How to Water Your Plants While You’re Away

Shawna Bailey
by Shawna Bailey
3 Materials
2 Minutes
I love my plants, but I also love going away for long holiday weekends. It’s really tough to keep plants looking great (especially in the summer), and I really didn’t want to spend all that money on a self watering planter, or an automatic watering system. Instead, I found this great tip online to recycle a plastic bottle into a watering system.
Just look at that happy plant!

Step 1: Gather Your Materials
All I used was an empty soda bottle, a nail and a hammer. Step 2: Make a Hole in the Cap
I gently tapped the nail through the two layers of the cap until it made a very small hole. I used a really small nail -- if you use a bigger one, it will be easier, but the hole will be a bit larger and might lose water faster. Step 3: Fill 'Er up
In a deep sink, I filled the bottle to the top with tap water. Step 4: Screw on the Cap
I made sure to close the cap very tightly, because I only want water to drip out of the tiny hole I made. If you leave your cap lose, your bottle won't last as long. Step 5: Put the Bottle Upside Down in the Plant
I stuck the bottle firmly into the soil, so that it was leaning up at an angle. Make sure it's not at too much of an angle so that it won't empty out too fast. Step 6: Go on Vacation!
After a glorious four-day break, I returned to find that my plant was thriving and there was still a little bit of water in there! (I seriously considered turning right around and returning to the beach!) Enjoy the freedom (ha, get it?) of not worrying about your plants while you’re away!
Suggested materials:
  • Empty Plastic Bottle   (Recycling Bin)
  • Nail   (Hardware Store)
  • Hammer   (Hardware Store)
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Eileen Smith Eileen Smith on Jul 21, 2016
    Doesnt the hole get clogged with dirt?

  • Nancy Skipper Nancy Skipper on Jul 21, 2016
    How well did it work? Was there water left when you returned? You should have put a photo of your return home water level if there was any.... Great idea if it works!

  • Colleen Bens Colleen Bens on Jul 21, 2016
    I tried this method and it appears no water ever left the bottle. Im.not sure if it got clogged or what but do you have any other suggestions that I should consider so I can get this to work? Thanks!

Join the conversation
2 of 19 comments
  • Alicia Mandujano Alicia Mandujano on Sep 29, 2016
    If you make a hole at the bottom (top) of the bottle, it will empty in no-time. The fact of having it leaning in an angle allows the air (from the soil) to slide in and let the water out, just a few drops at a time. It is important to check for the correct angle so it works.

  • Bessie L. Sanders-Gordon Bessie L. Sanders-Gordon on Nov 28, 2018

    Yes I will try this. I have used a milk jug before but I put the hole on the lower side of the jug.