• Can I buy OLLAS online?  

           Not from our website.  BUT some of our retailers sell online.

           Zinger Hardware

           Farm Curious




Paradigm Gardens

  • What is an OLLA?

            An OLLA is a clay pot used for irrigation.  It is buried in the ground to supply water to surrounding    

            plants at their roots which will grow towards and around the pot.

  • How does an OLLA work?

           The OLLA is made of low fired, unglazed, porous clay.  When it is filled with water, the water seeps out 

           through the wall of the pot.  The roots of the plants create suction to pull more water from the OLLA as 

           needed.  The roots will eventual grow toward and around the OLLA.

  • Why do I need an OLLA?

            For us, it was about conserving water.  But, there are many other reasons to use an OLLA:

            -If your water use is restricted.

            -If you want to save time by watering less often.

            -If you container garden.

            -If you have a small area which is difficult to irrigate or gets sun all day.

            -If you cannot water your plants on a regular basis (travel, work, summer home, etc.)

            -If you don’t like to weed.

            -If you want healthier plants and better vegetable production.

  • How do I use my OLLA?

The OLLA spacing will depend on plant selection, soil type and temperature.  As a general rule,  plant within  18 inches from center of OLLA.l.

This space will equal a 36” diameter circle around the OLLA.  

Optimum plant spacing and distance will also be influenced by the root system and size of the plant.  For instance, tomatoes are a large plant with an aggressive root system, so placing them at the edge of the wetting area will allow ample room for growth.  In a 4×4 garden, 4 tomato plants 18 inches from the center of the OLLA work well (see diagram). The smaller the plant, can be planted around one OLLA.  A little experimentation and common sense will serve you well when deciding.  If you have any questions, we’d love to hear from you.  

  • Do I plant inside the OLLA?

No.  The OLLA is partially buried and filled with water.  Plant OUTSIDE the pot.

  • How can I find out more about OLLA irrigation?

Ollas: Unglazed Clay Pots for Garden Irrigation


excellent Phd thesis from a student at the University of Pretoria

Clay pot irrigation for tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill) production in the north east semiarid region of Ethiopia | Tesfaye | Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics (JARTS)


  • What are the sizes of your OLLAS?

The OLLA is 13” from the bottom to the lid and 12” in diameter.  It holds a little over 2 gallons of water.

  • How often should the OLLAS be refilled?

This is determined by a few variables: how much water your plants use, soil type, temperature, and rainfall.  Also, the OLLAS are handmade so there will be some variation among pots. We find filing our OLLAS 1-2 times a week is sufficient here in Texas.  You’ll find the pattern for your area with a little observation.  It is best, if possible, to keep some water in the OLLA at all times.

  • How deep do I bury my OLLAS?

Bury the OLLA with enough of the neck exposed so that soil and mulch do not wash into the pot.  We have found that leaving 2-3 inches above ground/mulch level has worked well.

  • What plants can I use with the OLLA?

You can use the OLLA with any plant, keeping in mind that the OLLA may crack if used with plants that have a woody root.  For example, trees and shrubs put out a very strong, woody root so may eventually crack an OLLA.  You can use the OLLA to get these plants established and then move it to use again.

  • Will my OLLA freeze?

If you live in a climate that has hard freezes, you should remove the OLLA in the winter.

  • Why does the OLLA need a lid?

The lid prevents evaporation and keeps out mosquitoes, etc.

  • Do I need to water my new plants/seeds?

Yes, when seeds or young plants are put into the ground, they will need topical water until the roots are established enough to draw from the OLLA.  After that, the OLLA will do all the work.

  • How long will my OLLA last?

Your OLLA will last several years.  It is a clay pot, so some maintenance is required.  You can clean your OLLA with a a 1:1 mixture of vinegar and water.  Pour one gallon of water AND one gallon of vinegar in your OLLA and let it sit for a few hours.  Use a scrub brush for removing debris on the outside.  If you choose to leave your OLLA in the ground, we do not recommend putting the water/vinegar solution in your OLLA.