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Earlier today someone told me about a trick of watering plants when you are traveling. Basically, next to the plant there is a bowl of water with a tube inserted into it. At the end of the tube is the plant. He said that this process is natural, (water flowing against gravity) an requires no machinery. What is the name of this process?

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Capillary action

Capillary action (sometimes capillarity, capillary motion, capillary effect, or wicking) is the ability of a liquid to flow in narrow spaces without the assistance of, or even in opposition to, external forces like gravity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capillary_action

I also heard capillary elevation.

There are many explanations and animations on the internet:

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