Water bottle gardening – Useful Guide

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Wondering how we can use water bottles for gardening? Read this article to know the detail on Water bottle gardening.

In the recent past, there have been a number of trends that surfaced to create awareness about the preservation of the environment. These included the reduction of the use of plastic and either recycling or upscaling.

Where there are several ways in which you can upscale plastic bottles to use around the house. There is also a lot more you can do when it comes to using them in and around your home garden or for gardening applications in general.

Here is all you need to know about water bottle gardening.

How to make a plastic bottle garden?

The documentation and understanding of the toxic implications of plastic are known to all. Most of the time we are so busy looking for ways in which we can reduce the use that we forget that these materials can be recycled and upscaled as well.

There are different types of bottles available in the market and most of them claim to be safe for the environment.

This being said there are only 4 types of bottles that can be used to grow fruits and vegetables as they are the least toxic.

If you look at the bottom of the bottle you will see a triangle made of arrows from the many variants available you can use the one that has the number 1 indicating it is a pet bottle, number 2 indicating HDPE, number 4 indicating LDPE, and number 5 indicating PP.

These are the safest kind to use especially if you are planning to grow edible plants.

Water bottle gardening
Water bottle gardening

We have put together a few ways in which you can use plastic bottles to create an eco-friendly and low-cost garden.

1# Plastic bottle window garden

An entire gardening system can be created with the help of plastic bottles. In order to automate the process, you can add in a water pump. If you are looking for a more hands-on approach you can water the plants once in a while.

These are perfect for those who want a window garden at a minimal cost. As these are vertically placed you need not worry about the amount of space it will occupy.

What you will require

  • Plastic bottles
  • Potting medium
  • Net cup
  • Holders or hooks to suspend the bottles
  • A larger bottle to use as a reservoir
  • Plastic tubes
  • Water pump (Optional)
  • Seeds or saplings

Procedure

To start a Plastic bottle window garden, you first need to prepare bottles that are big enough to hold plants. You will then need to put up a structure so that the bottles stay in place.

For this type of gardening, you will not need to cut bottles in half but cut a hole on the sides so that you can place the net cups or plant holders through them.

Once you have the bottles ready drill holes to pass a drip tubing system through it.

For this, you will require thin PVC pipes that carry the water from the reservoir to all the bottles.

The window structure needs to be sturdy enough to hold rows of bottles without toppling over. Make sure you have bars in place to support the bottles in the middle.

The drip tubing is generally attached to the caps of the bottles in a way that they water the one at the bottom as the one on top overflows.

Connect the system to a drip tray at the bottom to collect excess water. All the bottles are fed from a reservoir at the top that you can manually refill or fit in a pump that will carry water from the bottom tray to the one on top. This makes the watering process simpler.

To plant all you need to do is fill the netted cups or a pot that you are using with a regular potting mix. You can either add seeds to this or saplings depending on your preference. These plants will grow well with the ample sunlight they receive.

A plastic bottle window garden is a great way of water bottle gardening as you utilize bottles, that you would otherwise discard and harm the environment.

To take this a step further you can add a cut-out bottle instead of a net cup as a potting medium. Be sure to drill drainage holes in other potting mediums to get the drip system to work.

2# Plastic bottles on walls

This is more of a balcony gardening trick. Plastic bottles on walls are a great way in which you can use bottles of all shapes and sizes. You can take this up a notch by painting or decorating the bottles.

But either way, it not only saves space but also looks adorable.

What you will require

  • Plastic bottles (shapes and sizes depending on your taste)
  • Metal angle brackets or sturdy holders or strings
  • Potting mix
  • Seeds or saplings

Procedure

For a vertical garden made from Plastic bottles on walls all you need to do is cut the bottles in a way as to leave most of it intact. You only need to cut a hole on the side place the bottle like a boat and there you go you have planters that can easily be placed on walls.

To fasten it to the wall we recommend you use good quality metal fasteners so that you have a secure arrangement and will not have to redo the structure from time to time.

Another variant is you pass strings through the bottles and fasten them at the top of the wall. In both ways you need bottles suspended.

After you have the basic structure ready fill in the bottles with a potting mix and plant your seeds or saplings.

This can be attached to either a drip system or a self-watering system. This will reduce the amount of time and effort you will need to put in when it comes to watering the plants.

This type of gardening is perfect for growing leafy vegetables. You can have this type of garden in your kitchen itself depending on the space you have and the amount of sunlight that comes in. the best is to have it on your balcony or outdoors.

Either way, you save space as well as the environment.

plastic bottle garden plants
plastic bottle garden plants

3# Cactus hangers

Don’t we all like cacti or succulents all around the house. What if you could have them in planters that were lightweight and looked fabulous at the same time.

This is possible if you have planters made out of upscaled plastic bottles. 

What you will require

  • Plastic bottles (shapes and sizes depending on your taste)
  • Strings
  • Potting mix
  • Cacti or succulents

Procedure

There are two ways major in which you can have cactus hangers around your house and garden. One you use the top half of the bottle (the one with the cap) or you can use the bottom half.

If you are looking for a planter that has a catch tray attached you can place one inside the other and use the entire bottle.

In most cases, though you will not require a tray at the bottom as you won’t be watering the plant often, and even when you do it’s going to be minimal.

Once you have the bottles (planters) ready it is time to bang them. For this, you can either place them in a DIY rope basket. These are easy to make and alter according to your style.

You could also suspend the planters to the ceiling using strings. Either way, the idea is to have hanging planters that take your décor a level higher.

After you have the planters good to go, all you need to do is add potting mix and put in your cacti or succulents. Place these in empty corners or your living or workspace.    

4# Vertical garden using a wooden frame

Vertical gardening is simple and all you need is a frame. In this type, you have a vertical garden made from plastic bottles attached to a wooden frame.

What you will require

  • Wooden Crates or a wooden frame
  • Plastic bottles (either cut in half or full)
  • Potting mix
  • Saplings or seeds

Procedure

For this, you can either have a frame that is a grid-like or something that has a guiding frame. In any way, the frame gives the vertical arrangement a structure and at the same time, it will also support the bottles well.

You can place this in balcony gardens as well as indoors and outdoors. The frame can easily be made at home with wood from wooden crates of you can purchase wood from your local hardware store.

The size of the bottles again depends on the frame. If your car looking to plant something that requires a lot of soil, use bigger bottles.

If you have plants that do not require a lot of soil you can always cut the bottle in half. Fasten the bottles to the frame and you are good to go.

Once you have the bottles ready, punch in drainage holes at the bottom and fill in the potting mix. Then place your saplings or seeds and water as required.

This system can be coupled with drip irrigation or a self-watering system to reduce the time you spend watering all the plants in this gardening system.

5# Vertical plastic bottle herb garden

Herbs are great when you can grow them at home and use them fresh. This vertical garden idea is an excellent choice not only to upscale plastic bottles but to also add to the décor of your kitchen.

As most herbs can be grown indoors all you will need to go is spare a corner for these and you will have yourself fresh herbs in no time.

What you will require

  • Wooden board or a pegboard – something to mount the bottles on
  • Plastic bottles cut in half
  • Potting mix
  • Seeds or saplings

Procedure

For a vertical herb garden in your kitchen, all you need to do is prepare a board that you can attach the bottles to. Once you have a board drill holes and secure the bottles.

Once the bottles are in place you can go ahead and add name tags to the board. This makes it easier to identify the herbs while they grow.

After the structure and the design is done all you need to do is fill in the potting mix and sow the seeds. You can up this but using self-watering systems. In this way, you can easily upscale your plastic bottles in no time.

So, if you are wondering how to make a plastic bottle garden it’s simple to gather bottles around your house that you would otherwise send to the recycling unit. Upscale it.

Mix in a little creativity and there you have it the perfect recipe for a water bottle garden.

how to make a plastic bottle garden
how to make a plastic bottle garden

Let us now dwell on the benefits of water bottle gardening or plastic bottle gardening.

Benefits of having a plastic bottle garden

Below are a few benefits of having a plastic bottle garden.

# Saves space

As plastic bottles are easy to stack and fasten, you can place them in ways to utilize as little space as possible. These are also convenient to peg to walls hence saving a lot of space as compared to traditional pots and planters.

# Cost effective

As we know it gardening supplies can get expensive especially if you have a lot of space to cover. In such cases, it becomes cost-effective if all you need to do is upscale bottles and use them in and around your garden. This not only saves space but also a lot of money.

# Environmentally friendly

The plastic bottles that we use around the house get sent to recycling plants regularly. Did you know that a percentage of plastic waste does not get recycled? In such cases, it just gets dumped and causes more harm to the environment.

When you use plastic bottles around your garden you are not only reducing the amount of plastic being dumped but also reducing the consumption of plastic in other forms. This makes it the best form of gardening. 

# Allows alteration and addition

When you have an elaborate garden setting that is store-bought or something that has elaborate structures it becomes difficult to make alterations. It makes it even more difficult to add to these and replace the part that is non-functional or not in use.

When you have a DIY water bottle garden all you need to do is arrange bottles the way you like them and you are good to go. These can be added to and also altered according to your convenience. 

# minimal water usage

Unlike other pots and planters, you will not require a lot of water while planning in bottles. Not only does the plastic act and a great medium to retain moisture but it is also more versatile.

You can have plants that require a little water and also those that need moist soil. All you need to do is adapt the potting mix accordingly. 

With plastic water bottle gardens, it is easier to put together a self-watering system. This makes it not only a way to save water but also reduces the efforts you will put in while gardening.

# reduced setup time

We all know that as satisfying as gardening can be it is also time-consuming. When it comes to water bottle gardening it is less time consuming as the basic structure is ready. All you need to do is find ways in which you would like to fasten these bottles and you are good to go.

# affordable

Let’s face it gardening is an expensive hobby. Especially when you want the best of everything. When it comes to planters you need to pay per planter to look for offers and sales. This is not very convenient most of the time.

When it comes to container gardening it’s not only convenient but also great for your budget.

 # heat retention

Plastic is a good medium when it comes to heat retention. If you are looking to keep your saplings warm and snug you can go in for this type of gardening.

plastic bottle garden ideas
plastic bottle garden ideas

Types of water bottle gardening

Water bottle gardens are of three types horizontal, vertical, and single bottles. All these have different applications but the basic idea remains the same.

Vertical plastic bottle gardening

Vertical plant arrangements are common in gardens across the US. Most of the time gardeners opt for planters that can be attached to grills and walls.

This keeps space consumption to the minimum. When you are planning a vertical garden using bottles you need not stress about the structure and other things necessary for planters.

This makes vertical gardening using plastic bottles the best option there is. To prepare the bottles you can cut them in half to use them separately or use them one inside the other.

You could also cut a hole in them and use potting mix in a way that plants stick out of those holes. Another option is to place them on a wooden or metal stand that’s fastened to the wall.

Horizontal Plastic bottle gardening

Sometimes it so happens that vertical gardening is not very practical but you have horizontal space stretching miles. In such cases, all you need to do is adapt your water bottle garden in a way that is spreads across your garden.

For this, all you need to do is prepare your bottle and fasten it to the space you are planning to use.

Like vertical gardening, you can always opt for structures that will make the fastening process easier. It is entirely on the gardener and his or her taste as to how to arrange these bottles.

When it comes to horizontal gardening another factor to consider is that you can use the bottle in a horizontal manner which increases the surface area of your planter.

Giving you an opportunity to plant saplings that require more space to grow.

Single bottle gardening

You can not only use bottles in patterns and arrangements but use those that are slightly bigger as single planters. When you have water cans or other plastic cans you can place them around your garden with bigger plants.

This makes it easier to move them around and also reduces the amount of money you will end up spending if you go in for traditional planters.

Now that we know of the different ways in which plastic bottles can be used in gardens let’s have a look at some more ideas that you can incorporate as your next gardening project.

How to make use of plastic bottles while gardening?

As mentioned in the previous section there are a number of ways in which you can use plastic bottles in your garden. Apart from the different ways in which you can plant in them here are ways in which you can put them to use. 

#1 seeding trays

Most gardeners prefer seeding trays to start their gardens instead of planting directly in the soil. Seeding trays available in the market get expensive and they are easily substitutable. This can be done with the help of plastic bottles you have in your kitchen.

All you need to do is buy the bottle from the centre and use either the top or the bottom half. These can be fastened to a pegboard of suspended using strings. The idea is to have cute little planters before you transplant the saplings to bigger pots.

#2 watering cans

We all have cans at home. There are a number of articles online on how to upscale these cans with handles as watering cans. All you need to do is use a can with a handle. The ones that pack detergents and softeners work well. Once you have the can, drill a few holes on the cap.

You can now fill in the can and water your plants.

#3 storage

Plastic cans and bottles are also great for storage. You can cut off the top and use it to place gardening tools. You could also use them as airtight containers for seeds. You can get creative and fasten them to your garden wall and place gardening tools and other material you require.

#4 moss stick

We generally use a stick covered with moss or coco husk to support our green buddies. When it comes to a steady solution you can go in for plastic bottles covered with moss or coco peat. This way you not only get the support needed but you also use bottles lying around.

#5 garden barriers

Did you know that you can have garden barriers made from plastic bottles? This way you will not need to go hunting for stones and you don’t have to build a cemented barrier system.

All you need to do fill in sand or gardening soil into bottles and place them one over the other to form a barrier. You can fasten them together using ropes. You can also use these as planters all you need to do is seal gaps.

After understanding the various applications of water bottles in gardening and how to make a plastic bottle garden it is important to take into consideration the plants the grow well in bottles.

Which plants grow well in plastic bottle gardens?

There is a lot of information available on the types of plants you need to include in your plastic bottle garden and the care tips recommended.

For those, we have chosen on the basis of the ease of growth and usage.

plants grow well in plastic bottle gardens
plants grow well in plastic bottle gardens

Basil

Plastic bottle gardens are used to plant vegetables and herbs once such herb is basil. Basil is not only an easy plant to grow but it also requires little soil and can be grown indoors. Basil can easily be grown from seed. It also requires minimal watering making it the best plant to have.

Parsley

Parsley is the most widely used herb in most kitchens. This is a basic herb that you will not regret adding to your plant collection. It is best to start this plant from seed. You can also use cuttings to propagate and grow parsley. 

Oregano

Our pasta and pizzas are incomplete without a drizzle of oregano. What if we tell you that you can have this herb at home? Yes, you can grow oregano in bottles, unlike when grown directly in the soil there are no chances of this plant overgrowing. Making it an excellent addition to your bottle garden.

Strawberries

An all-time favorite shrub that does not require a lot of space. You can easily plant Strawberries in horizontal bottles and enjoy the fruits. If you do not have a sunny spot in your garden don’t worry you can grow them under artificial lighting. Be sure to harvest the fruits as soon as they ripen to give the plant more space to produce more fruit.

Spinach

Not only is this a healthy vegetable it is also a beautiful plant with wide leaves. In order to grow spinach, you need a wide bottle, fill it with potting mix, and sow the seeds. These plants do not require much sunlight and can be grown easily in the shade.

Rosemary, thyme, and sage are other herbs you can grow. Apart from that, you can choose plants that do not grow too tall. You can also use them to plant cacti, succulents, pathos, and other plants.

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In conclusion

Water bottle gardening is an excellent way in which you can do your part to conserve the planet. All you need is a little patience and creativity and you are good to go. There are a number of ways in which bottles can be used around the garden as well. So, what are you waiting for pick up those bottles you have left in the recycle bin and start water bottle gardening today.