Easy DIY Upcycled Self-Watering Planters


Take the time and stress out of summer watering with these surprisingly easy to make, and affordable, upcycled plastic bottles. Less time watering means more time enjoying your garden. It also makes a great gift for the beginning gardener.


What You’ll Need:


•1, 2, or 3 liter plastic bottles thoroughly cleaned and labels removed (We used BPA-free bottles)

•Plastic spray paint or spray paint with primer. We used black.

•Utility knife


•Cotton cloth or t-shirt cut into long thin strips about 2 inches wide and 12-14 inches long.

•Potting soil





1. Pierce the bottle below the neck using the utility knife. We cut about 1/3 down from the top.Once you have pierced the bottle, using the scissors, cut along the edge of the bottle until the top portion is removed.


2. Spray paint the outside of the bottle top. Be sure to paint only the bottle exterior so the paint will not come in contact with the soil, as this top portion will become the planter. (The bottom portion will be the water reservoir.) Allow paint to dry thoroughly before handling. While painting the bottle is not essential to this project, plant roots are adapted to grow best in darkness.


3. Feed the cotton cloth through the opening on the painted bottle top (planter) using the excess cloth to plug the hole and prevent soil from falling through the opening. This cloth strip acts a wick, pulling water from the lower reservoir. Insert the planter into the reservoir.


4. Fill the planter with pre-moistened potting soil and soak thoroughly,  draining excess water from the reservoir. The water level should be just below the soda bottle lid opening.

Finally, sow seeds by following our indoor seed sowing guide or plant transplants. We planted yummy windowsill herbs: Oregano, Chives, Winter Savory.


Keep your eye on the water level in the reservoir and refill with water or organic fertilizer as necessary.