Anybody use Stewart Balconniere planters?

I put stones on the bottom shelf to stop soil filling up the reservoir of water at the bottom of the planter, then soil on top. I left the bit of the shelf that drops right to the bottom of the planter as I realised that some earth needs to be in contact with the water.  I guess the water is drawn up by capillary action but there are no instructions either when I bought the planter or on the Stewart website.  There was a picture on the planter label that suggests the water reservoir should not be full of earth, just water.

However the soil seems too dry and I'm having to water the top of the earth as well as fill up the reservoir.  Should I remove the stones even if the soil then drops though the small holes in the bottom shelf?

This is a link to the planter:

Thanks for any advice.


  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..I've got these planters, although I have the slightly smaller 35 and 30cm and in green.... I'm not quite sure what you've done there with yours.... with each pot, in the base, there is a square infill with little holes in it, this sits at the bottom of the pot...there will be a gap underneath...this is the reservoir...

    ... you should remove the 2 plastic tubes that are attached underneath this infill shelf... you will find that one of these tubes fits inside the other [just about - it's a tight fit, you need to push one tube into the end of the other about an inch or so, it won't go any more... then you will have 1 long tube.... this long tube is pushed into a hole in the infill that you should be able to see at the bottom, so you will then have your pot, with infill at the bottom and a long tube inserted into the base, which will be long enough to be well above the top rim of the container... are then ready to fill with compost - no need to use stones - fill with compost to just below the rim of the pot.... so then you should have a container filled with compost but with the plastic tube sticking out above several inches higher than the pot.... this tube, which remember has fitted into the base reservoir... is used for feeding and watering....

    I find that, initially after planting up the container, I shall still water like you would a normal container...i.e. I won't use the tube until the plant has grown on and the roots are likely to have reached the bottom... then I shall start using the tube for feeding and watering.... this is when the reservoir really comes into use...

    hope you can understand all that.. I also found instructions to be minimal to say the least and had to work it out for myself to some degree...


  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..if you like, tomorrow Monday, I can take photos of mine, they are in the greenhouse planted up with my tomato plants, and you can see what they should look like.. however I won't be able to photograph the base obviously, as I've filled them up...

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICTPosts: 10,604

    Not sure if this bit of info is of use or just an annoying example of my stupidity:

    I had a look at the Amazon site and it says "drip tray sold separately".

    Sorry if I am the drip.

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..I haven't bothered with the drip trays...although they would be a useful addition perhaps...

    ..I've just had another look at that link, and if you look to the left of the photo of the container, you can see 3 little images to highlight with your mouse pointer, and you can see on the 2nd image with the little yellow flowers, the tube is sticking out of the top... on the lower image, you can see clearly what the bottom of the container should look like... before you fill with compost... the way I was trying to explain above....

  • LunarJimLunarJim Posts: 49

    Hi Salino and pansyface,

    Thanks for the detailed replies Salino, I didn't hold out much hope for a response last night!

    I have the feeding tube in place, mine is set up as you describe apart from the layer of stones just above the infill.  I took the 2nd image on the amazon site literally when filling the planter a few weeks ago, as the infill has holes in it I figured that the soil would go through into the reservoir unless I put the stones in place, that was why I did it.  Maybe it doesn't matter if the soil does go through the holes in the infill so I'll re-pot and remove the stones.

    As you suggest I'll water from the top also until my blueberry plants have grown.  It would be great if these containers work as I'd like to be able to go away in summer without worrying about plants dying.


    You can see the drip tray in this photo at the bottom, they just catch any overflow of water if one fills it too much and are not necessary if the container is outside:

  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..I think they're nice containers Jim.. I prefer them to grow bags...last year I grew celery in them, outdoors...they did very well, surprisingly... best of luck...

  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 7,198

    They look interesting - if you are using them for tomatoes, how long does the water resevoir last?  Would it get through a weekend's absence (Ie 2nights away?)

    The Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones ......
  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609

    ..this is my first year growing tomatoes in them, so cannot answer that one for now... but I would think going away for a couple of nights wouldn't be a problem...perhaps a little longer, even....  

  • Brent  KBrent K Posts: 1
    Just bought one of these and read with interest your comments, as I too was puzzled by the lack of instructions. What occurred to me is, does the name balconniere suggest that this sits on an enclosed balcony with no rainfall. Seems to fit all criteria.
  • maccy2maccy2 Posts: 1

    Have used these troughs for the last 5years in my greenhouse on raised shelving, growing toms ,cucumbers, chillies & the likes. With good results.& can leave them 2or3days in the summer with out watering.

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