Mastering Plant Integration: Custom Joinery Solutions for Thriving Indoor Gardens

Note: Before delving into this guide, it’s recommended to read “What is a Mulch Plate and Why is it Necessary?” for foundational knowledge.

Exploring Four Methods of Watering Plants in Custom Joinery

  1. Traditional Direct Planting
  2. Enhanced Direct Planting with Mona Tank
  3. Indirect Planting with Sub-Irrigation
  4. Indirect Planting with Sub-Irrigation and Wicking

Each approach has unique requirements and considerations.

Traditional Direct Planting

This method, a classic approach, involves placing soil in a container, adding a plant, and watering it. Watering can be mechanized using sprinklers or drip lines connected to a main water line, or done manually. Regular watering, possibly daily, is essential.


  • Watertight Container
  • Drainage points
  • Mains water
  • Timer (at a minimum)


  • Easy to setup
  • Easy to maintain
  • Programable in sections
  • Wireless Systems for remote access
  • No physical labour required to water
  • Limited skill required to maintain


  • Can be unsightly with tubes
  • Need an overflow for water run off If using sprayers they can spray out of the planterbox
  • Water is lost due to evaporation
  • Water source is required
  • Tubes can be a trip hazard
  • Heavy
  • A tendency for root rot
  • Not recommended for indoors
  • Waterproofing for indoors is essential
  • Some skill is required to setup
  • Can be expensive
  • Can be time consuming 3 Different layers of grow medium required

Direct Planting Sub Irrigation

Sub-irrigation is a method where water is stored in a water reservoir in the soil and released gradually over time.


  • Watertight container
  • Water reservoir


  • Easy to maintain
  • Limited skill to maintain
  • Works with all plants
  • No mains water is required
  • No drainage point is required when indoors
  • Mixture of plants regardless of water requirements
  • Excess room for plant growth
  • Best System for large indoor and outdoor plants
  • Great looking finish


  • Expensive setup
  • Heavy Messy and time consuming plant swaps
  • Chance for pest or mould growth in stagnant water
  • Skill required in setup



Non Direct Planting with Sub Irrigation and Wicking

This technique involves a grow pot suspended above the waterline, with a wick drawing water from the reservoir as needed.


  • Watertight container



  • Open to most plants
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Quick and mess free replacements
  • Above eye level no need to mulch finish
  • Large water capacity
  • Visual or water in reservoir
  • Lightweight
  • Water many plants at the same time


  • Must have watertight container
  • Can be an expensive setup if using a mulch plate
  • If using a variety of plants they need to be of the same water requirements
  • Chance for pest or mould growth in stagnant water
  • Skill and knowledge required to water correctly, with little margin for error



Non Direct Planting With Sub Irrigation and Wicking

This is where the plant is kept in a grow pot that is suspended above the waterline. A wick is used to draw water up from the reservoir as needed.


  • Watertight Container
  • Mulch Plate or suspension method



  • Open to almost all plants
  • Massive margin for error with watering
  • Ability to use a variety of plants
  • Large water reservoir
  • Easy and clean replacements
  • Great looking finish
  • Lightweight
  • Water Efficient
  • Quick and low skill maintenance


  • Can be an expensive setup
  • With a suspended system need to think about the weight
  • Chance for pest or mould growth in stagnant water
  • Need a watertight container
  • Need a mulch finish




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