Make an Irrigation Olla for Under $20

Traditionally an Olla is a simple pot used for cooking or as a funerary urn but ancient civilizations have used them for irrigation for thousands of years. Chinese texts date the practice back at least 2000 years and we have found evidence of this technique in ancient Rome, the middle east and South America. This simple technique has been helping humans cultivate their gardensĀ  long before we developed modern plumbing and irrigation practices.

You can purchase Olla’s from various garden stores but they generally cost $40 -$80 a piece. For a fraction of that price you can create your own using pots and strong glue.


  • 2 terracotta pots (6″) – $2 each

  • Gorilla Glue

  • 2 tiles or stones – free because I found them

    Make an irrigation Olla

Step 1mae an Olla

  • Glue tile over the hole in the bottom of one of your terracotta pots. (be careful with the glue and be sure to read the warnings and directions)

irrigation ollaStep 2

  • Gorilla Glue the two pots together and either tape, clamp or weight the top pot down while the glue dries and expands.




Step 3

  • Insert your Olla into your garden and fill it with water. Use the second tile or rock as a lid over the hole. (you could also use a pot dish as your lid)


This simple solution will keep you garden green and happy on those hot summer days. The water will slowly absorb through the pots and into the soil around it providing your nearby plants consistent water.

Home made irrigation olla

I used a pot bottom as a lid and painted it to make it look cute!

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