DIY Drip Irrigation System, Made from Plastic Bottles


If you've ever flown into or out of the Lindbergh terminal at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport during the summertime, you've probably noticed very large pots of (usually) petunias hanging from just about every lamp post bordering the entrance and exit routes. Every time I drive past them, I'm always struck by how thick the blooms are, as you can barely see any foliage. This is even more surprising on a hot June day when everything else is looking a little wilt-y. Of course the secret of the MSP petunias is a drip irrigation system. (You can see the little tubes running into each of the pots.) I've imagined--someday--having such a system myself so I wouldn't have to worry about my blossoms during those frequent summertime 3-day weekends. Someday, it seems, has arrived, and it's super easy and free--thanks to my recycle bin. 

The 'system' is super simple. All we have to do is grab some 2-liter plastic bottles, punch 2 holes into the sides and 2 into the bottom, and plant said bottles next to our plants. Fill them with water and our plants will get that slow watering they prefer. For more information about the project, visit Fine Craft Guild.

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Barbara Harris on Jun 04, 2015:

I placed these DIY temporary ollas next to my tomato plants this Spring here in Western Kentucky; however I dug a trench in which to set the bottles, packed hydrogel from diapers around the bottles and also lined the bottom of the trench with soil mixed with hydrogel, filled the trench with plain soil to the level of shallow planting the heirloom tomato plants. The plants themselves were planted almost horizontally in the trench with all but the top leaves removed and the stems buried. A couple times a week I remove the bottle cap to fill the reservoirs and the roots have grown deep to access the water supply. I can't report on production as yet but I can state that the plants have exploded with growth. They are producing blooms in great quantity. My photos document very healthy, vibrant plants. I pray I can report outstanding production as well as the season progresses!

Tammy on Apr 28, 2015:

I have found wine bottles with screw on tops to be great irrigators/waterers for potted plants... and they look pretty too!  Punch a small hole in the top - invert it and put into the soil with the plants.  Amaling help in our HOT Texas summers!

LINDA on Nov 26, 2014:

You actually have to plant the bottle in the dirt. If you just set it beside the plant, it will drain too quickly.

Anonymous on Apr 01, 2014:

I did this today and as soon as I took the hose out of bottle water was half gone ! It took less than 30 seconds for water to be gone. Only had the 4 small holes in each bottle. Tryed putting cap back on and that did not work. I am going back to the soaker hosr !!

C on Aug 22, 2013:

The chemical from the plastic bottle will leach into your soil, you might not want to do it to edible plants..

inta w on Jul 04, 2013:

thank you. now i can go to my vacation without worring about my plants.

Don Copithorne on Apr 13, 2013:

 I use large tin cans (2litler) work too..


UGLYFOOT on Mar 17, 2013:

I would hope that if reusing water or soda pop bottles there wouldn't be a BPA problem. That would mean we already were contaminated!

Anonymous on Feb 16, 2013:

Someone mentioned the fear of BPA, you can use glass bottles instead and drill holes using a diamond drill bit. Many places will give away their empty wine bottles for free!

School Gardener on Aug 29, 2012:

Great idea for annuals and flowers, but wouldn't use for veggies/ edibles because of what could be leached into the soil from the plastic (BPA's) and taken up by food plants...

CdnYankee on May 22, 2012:

My question is do you then put the lid on it or leave it open? I'd think that if you had to leave it open, that I'd cut an old stocking and tie it around the top so that mosquitos don't start using it as a breeding ground.

Kerstin on May 18, 2012:

That's an interesting idea - I'll try it this summer in my garden.

Anonymous on May 01, 2012:

Does anyone know if this will work in a vegetable garden. I love gardens, but I am the worst at watering.


Anonymous on Apr 27, 2012:

Love this idea, I've been thinking of something similar and until I perfect it. Hope you don't mind I give your idea a try. Love it!

Pati on Apr 22, 2012:

Love this idea and GONNA use it for sure...

Joey on Apr 22, 2012:

My hubby has been doing this for several years with greatet results.  He uses 1 gallon jugs and especially likes the harder plastic ones like Ozarka water comes in here in our neck of the woods (Texas).  We don't drink soda, so don't have the 2 liter bottles on hand, and the larger containers work best for us since it gets so hot here in the summer.


Anonymous on Apr 22, 2012:

How big do you make the holes? HOw for apart do you recommend planting the bottles?

could be captcha haiku on Apr 21, 2012:

chuck norris?I got" blood type "-lol.It is a neat idea,though isn't it?

Screwed Up Texan on Apr 20, 2012:

I left a comment only because the captcha is "chuck norris". Love this idea and will probably use it!

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