Wallace Gardens
Wallace Gardens
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  • Suwanee, GA

Wine Bottle Watering Device With Copper Tubing for Container Gardens


Going on vacation? Put a few of these together for your container gardens to keep them hydrated while you are away.
The concept of repurposing a wine bottle into a container garden “watering device” has been around for a while. I was intrigued at first, because I love to see glass in the garden, and the idea seemed practical as well as pretty. However, after trying several different methods and contraptions I gave up, until recently. After thinking it through, I made a trip to the hardware store with a very specific idea in mind: use copper tubing to make a wine bottle "funnel."
What You'll Need:
One wine bottle
Glass pearl gems (vase gems) to go inside the bottle *
One 1/2" male copper adapter
One 1/2" female copper adapter
One piece of 1/2" copper tubing (about 24" long)
Black electrical tape
½ x .520 Teflon tape (Plumbing Dept.)
# 67 O-Ring (13/16“ Outside Diameter x 11/16” x 1/16”
Clear waterproof silicone sealant
Permanent marker
Measuring tape
Scissors
Hacksaw, Small Vise, Small Flat Metal File, Adjustable Wrench
Bamboo stake (or similar, to poke a hole in the soil)
* Don't use round glass marbles, as they will block the flow of water. Use odd-shaped floral glass gems that won't block the copper tube. The gems disperse the flow of water through the bottle, as well as add a decorative element to the watering device (especially if the bottle is clear).
Copper is a nice companion to glass, and I wanted something easy and simple so that the device would be practical.
COPPER TUBE INSTRUCTION NOTES:
The wine bottle will be buried up to the base of the neck when it sits in the planter. Keep in mind the extra 2" to account for the adapters, before determining how long to cut the soil-extension piece. For large planters, 6-8" is a good length for the soil tube segment, and 3-4” will be the length of the bottle-neck tube segment. Example: 3" (bottle neck) + 2" (adapters) + 6" (copper tubing) = 11" below the surface of the soil. The copper tubing will deliver water, as well as act as a "stake" to keep the wine bottle stable in the planter.
WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY: don't leave your bottles outside if the temperatures drop below freezing, as this may cause the bottles to freeze and crack.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, A few of the basic ingredients Choose a colored wine bottle or a clear bottle and some glass pearl gems Note how the pieces of copper will come together for the final product
A few of the basic ingredients. Choose a colored wine bottle or a clear bottle, and some glass pearl gems. Note how the pieces of copper will come together for the final product.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, The finished products Notice that the necks of the bottles differ one is 3 the other is 4 long and that the copper extensions also differ in length You ll find out why below
The finished products. Notice that the necks of the bottles differ (one is 3", the other is 4" long), and that the copper extensions also differ in length. You'll find out why, below.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, The bottle is buried up to its neck once installed
The bottle is buried up to its neck, once installed.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, I picked up materials to make three funneling devices A three 1 2 copper male adapters B three 1 2 female adapters and two pieces 1 2 copper tubing each about 24 long The copper is made in the USA another benefit
I picked up materials to make three funneling devices: (A) three 1/2" copper male adapters, (B) three 1/2" female adapters, and two pieces 1/2" copper tubing, each about 24" long. The copper is made in the USA, another benefit.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, The Teflon Tape and the O rings Be sure to obtain size 67 as indicated
The Teflon Tape and the O rings. Be sure to obtain size #67 as indicated.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, Waterproof silicon sealant
Waterproof silicon sealant.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, Wrap a piece of electrical tape 1 and turns around base of the female adapter this is the piece that will fit into the mouth of the wine bottle Test to make sure it fits snugly that you haven t used too much tape or too little
Wrap a piece of electrical tape 1 and ½ turns around base of the female adapter (this is the piece that will fit into the mouth of the wine bottle). Test to make sure it fits snugly: that you haven't used too much tape or too little.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, Once you ve determined that it fits snugly remove it and fill the bottle with about a cup of glass pearl gems
Once you've determined that it fits snugly, remove it and fill the bottle with about a cup of glass pearl gems.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, Measure the length of tubing that will go into the soil this will depend upon the depth of your planter For large planters 6 8 is a good place to start Make adjustments for smaller planters COPPER TUBE INSTRUCTIONS NOTES above
Measure the length of tubing that will go into the soil (this will depend upon the depth of your planter). For large planters, 6-8” is a good place to start. Make adjustments for smaller planters. COPPER TUBE INSTRUCTIONS NOTES, above
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, Mark a line with permanent marker to saw pipe with a hacksaw Secure copper tubing in a vise so that you can make a clean cut If you have a large vise be careful not to squeeze the pipe out of shape Cut pipe to length with hacksaw
Mark a line with permanent marker to saw pipe with a hacksaw. Secure copper tubing in a vise so that you can make a clean cut. If you have a large vise, be careful not to squeeze the pipe out of shape. Cut pipe to length with hacksaw.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, Wine bottle necks vary in length usually 3 4 You want the end of the pipe inside the bottle to just reach the bottom of the neck as shown
Wine bottle necks vary in length, usually 3-4”. You want the end of the pipe inside the bottle to just reach the bottom of the neck, as shown.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, With a small flat metal file file any sharp burrs from the cut edges of the pipes so that they can be smoothly inserted into the adapters
With a small flat metal file, file any sharp burrs from the cut edges of the pipes so that they can be smoothly inserted into the adapters.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, Insert the longer piece of copper tube into the male adapter and secure the tube with the electrical tape wrapping it 1 and turns before cutting
Insert the longer piece of copper tube into the male adapter and secure the tube with the electrical tape, wrapping it 1 and ½ turns before cutting.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, Wrap the threads of the male adapter with the Teflon tape NOTE wrap it in the direction as shown stretching the tape slightly so that it fills in the threads as shown Overlap the tape slightly and cut with scissors
Wrap the threads of the male adapter with the Teflon tape (NOTE: wrap it in the direction, as shown), stretching the tape slightly so that it fills in the threads as shown. Overlap the tape slightly and cut with scissors.
wine bottle watering device with copper tubing for container gardens, kitchen design, repurposing upcycling, Insert shorter copper tube into female adapter secure with 1 turns electrical tape you may need more so that when you insert tube and adapter into wine bottle tape creates nice tight fit inside bottle s neck Wrap as shown A
Insert shorter copper tube into female adapter, secure with 1 & ½ turns electrical tape (you may need more, so that when you insert tube and adapter into wine bottle, tape creates nice tight fit inside bottle’s neck). Wrap as shown (A)
Connect the two pieces of tubing. You can see where the electrical tape sits on each section of the adapters. (You will tighten the two sections in a vise, next step.)
Clamp the male adapter into the vise and screw the adapters together, tightening the female adapter with the wrench. No need to use a lot of force, just get them tight.
Slip one of the O-Rings over the short end of the tube so that it seats up against the tapered shoulder of the female adapter. This will help seal the bottle and prevent it from dripping once it’s filled with water.
Place the short section of the copper tube into the wine bottle. It should fit snugly.
Place bottle upright, O-Ring is at top of bottle opening. Don’t force it inside bottle.Using waterproof silicone sealant, draw a bead of sealant around the tube/adapter joint as shown, set bottle aside. Dry according to instructions.
Fill bottle with water (remove copper funnel first). Before placing bottle into container garden, poke a hole in the soil with a bamboo stake (or similar) to mark placement. Insert at angle.

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Have a question about this project?

15 questions
  • Mary
    on Feb 28, 2016

    Bottle Watering Device.....how long does it take the bottle to empty?

    • Wallace Gardens
      on Feb 29, 2016

      Mary, it depends on your climate zone, and whether or not the planter is in full sun or shade. It also depends on the kind of soil you use (loose, or hard pack). Typically, I fill my bottles up once a week in the summertime. My clients' planters are in part sun-shade, 50/50, but the shade is in the afternoon when it's the hottest time of day here in Zone 7B.

  • Debra J Miller
    on May 16, 2016

    Do you have to have something in the bottle with the water?

    • Wallace Gardens
      on May 17, 2016

      No, you do not, but adding marbles or colored glass adds both a decorative element and helps to slow the water flow when you tip it over to place it in the soil.

  • Dawn Renee' Lemons Freeman
    on Mar 11, 2017

    I'm obviously missing something in my reading. Is the water delivered to the bottom of the pot, or disbursed throughout the depth of the pot? (I've seen plastic bottles with on holes poked in them buried next to the plant to distribute water to the entire root system, so I'm curious where the water comes out. ) BTW--these are beautiful and a great idea!

    • Nancy MacDonald Wallace
      on Mar 12, 2017

      Hi Dawn. The copper pipe that extends into the soil can be any depth you need it to be - it depends on how deep your planters are. My goal is to deliver the water to the mid-point of the container. You'll see that the two bottles in the photo near the top of this post have different lengths of copper pipe coming out of the top of the bottle. That's to accommodate the depth of two different pots, both of which are about 20-24" tall. In other words, you want the water to come out near the root systems.

    • Ein12074735
      on Apr 13, 2017

      If the bottle is in an outdoor container in a sunny location ( as pictured) that water is going to get really hot and then kill the plants.
    • Shelly
      on Apr 14, 2017

      Then only put them in the shade.....
  • Ggu4670053
    on Apr 13, 2017

    Have you tried this in window boxes?
    • Bettie Gordon
      on Apr 13, 2017

      Depending on the length of the window box you would most likely need more than one bottle. Maybe two or three smaller bottles. Again depending on the size of your window box, then space them out accordingly.
      Happy gardening 😊
  • Joetta Terrell
    on Apr 13, 2017

    Is it hard to fill the bottle back with water, and do you take the end of?
    • Nancy MacDonald Wallace
      on May 14, 2017

      No. Just remove it from the soil, rinse, refill, and put it back into the planter. Keep it clean just as you would a hummingbird feeder.
  • Wandamurline
    on Apr 13, 2017

    Could you use pvc pipe instead of the copper?
    • Richard
      on Apr 13, 2017

      Sure. Better and cheaper.
    • Jon McNamara
      on Apr 13, 2017

      and less likely to be toxic to plants!! We used to kill tree stumps by knocking copper nails into the roots of the stump. Your device might work very well until the copper pipe started to corrode and the plant dies!
    • Martha Jay
      on Apr 13, 2017

      Why add the glass beads? Also, why do you need the tubing at all? Couldn't you just frock the bottle in the dirt?
    • Carol Kennedy
      on Apr 13, 2017

      I just stuff the bottle in the dirt but the neck will get clogged with soil sometimes. Maybe better to glue the glass on the outside for decoration as getting the soil and glass mixed would be a nightmare. I like the idea of the fr painted exterior
    • Nancy MacDonald Wallace
      on May 14, 2017

      I use copper because it's more attractive. I elaborated on the "copper" issue below. I've used these devices in dozens of planters over the years, and we've never had any issues "killing" plants. And remember: copper is actually a micro-nutrient.
  • Cathy Campbell
    on Apr 13, 2017

    That is really pretty! When you refill the bottle does the whole thing come out of the dirt or can it be unscrewed to keep from disturbing the root system?
    • Patti Cardinal
      on Apr 13, 2017

      I would guess you need to take the whole thing out to refill. If you try to just unscrew it, the water will be emptying out of the bottle while you are trying to get it screwed back in place. You could try though
    • Nancy MacDonald Wallace
      on May 14, 2017

      Just remove it to refill it - keep it clean just like you would a hummingbird feeder.
  • Jo
    on Apr 13, 2017

    I have 15 containers for my gardening.....I purchased some black 1" tubing (the kind used for underground sprinkler systems) got some 1/4" sprinkler tubing, I laid the 1" tubing over top of the containers, attached the 1/4" tubing in the center (making sure it is in the center of each of the containers ( all 15) so each container has its own drip line.... cut the 1/4" tubing to size, then add sprinkler drip heads at the end of each 1/4" tube. On one end of the 1" tubing I capped it off with a plug. On the other end of the 1" tubing I inserted a hose type fitting that I attached to a 24 Hour timer which is attached to a water bibb(outlet) Set my sprinkler timer and that is it for the summer water system. Been using this for years and it never fails....just make sure you use NEW batteries for the timer each season. Plants just grow around the tubing. In winter just disconnect it from your water outlet, let it drain so it does not freeze, and leave it on top of your containers for next season.

    PS: if you lay the 1" tubing over (on top of) your containers you just could insert the dripheads right into the 1"tubing and not use the 1/4" tubing at all. I occasionally move my containers, around so i needed to have some longer 1/4" drip lines.
    • Danielle Odin
      on Apr 14, 2017

      Great idea!
    • Bod21487830
      on Apr 14, 2017

      That is great work. One and done for the most part. I like it simple.
    • GlassLady
      on Apr 14, 2017

      i did this, hooking it to my sprinkler system and setting my sprinkler timer to water a little bit everyday. My potted plants thrive in a fairly dry and hot climate without constant attention.....my kind of gardening.
  • Terri
    on Apr 13, 2017

    How long does it last before you need to refill?
    • Bod21487830
      on Apr 14, 2017

      Depends on the temp where you live, the size of the pot, etc.
    • MIck
      on Apr 14, 2017

      Not long enough in FL. I had some and they weren't worth putting out - ony lasted for about 24 hours.
    • Sherry
      on Apr 24, 2017

      Maybe you need 5 gal. buckets with a couple nail holes in the bottom. Florida must be dry.
  • Steven
    on Apr 13, 2017

    Why go thru so much work couldn't you just put bottle in plant without all that copper to water the plant?
    • Bod21487830
      on Apr 14, 2017

      Yes, you could just stick the bottle in the dirt. This is cleaner and prettier. There are even plastic tips to screw on a bottle, which can be purchased at some garden centers. Some people use empty soda bottles, 2 liter. It all depends on how you want it to look.
    • Bobby
      on Apr 14, 2017

      Looks nice,seems like it will work great.
      Nice design
    • Angie Mangas Holt
      on May 7, 2017

      I've seen Terra Cotta "funnels" that go into the dirt and hold the bottle.
  • Angie Mangas Holt
    on May 7, 2017

    How do you keep the copper tubing from getting clogged with soil?
    • Nancy MacDonald Wallace
      on May 7, 2017

      I clean these devices in the same way I would clean a humming bird feeder. Each time I refill it, I simply rinse out the bottle (washing it as necessary) and flush water through the pipes. I do not use these devices in hard-pack clay soils, so I've never had a problem with the tubes getting clogged.
  • Danielle Whatsittoyou
    on May 15, 2017

    Why not just cut the copper with a pipe cutter rather than go through all of that with the vice and hack saw? A couple of turns and that copper pipe would be cut nice and clean.
    • Nancy MacDonald Wallace
      on May 16, 2017

      Great idea. A plumber's pipe-cutter would probably work fine if you have one. I keep a vice and hacksaw on my work bench so that was the most practical for me.
  • Sue Schau Parenti
    on Jun 16, 2017

    Enjoyed your tutorial. But don't laugh at my question! What brand wine is the turquoise bottle from?

    I have a group of lighted bottles and I had two like that, but I can't remember where I got it! And one got broken, I really want another, but just can't seem to find it!

    Thanks for any help you can provide! Sue
  • Dun7705389
    on Oct 4, 2017

    How long does the water last in bottle...ty
    • Wallace Gardens
      on Oct 4, 2017

      It depends on: the exposure of the planter; what kind of soil you are using; how big the planter is; and what time of year it is. If it's in full sun, you'll need to check it more often, and if it's in shade, less often. Once you become familiar with the time it takes to drain, you'll have a better idea how often to refill the bottle.
  • Denbi
    on Sep 21, 2019

    So how do you refill the bottles? Do you have to take them apart each time?


Join the conversation

2 of 77 comments
  • Psp
    on Sep 19, 2019

    Thank you for sharing your craftsmanship.

    My plants will thank you later they are busy drinking!

  • Lo Lo
    on Sep 21, 2019

    Thanks for sharing the craft info in detail. It's nice to have so many options since we have varying degree of

    skill levels.

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