Free Standing Vertical Planter




Introduction: Free Standing Vertical Planter

Here's a way to grow plants vertically using limited space and water.   It also allows seedlings to get up high into the sunlight, outwitting the aggressive invasive species in the yard, if you have them like I do.

You could make a flowering fence with these if you were so inclined.

I got the initial idea for this instructable from this one called "bottle towers".  However, mine are a little different in that they are free-standing and have a wicking system

Step 1: Supplies

About 6 empty plastic bottles, such as 2 liter soda bottles, or in this case Fiji water bottles.  The only restraint is they have to be able to stack concentrically once their bottoms are removed.

vapor mask

hot knife and/or scissors


strong stake


Step 2: Notch the Stake

Work a notch into the top of your stake if you can.

Tie the twine to your stake so it passes through the notch to help secure it there.

Step 3: Wrap Wrap Wrap

Wrap the twine around the stake as much as you care to.  Just make sure the mouth of your empty bottle can still pass over the wrapped stake.

This will encourage water to follow the twine down the stake to the very bottom.

Step 4: Cut Doors Into Bottles

Cut an upside down U shaped flap in the sides of five of the bottles to create little doors.

You can do just one side, or all four sides of the bottle, it's up to you.

Step 5: Cut Off the Bottom

Cut off the bottom of  all six bottles.  You won't need the bottoms for this project, so you can toss or recycle those if you like.

Step 6: Pound Stake Into Ground

With a hammer or a big rock, pound the stake into the ground so it stands up straight by itself.

Step 7: Add Bottles

Slide one of the five bottles with doors cut out onto the stake, with the mouth pointing downwards.

Fill it with soil.

Open the doors up and drop a few seeds behind each door.

Add the next bottle in the same way, taking a moment to slide them together so the top of the second bottle fits concentrically and snugly into the open bottom of the previous bottle.

Repeat with the remaining four door bottles.

Step 8: Add the Watering Bottle on Top

Place the bottle into which you didn't cut any doors on top so it fits snugly.

This will be the container into which you will pour water to feed the system.

Fill it with water and watch the water cascade down through the successive bottles.

Step 9: Keep the Slugs Off of It

To keep the slugs away from the planter, I surrounded the bottom of it with ashes from the fireplace.  I am told that slugs will not try to cross over the stuff.

Step 10: Wait About Two Weeks

I'm not really sure how often to water these.  Because it's very hot right now and I put these in a bright sunny place with no shade, I've been filling the top bottle with water once a day.   However, depending on the weather and shade, you may only want to water them once a week.

Depending on the seeds, in a few days you should be able to see the seeds sprouting through the clear plastic doors. 

When they start to get leafy, open the doors a little to help them find their way out.

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    10 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Paper bags might work in place of the coco. If you crumpled them up for texture and then used them to coat the inside of the bottle, it would protect the roots and wick water at the same time. You could rip holes for the leaf doors.

    I wouldn't worry too much about over watering as the excess should run into the soil.

    Great idea, especially for those with limited space.

    What a great Idea :). Thanks for sharing, you could add some coco-peat in the soil to retain moisture.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I haven't heard of coco-peat yet, I will look out for it though. I'm trying not to buy anything to keep the costs down by just using compost started last year as the soil.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love this! The only problem is that roots do not like sunlight, so maybe Tarun's idea of cocopeat could serve two purposes.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Sure, you could also paint the bottles with a plastic adhering spray paint if you were so inclined. Though if it is for food, maybe not. But, yah, we'll see how it goes. I'm thinking there's enough soil in there for the roots to spread out into the center of the bottle as well.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! What if you let the wick irrigate from a larger elevated water source?