Self Watering Recycled Vase




About: graduated lawyer and big bank employee. Crazy about plants and diy stuff.

Nice way to recycle plastic bottles and grow your own food. :-)

Step 1: Material List

Material List:

a) a plastic soda bottle (empty)

b) a piece of cotton string

c) sharp knife

d) hot piece of wire to make a role in the bottle lid

e) some dirt with seeds

f) little patience.

Step 2: Cut the Bottle

First empty the soda bottle, and cut it in two. Note that the bottom part should be bigger than the top part! Be careful.

Step 3: The Lid

Use the hot wire to make a role in the bottle lid. A small role will do. Pass the cotton string trough the bottle lid.

Step 4: Assemble

Put the lid back in the bottle, and turn it upside down. Cut the cotton wire and make sure its length is the same as the whole thing.

Step 5: Add Dirt+seeds

Now you add the dirt with seeds. Make sure the cotton string is strait.

Add water to the bottom part of the bottle, you do not want to put too much water in it.

The water should not touch the lid.

Step 6: Let It Grow!!

Add water only in the bottom part, never trough the top of the vase, otherwise the water will come down with dirt and algae will start to grow.

Water will come up and will keep the earth moist.

Plants will grow nicely.

Have fun!

Any ideas are welcome.

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    104 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is my ebb and will take over when my pop can seedlings are ready( when i perfect it)

    FD 1-thumb.jpg

    5 years ago on Introduction

    I made quite a few of these, and started up a small garden once the seedlings grew too big for the bottle. Also I just used a bunch of 0.9fl oz water bottles, I didn't have any cotton string so I cut up a 97% cotton shirt and it worked out very well. I really enjoyed this project, very simple and easy, thanks for posting.


    7 years ago on Introduction


    I used two 6 liters water bottles, it means arround 4 liters of water in the bottom one and another 4 liters of earth in the other.

    To fight algaes (because outdoors the rain will flow through the soil to the bottom part) I added in the bottom a few physa snails (a.k.a. "plage aquarium little snails")



    8 years ago on Introduction

    I'd really like to know how long, on average, a single "serving" of water will last for. I'm going away for a few weeks and need a way for a few spearmint plants to survive without me.


    10 years ago on Step 4

    I was wondering if the cotton string goes all the way to the top of the dirt so all of it gets watered or does it work that way? What kind of vegetables can you grow in a small container like this?

    3 replies

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 4

    yes it does goes all way to the top, u can make some rounds midway up to moist more. You can grow anything that fits, or use it as a starter for bigger plants.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    In mine I do not have a string that goes to the top of the soil. If the soil is good for plants, it should draw water up the same way the string does, but moreso, because it should have more water potential.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    If the plant is supplied with water directly, it will not have much of a need to stretch out its' root system. So having the string extending only a little bit up through the soil rather than the entire way up should, in theory, encourage growth of the root system of the plant because it will have to grow outwards to obtain the necessary water.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    to put water back into the lower part of the vase, is there a way to do that besides having to take out the plant each time?


    9 years ago on Step 6

    I had everything i needed within about 5 feet. I read this, and made it in about 10 minutes. We had bought a cheap mop with the cotton strings on it for the wicks in our tiki lamps. That worked well, just had to make the hole a little bigger. Thanks for the fun idea. When my kids are older we'll do this together.


    Giving this a go. Planted some Columbine flower mix. If some of you are new to gardening like I am try out, helped me out quite a bit and very informative.

    1 reply

    One note I want to point out here... Columbines are a very picky and difficult plant to grow. From the time I posted this article until about a week ago the plant seemed like it was going to die or fail. But just last week it bloomed it's first flower. Very awesome. While the wicking method described here did NOT work using EMBROIDERY FLOSS, I do believe it will work as described in the instructable with COTTON string.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Great method! Here has a similar way to do it, it's done by resizing a pot with minimal tools (and does not contain any PVC). 5 stars


    10 years ago on Step 6

    Does it have to be COTTON? Or can it be a wool string?