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How to use plastic bottles to water outdoor plants while on vacation

Updated February 21, 2019

A vacation can be a relaxing time for forgetting your worries, but forgetting to water your plants can be fatal for them. Vacationers can set up a self-watering system to keep their thirsty plants lush and happy. A self-watering system can be made quickly using plastic water bottles found around your house. Erect a bottle-based watering system today so you can enjoy your vacation without fretting over your favourite garden plants.

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  1. Take off the cap of the two litre water bottle. Use a small nail, knife or drill to poke a small hole in the plastic cap of the bottle. Replace the cap on the plastic bottle.

  2. Cut off the bottom of the water bottle with scissors. Discard the cut end. Use caution, as the cut plastic edge may be sharp.

  3. Turn the plastic water bottle upside down. Bury its capped end in the outdoor soil as close as possible to the base of the plant that you wish to water. Bury it deep enough so that the bottle is able to stand upright.

  4. Fill the plastic bottle with water. The water will slowly drip into the soil through the hole in the plastic bottle's cap. Test this before you leave for your vacation to see how long the water lasts. Your local climate and soil affects the longevity of this water bottle watering system.

  5. Use a watering spike intended for plastic water bottles as an alternative to punching a hole in the bottle's cap. Example products include Megagro's AquaSpike and Plant Nanny's Nanny Stakes. Fill a plastic water bottle with water. Attach the watering spike to the top of the plastic water bottle. Invert the bottle and bury the stake. The water will trickle out of the bottle through the spike to water your plants.

  6. Tip

    Add one to two inches of mulch around the base of the plant to reduce evaporation and keep your plants hydrated longer. Also consider erecting a shade cloth to shield the plant from the sun's heat and further reduce water loss via evaporation.

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Things You'll Need

  • 2-liter plastic bottles
  • Scissors
  • Watering spikes
  • Mulch and shade cloth (optional)

About the Author

Joshua Duvauchelle is a certified personal trainer and health journalist, relationships expert and gardening specialist. His articles and advice have appeared in dozens of magazines, including exercise workouts in Shape, relationship guides for Alive and lifestyle tips for Lifehacker. In his spare time, he enjoys yoga and urban patio gardening.

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