Worried about your plants while you are on vacation? Gowtham Reddy, a NID graduate from Hyderabad, created 'Osmos’, a self-watering system for plants that keeps them hydrated for 15 days.
Growing a vibrant garden with healthy plants is a time-consuming process that takes years. However, for many gardeners, a common concern arises when they go on a vacation or a mandatory work trip, leaving their plants at the mercy of nature.
Unfortunately, all the hard work invested in the garden can be in vain when they return to find withering or near-dying plants.
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Hyderabad-based Gowtham Reddy was motivated to solve this universal problem. “This may not appear as a serious issue for many, but it keeps many gardeners anxious. We cannot ignore any problem,” he tells The Better India.
After speaking to gardeners and exploring several DIY drip systems, Gowtham worked on the simplest self-watering system called ‘Osmos’ that can sustain plants for at least 15 days.
A simple yet fascinating college experiment
After completing mechanical engineering, Gowtham decided to pursue a career in industrial design. In 2016, he joined the National Institute of Design, Gujarat. Here, he says, he was encouraged to follow the philosophy of ‘learning by doing’.
As part of his semester project, he interviewed a few gardeners to understand the difficulties they face in watering plants while away. “I focussed on designing the product in a simple manner while ensuring that the functionality is viable,” he adds.
In 2017, the engineer came up with a self-watering terracotta planter, made using 60 percent soil and 40 percent of low-weight-expanded clay. “I utilised the clay’s porosity property to design the planter. As clay is a porous material, it allows for air and moisture to pass through the walls of the pot,” he says.
Gowtham further added a glass fish bowl element to this planter design to keep the water level in check. The bowl has the capacity to hold 1.5 litres of water.
The easy-to-use self-watering system called ‘Osmos’ allows gardeners to keep a planted pot inside the water-filled bowl. The clay terracotta pot absorbs water and the soil inside the pot remains hydrated. Gowtham says this system helps sustain the plants for at least 15 days.
Interestingly, this planter is designed in a way that it doesn’t breed mosquitoes.
“I applied my design knowledge to create a planter that is both simple and optimised. At the same time, I also wanted my design to be fascinating for others,” he adds.
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Awarded for ‘designing for a better tomorrow’
After receiving appreciation from the jury, Gowtham launched this product under the brand ‘Floraqua’ on Facebook. “Usually, students do not take their college-level projects forward. They get occupied in the next semester or get a job. I wanted to market this project so that people can use it,” he adds.
So in 2018, he joined the Experiencing Live Action Business Course at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad to learn entrepreneurship. “IIMA’s team approved the product. As part of the course, I began creating different versions of the planter, and the team would handle its sales,” says Gowtham, who works with a Bengaluru-based interior designer company, MIPL Global.
“I also integrated the famous Rajasthani Molela craft into my design at the rim of the pot to give the planter an aesthetic appeal,” he adds. Priced at Rs 500, Gowatham was able to sell nearly 300 planters with the help of the team at IIM Ahmedabad.
In 2018, Gowtham’s innovative self-watering system received recognition at the Lexus Design Awards under the category of Best Student Project. The international design competition calls upon young creative talent around the world to “Design for a Better Tomorrow”. The next year, his innovation was one of the three best projects displayed at the Lexus Design Awards Ceremony.
Curious about the planter? You can get in touch with Gowtham Reddy for more info here.
Edited by Pranita Bhat. All photos: Osmos (Facebook).
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