The Pottery Post Blog

Olla Clay Pot Watering Pots

   Many years ago Spanish settlers brought to the American Southwest the fruits of their homeland, and with them, the ancient practice of clay pot irrigation.  These pots, called "ollas" were soon recognized by the indigenous people of the Southwest for their water conserving qualities and adopted into native gardens.  By combining the design of native produce and traditional styles with the age old practice of clay pot irrigation,   Agua de Vida is preserving our rich heritage.

     Over time, modern systems were adopted, but these modern systems are not as efficient as irrigation by seepage by buried ollas.  Modern systems, even surface drip irrigation systems loose more water to evaporation and are more likely to clog than this olla system.  When they are used properly, plant roots will proliferate around the moist clay jar, intercepting water before it can move through the soil by capillary action.  This water intercepted by roots will then be used in the plant transpiration stream.  The results are 100% of applied irrigation water being absorbed by the plants.

     Our future is tied to the availability of water.  Recognizing this fact, many cities within the United States have recently placed strict regulations on private and commercial water usage in attempts to slow the depletion of our limited water sources.  Ollas put water where the plants need ti most-at the roots, virtually eliminating evaporation, ollas are one of the most efficient ways of irrigation.  Discovering new ways of saving out water has never been more critical.

Conserving our water means conserving our future.



Containers application:
  Bury Olla halfway in center of pot.  Place plants requiring the most water against the olla, low water plants towards the edges of the container.  Additional surface water may be needed to establish new plants.  Once plants are established, the olla should be refilled regularly based on the moisture content of the soil, NOT on the amount of water in the olla.  To minimize evaporation, cap the olla with a stopper or saucer.  Watering times will vary based on olla size, soil type, & application.

Ground application:  Although ollas can be used in flat ground, it is not recommended.  If you choose to do so, follow the same directions for containers.

Mound application:  One of the most efficient means is within a mound or raised bed.  Because the olla irrigates from the inside out, a mound maximizes the planting area and assures that the maximum amount of applied water goes directly to the plant roots.  Mounds can be shaped to accommodate multiple ollas.

We sell these Ollas, click here to see more.

Post Last Updated: 9/18/2023 3:20:58 PM 
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 Comments (12) Last comment made 
4/18/2016 8:17:40 AM 
pam 4/18/2016 8:17:40 AM 
Lois, I don't know anyplace in WA where you can buy the ollas. WE do sell them online and ship all over the US.

Lois Maass 4/15/2016 7:31:53 PM 
I live in Washington . Is there a store in Washington where I can buy Ollas

DAVID QUASS 3/3/2015 1:07:25 PM 

pam 10/31/2014 9:54:25 AM 
Cora, Thanks for contacting us. We do not have a retail store but ship the ollas across the US. I am sorry but I don''t have the name of a local person for you to visit.

Cora Bucana 10/31/2014 4:48:21 AM 
I live in New Mexico and I am interested in ollas. Please give me directions to your store. thank you

Kent 8/6/2014 3:01:25 PM 
Looking for a source of Olla pots

pam 7/24/2012 4:17:03 PM 
mercedes - i am sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. i wasn't notified that your comment was made. anyway, unfortunately we only carry the two styles even thought they come in different types. the bottle and the pumpkin are all that we carry in the different sizes.

mercedes 7/9/2012 2:18:49 AM 
can you please post pictures of each "olla" type/model/size, as well as their approximate dimensions? this information is not displayed on the purchasing page, and the unlabelled pictures posted there show these pieces as having quite a number of shapes and sizes. some of them, for example, have longer and wider necks, others shorter and narrower. another piece looks like an elongated squash, not like a bottle or pumpkin. it would be nice to know what each type/model/size looks like and its dimensions before ordering.

mori kimmel 5/16/2012 9:02:41 AM 
hello, i am interested in purchasing some ollas to use in wine crates that have herbs in them. how many ollas would you recommend in a crate - and which size? thank you! mori

pam 5/4/2012 2:26:24 PM 
darlene, these don't have a drain hole. the water does seep through the clay. we sell alot of them and people really like them so if you try one - please let us know what you think. thanks

darlene 4/29/2012 3:22:16 PM 
pictures will not enlarge. how many holes are in the ollas for the water to get out or does the water just seep out through the clay?

tayten 1/7/2012 12:55:57 PM 
i actually found this more entertaining.

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