Plants are a wonderful way to liven up a space but can be challenging to care for. Self-watering soda bottle planters are perfect for a small window herb or flower. They do not require a large amount of space and almost take care of themselves. Soda bottle planters are a great activity to complete with children and allow the opportunity to teach about reusing materials and the needs of plants.
Step 1: Assemble Materials
To create your planter you will need:
- Plastic soda or water bottle
- Potting soil
- Seeds (I suggest an herb such as basil or a flower such as a marigold)
- Yarn or strip of t-shirt about 6 in. long (the wick)
- Dry erase marker
Allow yourself plenty of space to work and plan for a mess, especially if working with children.
Step 2: Mark the Center
Draw a line around the center of the bottle with the dry erase marker. The line should be near the middle of the bottle.
If working with children, this is a good time to allow them to practice their measuring skills. Instruct students to determine the center of the bottle and even measure the circumference if you have rulers to work with.
Step 3: Cut
Remove the cap from the bottle. Using scissors, carefully create a hole large enough for the yarn or t-shirt to pass through in the center of the cap. Next, carefully cut the bottle in half following the dry erase line.
Step 4: Create the Wick
Thread the yarn or strip of t-shirt through the hole created in the cap. The cap should be in the center of the yarn or t-shirt. Twist the cap back onto the bottle.
Again, this is a good time to practice measuring with students. This step could also be used to talk about the wick. What is the purpose of the yarn/t-shirt? Does the size matter? Could a different material such as plastic be used?
Step 5: Add Water
Fill the bottom of the bottle about half full of water and invert the top of the bottle into the bottom of the bottle.
This is the time to draw student's attention to the yarn/t-shirt. What is happening to the length of yarn that is not submerged in water? How will this help our plant?
Step 6: Add Soil
Add soil to the top of the bottle.
This is the time to remind students the importance of good soil for plants. What does soil provide plants? Would the seeds grow if we placed them on the yarn/t-shirt without the soil?
Step 7: Plant
Plant the seeds of choice
In this planter I chose to plant basil. I planted two seeds about 1/4 in deep.
Step 8: Enjoy!
Choose an area with lots of sunlight for your plant to thrive. When no water remains, simply refill the bottom of the bottle.
Review with students the needs of plants and how the planter is able to meet those needs.