Slow Soaking Hanging Soda Bottle Planter





Introduction: Slow Soaking Hanging Soda Bottle Planter

A different take on the inverted soda bottle planters. I find this is more effective in A) using more of the material being recycled, and B) creating a slow soaking watering system so water will not pour out the bottom after watering.

Step 1: Collect Your Utensils

I don't drink soda, so I asked friends to collect large soda bottles from their work places where recycling is not exactly custom practice (and my friends recycle at home so they were all out) for me for this project.
You will need:
Large size soda bottle
Duct Tape
Hole punch
Exacto or other blade knife
String, chain or wire for hanging

Step 2: Get Naked

Remove the wrapping from your bottle

Step 3: Cut at the Seam

Find the "seam" at the bottom of the bottle. If you look close it's there, usually right below or very close to the bottom of the wrapping. This will be your guidline for cutting. Just cut along this seam as straight as possible until the bottom comes off.
If your seam is very close to where the ridges form, that draw a line around the bottom, at least an inch away from where the ridges start. It is VERY important that the ridges be well intact to the now cut off bottom part.
Now the body of the bottle chould be cut and seperated from the bottom.

Step 4: Insert Removed Bottom

With the bottle upside down (balanced on its cap, cut end up) place the bottom inside the bottle, and let the newly cut edges line up evenly (this is why we cut as straight a line as possible along the seam).
The bottom will create a resevoir that will hold water, a little more than a cup I think.

Step 5: Duct Tape and Seal

I use duct tape for a couple reasons in this instructable but you could possibly do with out.
I use it to seal where the newly inserted bottom and body of the bottom line up so there is no slippage. Also I feel it helps the strength of the plastic maintain its integrity where is will be hole punched. I like to fold it in half and line it up so half is on the outside, half is on the inside, so that when we go to punch, it will be through four layers (tape/plastic/plastic/tape).
I'm a crazy Virgo and like it to line up perfectly. After I wrap it around I just fold it to the inside of the bottom as smooth and neat as possible.
and lastly, I like the nice black band at the top so I canuse a nice gold or silver sharpie to label the plant variety/name and that on black will POP and be easy to read.

Step 6: Cut Soaker Holes

After all is taped good this is when I like to cut my soaker holes. I cut little X's into the bottom most part of each little space on either side of the ridges with razored utility knife. Though you may be tempted do not enlarge where you made the cuts, leave them just as cuts do NOT poke something through them to make them large as that will ensure a leaky leaky bottom. The little slits allow water to pass through them but very very slowly, hence the soaker!
I do this now to the bottom so that if I slip my knife, it will be caught in the bottle, as opposed to slipping off and potentially causing harm.

Step 7: Holes for Hanging

I use my hole punch to punch holes. The evenly round nature of the hole ensures strenght. If you have a corner, it has the potential of tearing.
MAKE VERY SURE when you punch the holes, that you do so in the center of each ridge. The plastic is far thicker and stronger in the ridges, so placed here then hung, the bottle will have a significantly stronger area that it is hung from and it will be very less likely to collapse in in itself. Also having two layers of plastic makes it more ridgid and strong as well.
I punch my holes in the middle of the tape, not too close to the edge, and not too close to the ridges.

Step 8: Fill, Hang and Enjoy

I'm not going to go too deep into planting your plants in the bottle as there are a lot of resources out there. What I do is fill the bottle up half way (depending on how long the roots are. Keeping your cap on the bottle helps keep pour out and spills away at this time) then seal the bottom, but you could easily use a funnel after sealing the bottle. Insert the plant and fill to the top with more soil. Give the bottle a good watering while the plant is upright in it and get a good packing down of the soil so that when you turn it upside down it will not all spill out.Keeping you plants well watered and not allowing the soil around the neck to dry out will keep the soil from falling out until the stem of your plant is big enough to take up the neck space (at least in the case of tomatoes, whose stems get to a very large diameter).
Use your preferred methos of hanging it and ta-da! All done! I usually use what I have around, which has included wire and keyrings, or thick twine. I would prefer to use the nice chains that many retail hanging basket have, but I'm cheap and it would be like lipstick on a pig being put on cut up bottles and all.
I've thought about trying out Kryolon's Plastic Fusion line of spray paint to color them wild and fun colors, but decided I like seeing the root systems EXPLODE inside my cheap little contraption.

After you hang simply fill the resevoir with water and it will slowly soak into the soil.

Now watch it grow!



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    what keeps the dirt from falling out the neck when it hangs upside down?

    2 replies

    Moistened potting soil sticks together just fine. Even if it becomes bone dry afterwards, it still forms a ball that would stay in there. Also, plant roots would bind the whole thing together. It would actually be a bit of a pain to get the soil to fall out of a small hole like the neck of a soda bottle. So unless you were to use plain, dry sand (not recommended!) the soil falling out isn't a problem in the least. ;)

    Try a sock to help guard the bottle from the sun. Just clip the toe off of an old black sock ( I used a hockey sock which is kind of cheating because its close to 24" long, and colored) - but I imagine that the average black sock could still be pulled over the outside of the bottle. Do it before you plant...its much easier, I am sure

    The Joker, nice song 

    Just planted a tomato in a 2 litre bottle.  I will use foil to keep out the sunlight.  I bet the bottle gets too hot in the sun if it is naked. Anyone grown a tomato in a 2 litre bottle? I also planted a bell pepper in a second bottle. Will keep you posted if it works.

     ive been growing stuff in plastic bottles and ive notice that i get mold inside
    has any had this happen to them please reply

    1 reply

    When I have used these bottles as pots, I found that I, too, got mold growing, but only when I did not rinse out the bottles with very hot water.  When I did that before using them as planters, I had no mold or fungus.  I'm guessing it might be something to do with the sugar or other chemicals in the soda.

    I found that Arrowhead water makes 3L bottles, that have an invert iin the bottom- I will be seeing how well it works. I think I'll combine your water soaking idea with the inverted bump idea of 'Matt's Hanging Planter'
    I planned on sewing a cover with some fabric scraps.

    You weren't clear in what you were referencing as sounding wrong, you could just as easily have been saying my materials list sounds like it is wrong.
    Either way, it's a song lyric, and I don't need an imagination when the innuendo is more than implyed.

    Great! I made something similar last year and made a pretty skirt out of material I had around..took all of five minutes with fabric glue. Using these bottles for cherry tomatoes works great. Mine were loaded. Keep up the imaginative work!

    1 reply

    aw, thanks so much. It's good to hear yours worked so well with the cherry toms. And oddly enough, as a fashion design student I didn't even think to make little skirtings for them but looking back to my food catering days when we put table skirtings on the tables, it would be an easy enough neat idea.

    As mentioned, sunlight and roots dont mix, this is why planter bukets are opaque. Ive yet to see someone make this work with a tomato plant as well. Id like to though, I made four of these, painted the outsides and planted tomato in them. I think either our nightly winds have stunted and killed off 3 of the 4 or the container is just too small for tomato. If anyone has one of these 2 liter planters that works please feel free to chime in with a pic of a producing tomato plant in it.

    Watching roots is fun but watch closely for the deadly equation. "Moisture + nutrients + light = Algae. How often do you have to water?

    Try reversing step 2 and step 3. When you are OCD like Monk and myself the bottom of the label is a good cut line and is much easier to see than an illusionary seam that I cannot see even with my readers.

    Easiest and cleanest way to remove the label is to add hot water while your rinsing it. Let sit for a sec with enough hot water to cover the label. Then just gently peel it off. Normally you can remove the label in one whole piece glue and all.

    great idea, Im just wondering if a 2liter has enough root space for a tomato plant. Can you document the growth through the season for us and show your results?

    1 reply

    Mhm, that I sure can do. I also recieved a much larger sized soda bottle that I'm using for tomatoe as well to contrast and compare. I only imagined that they would suffice given the size of the mass marketed 'topsy turvey" systems. Granted they are larger than a 2-liter soda bottle, but I figured I would give it a go anyhow.

    You could use an old towel to make a curtain around the bottle to cover the bottle and still let you peek at the roots.