Easy Self Watering Plant Container

About: First off you should know my names Christopher Swoboda. I'm 18 years old. I love creating things and building new stuff to test. I love working out doors, and plan on owning a garden as soon as i work som...

All it takes is a water bottle and swiss army knife to make this wonderful self watering container. It operates just like an Earthbox. Its very easy to put together and is very low maintenance. It'll make growing plants so easy you'll want to grow an entire garden.

Step 1: Gathering Supplies

This is a very easy build, and many ways to modify on to it which i will show after. So as for the supplies you'll need.

1. Water Bottle
I suggest getting one that is shaped like an hour glass, they tend to hold up better and provide and excellent base to build upon.

2. Swiss army knife
I used the tiny army knife in this instructable, but I found the larger red army knife better because of its reamer. It makes the hole punching part much easier.

as for the mods, you'll need:

black heavy trash bag

Step 2: Prep Your Bottle

Dump the water out, drink it, or save it so that you start out with an empty bottle. Also, it's not really necessary, but remove the label (makes it look nicer).

Step 3: Cutting the Bottle

Now that your bottle is looking nice and ready, cut the bottle about half way. I cut mine at the top of where the bottle dips, there was a very distinct edge. If your finding it hard to cut a straight line, tape a marker down and spin the bottle where you plan on cutting it. Then you'll have a nice guide line to cut on.

Step 4: Poke Holes

This is where the reamer tool on the knife comes in handy a lot, I had to use the scissors because i lost my good pocket knife just before making this. Poke holes in the cap and about an inch down the top. I punched my holes like the five side of a dice on the cap, then 8 holes just under the cap, and four more below that. You want the holes small enough so that soil doesn't fall through, but large enough to drain water.

Step 5: Planting the Seed

Fill the top portion of the bottle with your choice of potting mix, leaving about an inch. Place your seed on top the soil and finish filling with soil. Once you done that water the soil to get it nice and damp, let the water drain out.

Step 6: Fill the Bottom

Now fill the bottom of your bottle with water. You want it to where it just touches the cap. And there you have it, your plant is good to grow, just check on it ever now and then to make sure it got plenty of water and the soil is nice and damp.

Step 7: About Three Weeks

These plants have been growing for about three weeks, i have not done anything to them since i put them in this container. It has worked very well for me and I hope it does the same for you!

I experimented with one and taped it to the base, it is the only plant to have grown through the cap and established roots in the water. Maybe its just coincidence, I'm not sure.

Step 8: Trash Bag Mod

This mod is to help further contain the water inside, as well as ward off algae from growing inside the reservoir.

Rip off a piece of the bag about a 18" by 18"

Place it over the planter.

Remove access, and cut the top so the plants can grow through

Step 9: Chopstick Mod

This mod is for those people trying to grow vines or help support a small plant.

Simply stick the chopstick into the potting mix, and secure the plant to it via a small string.

Also if one chopstick isn't tall enough, find a straw that fits around the chopstick and use those to build an even taller structure. Just keep in mind not to make your structure to top heavy or it will be prone to falling.



    • Paper Contest

      Paper Contest
    • Tape Contest

      Tape Contest
    • Weaving Challenge

      Weaving Challenge

    9 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I took a nestle 23.7 fl oz bottle with a fliptop -> cut it in half -> turned the top half upside down and cut the flip cap off. The mouthpiece already had holes so it turned out great!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    thank you for this instructable greatchrismyster! I rushed to make my own out in my garden and I will use this technique in my school garden. I always get worried my vegetables dry up during the weekend. I can't drive during the weekend to come water coz i live far from school. the students are loving the garden, so since it's very hot here, i will try your technique, plus we are recycling water bottles already.

    thanks to pyromomma for the tip about the coton thread tip! ingenious


    8 years ago on Step 3

    I remember making bongs the same way...


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable, I think I will use this for starting my plants.


    9 years ago on Step 9

    Great idea but may I ask what plant that is you are growing? Very intriguing looking. Thanks for a good instructable!

    1 reply

    they are a mixture of different types of sunflowers, some are dwarf, others are the 5 to 6 foot kind that have been dwarfed because of the pot


    9 years ago on Step 9

    Nice job! I love to make these. A hint for plants that only like to be barely moist: A strip of cotton sheeting or a length of cotton string threaded through one of the holes in the cap before planting will help slowly wick the water into the soil. The cap does not have to touch the water. Hint 2: Once your seeds are growing well, transplant to a larger container - make a self watering one out of a larger "bottle" like a plastic gallon milk jug or 2 gallon water jug. Hint 3: Dilute a very tiny bit of water-soluble fertilizer (like Miracle Fro, etc) in the water once the seeds have grown 3-4 leaves. Good instructions, thank you!

    thanks, i'm an avid gardener now, mostly growing sunflowers for my girlfriend, these pots have worked perfectly for me, i just start the seed and put them in these pots, they grow themselves, the water has always stayed moist without roting the roots, and to acknowledge the environment, cant grow plants when you're polluting them.