Coffee Container Slow Drip Watering




Introduction: Coffee Container Slow Drip Watering

Around our house, there are a few shrubs that tend to dry out too much in the hot summer sun. The hard lesson learned: if I am away too long and its been hot and dry, the shrubs will turn brown and crispy by the end of September. I needed something other than the water hose; so I pulled a few items out of the recycling bin and used them for this simple low water project.

The containers have tiny holes in the bottom that allow for slow drip watering for specific shrubs. They are portable so I can move them to different plants as needed. I could have used a milk jug with pin holes in the bottom; but using a coffee container is lower profile, more durable and holds up to the sun. Besides, it smells like coffee! Painting the container could help it blend in with the garden. Therefore, no nasty letters from the HOA or questions from the next door neighbor as why I have milk jugs strewn about the shrubbery.

Forget about using a hose! That water would uselessly run off because of the hard baked clay. Use this project instead.

Step 1: Tools/Materials


  • Scissors
  • Drill
  • Hole Saw
  • Needle or Punch


  • Milk Jug
  • Coffee Container
  • Paint (optional)

Step 2: Add Top From Milk Container

To provide access to fill the container, use the top off an old milk jug. The top should be sealed but I didn't like pulling the lid off each time I filled the container. Besides, I did not want to make a handy home for ground bees and their buzzy friends. The milk jug top allows for access and a way to keep critters out. For once.

Step 3: Cut Hole in Lid

Cut a 1.5" diameter hole in the lid for the milk container nozzle using the hole saw attachment for a drill. You could also draw a circle and cut out the hole with scissors or an exacto knife. Just be careful.

Step 4: Insert Nozzle in Lid

The nozzle will snap into the hole. Note that it's held by the rings on the milk jug nozzle.

Step 5: Add Holes to the Bottom of Container

Add a few small holes to the bottom of the container. You can use a needle, punch or small drill bit for these holes. Note that I wanted the water to drip out slowly so I only added 9 holes.

Step 6: Snap on Lid

And there you have it. Ready to go!

Step 7: All Done

These are both half size containers. I like the green version (Folgers Classic Decaf) since it's closer in color to the plants.

Step 8: Pictures

Place the container next to your plant and fill with water. You will see similar versions of this type of watering that bury the containers in the ground. You could do that with this version as well. However, I wanted something portable, which I could fill without dragging the hose around the garden.

Step 9: More Pictures

Incognito slow-mo water container out in the garden.

Low Water Gardening Challenge 2016

Runner Up in the
Low Water Gardening Challenge 2016

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    6 years ago

    How long does it take for a full container to drain completely?


    Reply 6 years ago

    Well, mine takes only 15 minutes to drain because I drilled so many holes. So, you could start with one tiny hole. Which would take a long time to drain- perhaps a few hours.


    Reply 6 years ago

    I think I would add a short length of PVC to the bottom, capped, with a few tiny holes in the side, so that the water is being delivered underneath the soil. This would need a little more work to install, since the drain-pipe would need to be burried... Ooooh, while I'm at it, why not put in a right-angle joint, have the pipe go more than a foot down, and have a long horizontal pipe with periodical holes to deliver water from below to a whole row? Ohhh... Great instructable, but you're giving me ideas for greater heights.... I think I will use this for my vegetable garden next year... one of these days I will get around to recording one of my projects and make one of these instructables myself...


    6 years ago

    My mom has used the square gallon milk jugs (i.e. Costco Kirkland Brand) to water her tomatoes for over 40 years. She just pokes 4 tiny holes in the bottom, fills them, and puts them on the dirt close to the tomato stalk on the shady side. They thrive like crazy. You can slow the water going down by putting the cap on and slowly unscrewing it until it only lets in the amount of air you want for how fast you want it to drain. :) These smaller versions of yours are great. I've been thinking of trying mom's idea with some of the smaller plastic half gallon & pint sizes for awhile. They even have a tiny 2 cup sized Chocolate Milk jug at Walgreen's. They're so cute - they look just like a large milk jug, just tinier. :)