20 DIY Self-Watering Planters That You Can Craft Today

Plants don’t normally require a lot of care and are great to have around for numerous reasons. However, there’s a problem. What will you do with your plants if you have to go away for a few days or more? They’re like quiet pets which you can’t take with you on trips and which have to be watered on a regular basis. The solution is quite simple: DIY self-watering planters. Yes, there are quite a few fancy self-watering planters available in stores as well but they tend to be pretty expensive whereas these ones are super cheap and easy to make.

DIY Self-Watering Planters

There are so many benefits to using a self-watering planter, especially for indoor gardeners looking to save time caring for their plants. The overflow hole helps to prevent root rot, which can sadly kill off your houseplants. This hole also helps to empty excess water that accumulates, minimizing the risk of this occurring. They also offer a much more efficient use of water and will avoid water wastage. Some self-watering planters offer users a moisture-wicking system, which can help to further improve efficiency.

Water delivery using any of these devices on our list today will be more targeted than using your regular watering can or spray bottle. You’ll find it’s far less wasteful as you aren’t spraying water around that doesn’t make it near your plant. Self-watering planters also give even moisture levels, and the water will go straight to your plant’s roots. These methods also help to minimize the risk of fungal diseases, making houseplants live longer. You won’t oversaturate the leaves, which is a top reason that plants develop these diseases.

You can also use any of these self-watering planters to feed your plants nutrients or food as well as water. The slow-release of these nutrients can help them to thrive for three or four weeks. If you live in an area that experiences a lot of hot weather, you’ll want to be careful that the water doesn’t evaporate after you’ve made your new self-watering planter. This sort of defeats the object of the device, and makes it difficult to use if you are traveling or away for a while. They also aren’t ideal for all types of plants but are great for tropical plants and vegetables. However, species that need to be kept in very moist soil will struggle with a self-watering planter.

Quick and Simple DIY Self-Watering Planters

1. DIY Self-Watering Planter Using a Recycled Bottle

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A lot of the DIY self-watering planters on our list are made from recycled bottles. The tutorial from craftyourhappiness shows how you can make such a planter out of nothing but a plastic bottle and a piece of string. Cut the bottle into two sections, make a hole in the cap and run the string through, put a few stones and soil into the top section, add the plant and then place this upside down into the bottom half of the bottle which is filled with water.

Related: Click and Grow Smart Herb Garden Review – The Best Self Watering Pots

2. Self-Watering Concrete Planter

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Check out how cute this self-watering planter is. It has two parts: a water reservoir at the bottom and the actual planter at the top. there’s a hole in the bottom of the planter with a wick coming out of it. The (or string) absorbs water and lets it seep into the soil, ensuring a suitable environment for the plant to grow in. You can make planters like this one using molds and concrete mix. Find all the details on instructables.

3. Self-Watering Downspout Planter

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All DIY self-watering planters have pretty much the same structure. They feature a reservoir filled with water and the actual planter which sits on top and slowly receives water from the reservoir through small holes or a sort of wick. The self-watering downspout planter featured on instructables is no different. With this planter, you don’t have to worry about a thing. Just remember to fill the reservoir every once in a while.


4. Glass Bottle Self-Watering Planter

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Plastic bottles are definitely easier to cut, but if you want your self-watering planter to be a bit more sturdy you might want to use a glass bottle instead. You’ll need a bottle cutter for that. The project is fairly easy even with this extra step. What’s nice is that you could use a green-tinted wine bottle that would match the plants and would be heavy and sturdy enough to last for a very long time.

5. Bottle Gardens for your Herb Garden

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DIY self-watering planters are a perfect idea if you’re trying to grow an herb garden. The planters are small enough to be kept on the windowsill and large enough for the plants to have enough room for growth. The ones suggested on designsponge are made out of recycled bottles that could be beer or wine bottle tops. As you can see, the two pieces don’t have matching colors and that’s a pretty cool detail.

6. Sports Top Water Bottle Self-Watering Planter

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To make it even easier to craft a self-watering planter out of a plastic bottle, choose a bottle that has a sports top. This way you won’t need to add the string and to make a hole in the map. In addition to the bottle, you’ll also need some aquarium gravel, soil, a plant, scissors (or a small utility knife), and some dried moss. Follow the instructions on thechillydog and pay attention to the details.

7. Large DIY Self-Watering Planter

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After you’ve seen the ideas we’ve gathered so far, you might be wondering if there’s any possibility that you could make a large self-watering planter, more similar to what you already use. The answer is yes. Check out bucolicbushwick to find out how you can convert a standard planter into a self-watering one.

8. Homemade Self-Watering Planter

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If you like the idea of a large self-watering planter or one that has a big reservoir for those times when you need to take long trips, you should have a look at the tutorial offered on frugalupstate. It shows you how to craft a self-watering planter that suits these criteria. The project is fairly simple and budget-friendly.

9. Upside-Down Hanging Self-Watering Earth-Filled Box

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There’s more than one way to connect a planter to a water reservoir. The idea with the bottle planter that has a hole in the cap and a wick is one of the easiest ones to achieve but there’s another strategy that you might want to try. This idea comes from instructables. As you can see, the planters are hanging upside down and that’s pretty cool even without the self-watering system.

10. DIY Self Watering Planter Box

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Another tutorial showing you how to build a self-watering planter can be found on thehandygardener. The supplies needed include a foam box with no holes and with a lid, a PVC pipe, a saw (or something to cut the pipe with), scissors, waterproof tape, and a stick. Curious what the stick is for? It serves as a gauge that lets you know whether your planter box needs water or not.

11. DIY Self Watering Container: Water Cooler Bottle

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The idea of upcycling water bottles into self-watering planters is great because you can make planters of all shapes and sizes, depending on how big the bottle is and how it’s shaped. If you need a large planter then use a water cooler bottle. That should offer a big water reservoir that will take care of your plants for quite. some time. the tutorial featured on bucolicbushwick also suggests using a tomato cage as a support structure if needed.

Related: AeroGarden – The Best And Easy Way To Grow Plants Indoor

12. A Self-Watering Planter for Under $10

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Speaking of large planters, another idea is to use buckets instead of big bottles. According to the tutorial offered on reallifeathome you can make a self-watering planter using two paint buckets, a paint mixing container, a piece of PVC pipe, a dowel, and a drill. You’ll also need some coffee filters or cheesecloth to cover the holes at the bottom of the bucket so the soil doesn’t block them.

13. Customize Your Self-Watering Planter

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As you’ve probably figured out by now, you can probably use any type of pot or container to build a self-watering planter. It’s just a matter of adjusting the design and strategy to the supplies and tools that you have. Check out littlevictorian to find out how this whole process goes. It’s easy, cheap and anyone can do it. Also, there’s a lot of room for customization.

14. Self-Watering Container Garden

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It’s possible to build a self-watering planter out of just about anything. I think we’ve already proven this with all the planters made of bottles we showed you earlier but in case you still need convincing check out this project from verticalveg. These planters are made out of wood boxes, plastic sheets, pipes, and plastic boxes.

15. Self-Watering Planters for Tomatoes

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Thanks to self-watering planters like this one you can grow beautiful tomatoes without even having a garden. You can make a planter like this one for less than $10. All you will need is a towel, two containers, and two sponges. You can find all the details plus instructions and tips in this Youtube video tutorial.

16. DIY Mini Self-Watering Wicking Garden

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This is a great option for anyone who is short on space, and this wicking bed container garden is simple enough for anyone to create. Follow this tutorial on YouTube for more details. It will save you water and give good moisture to your plants, yet it is quick and easy to build. You could even get your kids involved in this project, and it’s ideal for anyone who lives in an apartment or who is an urban gardener. Your new garden setup should last for a few years, and you’ll just have to replace the fabric on the bottom from time to time.

17. Make your own Self -Watering Container out of Buckets

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You’ll just need two buckets and a Styrofoam cup to form the base of this self-watering container. You can easily find buckets for this project from crestonesolarschool at your local grocery store. Try to get two different sizes and depths to be able to make this self-watering planter properly. The shorter one will hold the plant, and then the larger one is used for the water reserve. The Styrofoam cup will need to be large if you have a deep water reservoir, but it can be small if it’s shallow. You can also opt for an empty plastic bottle if this is easier to get a hold of. This is a fun and easy project to create, especially in comparison to other options, and it’s a great choice for anyone going away for an extended period of time to keep your plants healthy.

18. Self-Watering Garden using your Air Conditioner

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For an eco-friendly option that can use your air conditioner’s recycled water, check out this self-watering garden from instructables. It will save on your water bill while looking after your planter garden, and you won’t have to be involved in the process at all once it’s set up. It will save you precious time and effort in the garden, and your vegetables and plants will actually taste and look even better since no chlorine is used.

19. One Cut Soda Bottle Self-Watering Planter

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For this incredibly simple DIY project, you’ll just need a 2-liter plastic bottle and an old sock that’s ready to go in the bin. It requires just one cut of your bottle, and then you’ll push the end of the sock through the bottleneck. The elastic band in your sock will help to keep it in place with no issues. It’s perfect for indoor use, as you’ll simply fill the sock with soil and add a plant of your choice, as shown in these instructions from planteatrepeat.

20. Self-Watering Planter with the Container of Your Choice

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Use a container of your choice to create this self-watering planter from thekitchengarten. Good options include a Rubbermaid tub or a decorative planter if you are planning to have this as a focal point in your home or garden. You could use any large container, even if it’s not designed with plants in mind. This project is ideal for planting salad leaves and will help them bloom in just a few weeks.


All of these self-watering planters are a fantastic way to keep your plants well-watered for an extended period of time, especially if you are going away for a week or so. You’ll want to ensure you use them with the specified types of plants for these containers, which are generally vegetables and tropical plants. The great thing about all of these projects is that they encourage you to reuse household items and containers, and minimize waste. It’s an excellent way to bring new life into an item that may otherwise be heading for the trash. With minimal time and effort, you will have added a handy tool to your gardening supplies that will save you water and hassle in the long run.