Hello, front porch.

Your Diplandenias are growing taller than a Texas tumbleweed.

Summer is here and it is HOT.

Of course, it is. It’s Texas. I’m not sure why I’m surprised every year when the 100-degree temperatures roll in.

And when all that hot shows up?

Trying to keep everything outdoors hydrated (including myself) is kind of a challenge. Are you hydrated challenged too?

Oh, good.

This is the post for you.

I have a couple of problems and a couple of solutions.

Don’t you love it when life provides its own solutions?

You are just minding your own business. Sitting there drinking coffee or reading a book or planning your weekend or trimming the bottoms of your bell bottoms or wondering when your hair will be cute.

And then?





Without any help from you, a problem solves itself.

I’m sorry. I got ahead of me and my problem self. Let me start at the beginning.

This is my front porch.

This is where I open my front door and get my mail and wave at random dog walkers on the street and sit on the front steps and talk to neighbors and hold the occasional yard sale.

It’s a wonderful place.

A couple of years ago we painted the brick on the porch and the railings and steps and the surrounding foundation. It is one of the best decisions we ever made. After we painted the brick and put everything back on the porch…

…it looked amazing.

And then?

It rained.

And the vintage metal planters that we had on the porch leaked RUST all over the brand-new porch.


I came outside after the rain to smell the aftermath of the rainstorm and there were pools of RUST all over the corners of the porch. I guess it had rusted before, but I never noticed it because the unpainted brick soaked it up.

I am generally not up for rust in my life, so we cleaned it up and repainted the corners, and ordered these planters.

I ordered them because they were cute.

And the perfect color.

I’ve been looking at this shorter version, too, for the front porch steps.

And tall.

And had the prettiest detailing on the sides.

And went perfectly with the rest of my porch.

But here’s the thing.

When they arrived?

I discovered they had a superpower.

I discovered that they solved a problem THAT I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW I NEEDED SOLVING.

Because inside of the planter there was this.

A false bottom.

There are ridges in the side of the planter and you can move the false bottom up and down depending on the height of your plants.

It moves up and down to three different heights. You can flip it either way depending on how tall your plant is.


Here I have it set on the highest setting. In other words, the false bottom is about 12″ from the top of the planter. These flowers are in ordinary plastic pots and sit on the false bottom right next to the top.

You can see the planter here.

But if I want to have topiaries in the fall? I could move the false bottom down a rung to leave extra space for the plant.

Or if I want to have Christmas trees in the winter? I could move the false bottom down two rungs to make sure the trees were at the right height.

Before I found this planter guess what we used?


Bricks that were heavy and hard to move and needed to be adjusted all the time and collected leaves and probably helped with all that rust.

But what if you want to plant plants in these planters instead of just putting pots in them?

And what if you lived in a place where it was HOT and water was in short supply?

Enter planter solution number two.

These planters are actually self-watering. Yep. They have a water reservoir in the bottom of them. You fill it up with water, and as the soil dries out, it draws water upward. Then your plant’s roots have access to water whenever they need it, promoting healthy growth and preventing over or under-watering.

To use the water reservoir, follow these steps:

  1. Start by drilling holes in the middle of the planter. You want to drill them right below the planting tray. Then add water until it spills out of the holes.
  2. Place the planting tray in the planter on top of the water reservoir, fill the rest of the planter with soil and add your potted plants.
  3. Next, determine the placement of the refill pipe: Choose a suitable location on the side of the planter for the refill pipe. It should be easily accessible and positioned at the top of the water reservoir.
  4. Drill holes for the PVC pipe: Use the drill to create an appropriately sized hole in the planter’s side. Ensure the hole is large enough for the PVC pipe to fit through snugly.
  5. Insert the PVC pipe: Insert one end of the PVC pipe into the drilled hole, allowing it to extend into the water reservoir at the bottom of the planter.
  6. Secure the PVC pipe: To prevent water leakage, apply waterproof sealant around the drilled hole where the PVC pipe enters the planter. This will ensure a watertight seal.
  7. To refill the water reservoir: Pour water into the PVC pipe, allowing it to flow down into the reservoir. Monitor the water level in the reservoir to avoid overfilling.
  8. Periodically check the soil moisture. Refill the reservoir through the PVC pipe whenever necessary.

But what if you don’t have outdoor planters with a self-watering feature?

No worries.

I got you.

I have another solution.

Here’s how I am keeping these beautiful Diplandenia blooming in 100-degree heat.

These plant watering spikes.

They are the easiest, simplest most cost-effective way (with over 2,000 reviews on Amazon) to consistently deliver water to my potted Dipladenia outside.

They are so easy to use. You just take the plant spike and stick it into the side of the plant (aiming it at the roots). Make sure the plant spike is inserted all the way into the plant so that the maximum amount of water can ooze out of the terracotta spike into the roots.

You can see the plant watering spikes here (and they are 41% off right now).

Then you just fill up a plastic water bottle, hold your finger over the end of it and insert it (super quickly) into the terracotta spike. It took me a couple of times to keep more water in the bottle without letting it spill out, but with a little practice it gets easier.

You don’t have to use plastic bottles if you don’t want to.

The instructions say that it works with other bottles, too, as long as the lip fits into the terracotta plant spike.

I’ve been using these plant spikes for about six weeks and my best tip for using these? Freeze the water bottles. The water lasts longer and they are so much easier to fill. I just put all the frozen water bottles in a basket and replace the existing water bottles every couple of days. Then fill those empty water bottles up and put them in the freezer to repeat the entire process again.

I love a happy ending.

I love beautiful black planters with adjustable bottoms.

But most of all?

I love an unsolicited solution. 🙂

disclosure: affiliate links are used in this post.

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  1. Image for va in NC va in NC

    Thanks for the water info.....I'm having a why didn't I think of freezing the water bottles moment?? I do use the water spikes and this idea of freezing the water is brilliant. Love your blog. And thank you again.

  2. Image for Claire Claire

    LOVE your front entrance and porch! Any idea what paint you used on your black railing? We will be redoing our wrought iron railing and need a paint recommendation. Thanks so much!

    1. Image for KariAnne KariAnne

      Claire, Yes! It's Tricorn Black. We used a paint designed for metal from Sherwin-Williams! happy day! KariAnne

  3. Image for Katy Katy

    Great post! I ordered the spikes and look forward to trying them out. Thanks KariAnne. You always have such terrific ideas! Good Luck in this Texas heat. Just finished watering all my plants in containers. Looks like a warm week here in Fort Worth! Stay cool!

  4. Image for LisaH LisaH

    Hi Kari ! We’ve used both types of solutions. I’m a water spike fan. Not so much on the self-watering planters. But that’s because I didn’t know about drilling the holes for drainage and aeration. We planted two beautiful boxwoods in jumbo sized self watering planters last year and lost them both - they drowned - because I didn’t know about the plumbing requirement. A word of caution - if you wait to drill the holes after water and plants have been in the pot for awhile - get ready for a smelly operation! This year the holes are drilled and we are experimenting with some other plant options. Your planters are beautiful. Hope mine do better now too.

  5. Image for Michele m. Michele m.

    Well I never! Seriously didn't even know that kind of thing existed. WOW, KA - I may need to get me some of those. (And you are soooo right, they are super cute!) Your home beacons a person to stop by and say hello. ♥

  6. Image for Lee Stearns Lee Stearns

    Not trying to be a smarty pants… but could you put the watering spikes IN the water bottle BEFORE turning it over and sticking them in the plant? Just seems easier!

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