Keep your plants watered using an Olla.

It can be really hard to keep your soil and plants well-watered in hot summers, especially when we have restrictions on using hosepipes in place. Luckily, there is an ancient and often forgotten method we can use.

What is an Olla?

Ollas are a very old (1000’s of years old!) method of maintaining moisture in soil. A traditional terracotta olla will look like an urn with a fluted neck, similar to a wine decanter. Olla’s work by being buried into the soil, where they can be filled up with water. The water in the Olla will slowly seep through the terracotta and into the surround soil. The good news is, they can be very easy to make at home.

What you’ll need.

  • 1 x terracotta pot (Must be unglazed).

  • 1 x Saucer big enough to fit over the top of the terracotta pot.

  • 1 x Putty or another suitable adhesive.

  • Optional

    • 1 x extra terracotta pot of the same size.

How to

Step 1

If your terracotta pot doesn’t have a hole in the base, you can miss this part and move to step two.
In order to stop the water escaping too quickly out of the terracotta pot, we need to seal up the hole at the base of the pot. This can be done with several types of glue and adhesives, but it’s vital you ensure they will be safe for your plants/wildlife, and they won’t leach harmful chemicals.

Step 2

Dig a hole big enough for the terracotta pot to fit in. This depends on how big the pot is you’ve chosen and can be adjusted accordingly.

An optional step

when making an Olla is to glue two pots together to make not only a bigger storage of water, but also a smaller footprint at the surface.

Step 3

Place your homemade Olla into the area you’ve dug out and backfill the area around with the left-over soil. Make sure the soil is touching the Olla as much as possible as this will help the water to wick out into the area.

Step 4

Once you’ve got your Olla in place, the final touch is to fill it up! It’s a good idea to place a saucer over the top to stop evaporation and to help prevent anything falling in.