Recycled Bottle Self Watering Hydroponics




Introduction: Recycled Bottle Self Watering Hydroponics

About: I am a DIY hobbyist by passion and a Power Engineer by profession. Most of my works are related to Solar Energy and Arduino.

For Hydroponics system watering plant in the container is very important.In market you can get from the simple to the costly products that can feed and water your container plants.But if you prefer to spend your money on plants, rather than "systems," you may want to consider a simple and inexpensive method using wicks. If you're leaving home on vacation for a week or two, or you simply don't have the time to water dozens of containers every day, wick watering can be an efficient, do-it-yourself solution to keeping your container plants happy.

Advantages :

1.The wick hydroponics are very simple and efficient.

2.It is Inexpensive

3.You can find parts at home or local stores very easily.

4.It is leak proof for indoor use.

5.It is a passive system and there are no pumps or electricity needed.

6.It does not use any moving parts.So no need to worry about any system failures or parts breaking.

Step 1: ​Materials:

1.2 liter Soda bottle



4.Knife or Scissors

5.Soil Mix (eBay)

6.Hydroponics Nutrients (eBay)

Step 2: About the System :

This hydroponics system consists of

1. Top Container

2. Bottom Reservoir


4.Growing Medium (Soil Mix)

5.Nutrient Solution

How it Works ?

The theory behind self watering system is a simple one. A wick is run from the top of the pot down through a drainage hole and into a reservoir holding water. As soil in the pot dries out, capillary action from the wick draws water in from the reservoir and re-hydrates the plants. When the soil reaches it's moisture bearing capacity, the wick stops drawing water.

Step 3: Prepare Top Container

Remove label from the bottle.

Cut the soda bottle using the scissors/Knife seven inches from the bottom.

Now top container is ready.It will used as a holder for the soil and roots.

You can cover the cut edges with duct tape that will also help keep the top from slipping down into the bottle.

Leave the cap on the top.

Step 4: Prepare the Wick

Drill a small hole in the cap.The size of the hole is large enough to thread some twine through.

Thread twine (used double) through cap and tie a knot on the inside to prevent it from slipping through.

The length of the wick is nearly 8 inch.

Untwist the wick( top side of the cap) to absorb more water from the reservoir.

Materials for Wick

The wick itself is probably the most important part of the wick system, because without a good absorbent wick the plants would not get the moisture and nutrients it needs.Though I have arbitrarily chosen a string lying around my home but you should know the best material for it.

Some common materials are things like, fibrous rope, propylene felt strips, tiki torch wicks, rayon rope or mop head strands, braided polyurethane yarn, wool felt, wool rope or strips, nylon rope, cotton rope, stripe of fabric from old clothing or blankets etc.

When to Change the Wick

Over time, wick material will slowly get clogged with soil particles, algae, minerals, or fertilizer salts.

Expect to change them every 6-8 months, which is also a good time to freshen up the soil in your containers.

Step 5: Prepare the Soil

The right soil mix is important for self watering system. A mixture with 50 to 75% coco 25% perlite will work good.

I bought a soil mix a which is mixture of regular soil and 50% perlite from local store.

Fill the top of the bottle with soil mix.

You can buy the soil mix from eBay

Step 6: Add Nutrient to the Water

Fill the bottom with clean water.

Plants need nutrients to survive.So hydroponic nutrients needs to be added to the water.

Mix nutrient in it.I used NPK with 20:20:20 water soluble nutrients.

Make sure to fill with enough of your water solution to submerge the wick in the bottom of the bottle.

You can buy hydroponics nutrient from eBay

Step 7: Transplants or Seeds

Invert the bottle top and place it on its water reservoir.

This method is good for both seeds and transplants.

Transplant :

This is very easy.Just take a plant and plant it on top of the soil mix.

Dip the string into the water to submerge it.

If you put transplants in, and they were started in soil you should be sure to clean all of the soil off the roots before planting them.


Make 7 evenly spaced small holes in a circular manner near the edge of the bottle and one at the center.

Use your finger with slight pressure to do this.

Place seeds in to the holes. Cover the seeds with soil. Lightly sprinkle water to moisten the soil mix.

Which Type of Plant You can grow : Smaller plants such as herbs and lettuce work great with this systems.

Enjoy with your hydroponics system !!!

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Question 2 years ago

Although this is a great recycling idea, you’re still using soil. My understanding of the definition of hydroponics is growing without soil. Has anyone tried this in an actual hydroponic medium?


6 years ago

Nutrients are not needed. I tried this myself without the nutrients and so far, it is still alive and it has already been one month.


7 years ago

saved my money! Thanks


8 years ago on Introduction

One of the most useful and simplistic instructables around...Double plus good!....


8 years ago on Introduction

thanks alot if i make this for my mom she will be thrilled


8 years ago on Introduction

Now I can grow some Coriander , Ginger, Mint and other Herbs for my Kitchen Garden.


Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

Yes you can grow some herb plants.I tested with coriander and mint.Surprising result within a small time duration.


8 years ago

like it !! I will definitely try it