Best Self Watering Planters – 2021 Buying Guide

#4 – Hydrofarm GCTB2 Heavy Duty Tomato Barrel with 4′ Tower

Buy Now


Self Watering Tower Planter


If growing tomatoes is your summer jam, the Hydrofarm GCTB2 is a self-watering tomato planter that reminds you of the cages many people use for growing this vegetable. A round planter on the bottom that contains the automatic watering system is topped with a 4″ tall trellis and cage that keeps the fruit growing upwards. The product initially had a round cage, but the latest version is square, which gives more room. Amazon reviewers reported that just a single small plant could grow into a 6′ giant with plentiful fruit.


  • easy-to-fill reservoir delivers water & nutrients from below
  • Sturdy frame to support the weight of the fruit
  • Trellis expanded to 4″ and can be further extended by adding extra rings and risers as the plant grows
  • Great for patios and apartments
  • Casters can be added to the bottom for easy moving


  • Users report that missing pieces and other quality control issues are common – but Hydrofarm customer service is usually helpful.
  • Not as sturdy as needed
  • The reservoir may not be big enough to satisfy thirsty plants.


  • Trellis expands to 4′ Tall
  • The water reservoir holds approximately 1. 3 gallons (5 L)
  • Easy-to-fill port in the side of the pot
  • Includes round base and planter, 16 vertical trellis risers, and 16 horizontal crossbars

Size of the Water Reservoir

The easy-to-fill reservoir holds 1.3 gallons or 5 liters and is accessible through a small square port on the side. You can add water to the reservoir every few days when the level goes down and fill it until the water begins to spill back out of the watering port. There is apparently no water level indicator, but some have suggested adding a homemade one. Tomatoes love water, so it may be hard to overwater them.

Oxygen Circulation

The pot contains a platform piece that positions the soil above the water. To prepare the roots for self-watering, you need to use potting mix or coco coir (perhaps missed with perlite), not just potting soil. As long as you use a similar soil with wicking properties, the roots will quickly fill the bottom of the container within about three weeks and receive hydration through the reservoir. When the plants are tiny, you can add some water at the top.

Ease of Use

If all goes according to plan, you just put a tomato plant or two in an adequately prepared container, add fertilizer, and let them go to town.


At $33 on Amazon, this planter is priced low enough for a gardener to buy several. Allowing you to accommodate a larger crop of tomatoes or other crops that climb or grow tall enough to need support.

Comparison to Other Self-Water Planters

Hydrofarm has several variations of the 14″ round trellis system. They also have a 10-gallon version, measuring 29.92″ x 13.78″ x 13.78″, which helps when growing tomatoes or other climbing plants.

As some critics complain about its sturdiness, a smart gardener might buy a tall self-watering planter from Lechuza and add a metal cage to support the plants.


While some buyers had complaints about the durability of the trellis system, there were few complaints about the pot itself. About 90% of Amazon reviewers were delighted with the robust tomato crops they harvested. For less than $35, this product might be worth a try.

Buy Now



Ready for more? Check out our #3 pick.


Leave a Reply