The Pottery Post Blog

Save Water With Ollas


What is an Olla and why do you need them?

The definition of an olla is a low fired, clay ceramic vessel used to save a gardener time, energy and water.  Potted planters watered this way do not put stress on water sources and help potted plants to live long healthy lives.  A clay olla watering jar is considered an inexpensive way to maximize the output of your garden while minimizing overwatering, runoff and water loss.


When watering your garden containers, it is sometimes difficult to get enough water to the roots of the plants only without the water flowing out the bottom drain hole and on to the porch or patio surface.  With the olla planted in the center of the flowerpot, the water will seep out the sides of the porous clay directly into the area where the roots are located.  Many times, the roots will be drawn to this source of water and wrap themselves around the olla bottle.  Water irrigation for garden planters becomes super-efficient and has little runoff or evaporation.


Bury a watering clay olla in the center of your garden container, leaving 2” above the opening of the bottom so dirt and mulch don’t fall inside.  Gently tap soil around the olla making sure there are no air pockets.  Fill with water.  Plan on checking the water levels of the ollas on a regular schedule until you have worked with them for a bit to understand how much and how often you should refill them.


Small size watering ollas are good for porch and patio pots.  Usually, space would be about 2 feet long like a window box planter or wide like a round garden pot or garden bowl.  The medium size is best when you have large planters where you need to water around 3 feet.  The large size is better for potted trees, large shrubs or the largest planters you have.  You can always use multiple ollas in each pot or window box.


FYI:  When leaving for a short vacation, Ollas are the perfect solution for your flowers to stay healthy and watered while you are gone.  With the slow release of water, they should be good for up to 10 days or so.


So, a quick recap:
Ollas save water
Good for when on Vacation
Saves money and is inexpensive to purchase & place.
Self-regulating watering system
Promotes root development
Improves soil structure

[Read More] Evaporate Stress With Tropical Plants
[Read More] Cleaning Tips For Terracotta Pots
ollas, watering vessels, watering pots, watering bottles, oyas, olas, arizonapottery, arizona pottery,

Post Last Updated: 1/7/2020 12:37:00 PM 

Make Your Own Olla Water Pots

Olla Irrigacion
With water becoming such a crisis around the world, we saw this great tip for making your own Olla water pots for irrigation in your garden or landscape.  Many are using irrigation systems but here you can create your own whether you need a lot or a few areas. We love the idea of planting these in the center of a garden pot for a manual watering system.
Take 2 terracotta clay flower pots.  Use the size that best fits your needs. These can be as small at 3" or as large as 18".  Cover the hole with silicone, or any material that will plug the hole.  Apply waterproof glue around the rim of the pot.

Turn another pot the same size upside down, do NOT plug that drain hole but set on the top of the base pot where it is glued.  Apply a large rubber band, piece of string or whatever to hold them together.  Let them dry completely.  Now you should have 2 pots top to top. With the bottom
terracotta planter's hole plugged.  

Place in the center of a garden pot and place your plant materials around it.  Cover with soil so that only the hole in the top is showing.  This is make the roots circle the pot where the water will leach out slowly. Fill the pot with water.  Check every couple of days to see how much water is being used.  You can temporarily plus the top hole with a rock or cork piece. Turning a clay saucer over and use as a top can work also. This will slow the evaporation down.

This will keep the water cool and stable, letting it seep thru the pots into the soil and onto the roots.

Now of course if you want to buy our watering pots, they come in many sizes and shapes to meet all your watering needs.  Click here.
Olla Sistema De Irrigacion-1

Read more.....Create a fragrant garden in a pot.
Read more.....Create a fairy garden in a pot.

Post Last Updated: 12/14/2016 1:12:45 PM 

Raise Your Own Collards in Pots

 16027 Arizonapottery-Pottery-Post-Blog
The luscious leaves of collard greens look as good as they taste!
Easy and versatile, collards have graced Southern gardens and tables for generations.  A cousin to kale and cabbage, these nutritious, leafy greens thrive in the cooler weather of fall and early spring.

Plant:  Depending on where you live, you can plant collards in late summer and early fall.  Use a large enough garden planter that they have room to root up!  The love growing in garden containers, so use any large planter that you have or treat yourself to a new colorful style from Arizona Pottery.  Some favorites are "Champion", "Blue Max" and "Vates".

Nuture:  Collards like to be fed.  Choose a fertilizer high in nitrogen because you are encouraging leaf growth not flowers!  Water regularly and deter collard loving caterpillars, especially in spring, with a insecticide.

Harvest:  Use a small knife or clippers to cut the entire plant about 4" from the soil.  The plant will send new leaves from the remaining stem.  You can also pop off single leaves by hand, starting from the bottom.  Wash well before cooking.
Read more.....Considering climates when planting.
Read more.....Create an Autumn Porch

Post Last Updated: 12/19/2016 10:39:12 AM 

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: 1/11/2017 10:32:00 AM 

 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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