
Meet Jen Grim, UncommonGoods Director of Customer Service

My hometown is…
Hamburg, NYThe best customer interaction I’ve had at UncommonGoods was…
This one is hard – there are a lot of memorable experiences. The ones that stick out the most are the ones where the customer went out of their way to thank me for doing something extra for them. It’s our job to make our customers happy and it’s always heartwarming to hear that our efforts are appreciated. One customer sent a photo of him and his friend holding a ‘thank you’ sign. It’s hanging up in the customer service room right now.

I’m inspired by…
New experiences. Trying something new and allowing yourself to sometimes be uncomfortable is the best way to truly experience life.

When I’m not working, I’m probably…
Planning something – the next vacation, my budget, a to-do list. I’m a planner; I just can’t help it.

An uncommon fact about me…
I’m a licensed skydiver but not a licensed driver. Does it also count that during one of my trips I used the following modes of transportation in one day? Taxi, bus, large plane, horse, small plane, boat, bike and walking.

My favorite place to hang out in New York City is…
Sunset Park. It’s a great tiny neighborhood full of multi-generational families who spend all day at the community park playing together and socializing. Sunset Park has a great community feeling to it. Plus, the best tacos EVER can be found here. Trust me – they’re amazing.

My style is…
Style? Not sure you can call what I have going on ‘style’. The rules are: I don’t iron, I don’t hand-wash, I don’t use a hair dryer, I won’t polish shoes. My clothes, shoes, and accessories need to be able to handle the rough treatment I dole out. I can always be dressed and out the door in 10 minutes.

Working at UncommonGoods I’ve learned…
That it’s OK to make mistakes. Really, it is. As long as you always make new mistakes. I’ve also learned that it’s OK to fail now and then. (‘Fail’ is not a bad 4-letter word around here.)

With a pile of stuff in front of me I would make…
(You’re given a carpet square, a box of nails, an empty milk crate, ribbon, a small recycling bag of empty soup cans, and a houseplant of any variety you choose.)

An awesome cat tree for my two cats to play on, complete with cat grass as the reward at the top of the tree.