Several years ago, Mike Rimland started working with Tony Costa, who at the time was the owner of Costa Farms, to develop a self-watering system that would make consumers’ most dreaded gardening chore — watering — as simple as possible. Although the initial product didn’t catch on, Rimland kept working on the concept, convinced that a solution wasn’t far off that could really make a difference for consumer success with plants, and ultimately, for the industry. The result: WaterWick.
WaterWick is such a simple concept, you’ll wish you’d thought of it. But developing it wasn’t as simple as it looks, Rimland says. For two years, he tried and tested a number of materials for the wick, which relies on the science of cohesion or capillary uptake. Finally, the patented blue-and-white string-like material, which doesn’t degrade and continues to function for years, proved itself as the winner. The patented system includes the wick, which is inserted into the plant and locks into place with WaterWick’s Click Stick. Plants are able to draw water from the reservoir at the bottom of the pot as needed, improving plant health while reducing work for the consumer.
WaterWick is ideal for houseplants and indoor gardening, which is where the broadest use of the product has been proven on an international scale, but growers are currently trialing it for patio containers for garden plants, as well. WaterWick is part-owned by Visser, which is developing a machine for automated application, but it can be applied manually with the Click Sticks. Growers can use the system during cultivation for better growing results, and even, controlled watering at retail to improve shelf life and sell-through to consumers. WaterWick also offers a number of accessories for retail, and marketing support.
With the popularity of houseplants, especially among Millennial consumers or those new to gardening who may not understand how much water plants need or how often to water, Rimland says WaterWick improves their success rate, making them more likely to collect more plants.
“Plants are not like pets — they don’t tell you when they need water — so WaterWick takes the guesswork out and helps consumers be successful,” Rimland says.