May 23, 2010

Self-Watering Glass Planters

I actually don't remember where I first found this idea, but the minute I saw it,
I thought it was brilliant and had to make some self-watering glass bottle planters of my own.
The clear glass jars act as a water reservoir, and there is a string that draws the water up
through the neck of the wine bottle like an artificial root.

I cut the tops off the wine bottles by scoring a ring around the bottle,
heating it with a candle, and quickly dunking it in cold water.
The rapid temperature change causes the glass to crack along the scored line.
It is possible to sand the glass after, to get rid of the sharp edges, but I didn't bother.

I planted basil and thyme, because those are the two herbs I cook with most.
I also plan on planting one with cilantro, as I have recently become a cilantro convert.

UPDATE: For the first few days, these SIPs (self-irrigating planters) actually did not work. 
The soil dried up quickly, and I was watering them from above because I felt bad for the plants. 
Then one morning I noticed the soil was quite moist. 
Upon closer inspection, I could see that the roots had latched on and intertwined 
themselves to the string where it meets the earth. So if you plan on making your own SIPs, 
you'll have to wait a few days before they start irrigating on their own!


  1. These are great! I'd love to make some of these myself. What did you use to score the glass? Thanks for the lovely idea.

  2. Thanks Dorothy!
    I used a glass cutter that looks similar to this:

    It has a diamond tip and is available at most hardware stores.

  3. Thanks so much for the info!


  4. Hey Nadia,

    Its Chris Molder... I haven't visited your blog before and I have to say that I have enjoyed browsing through it and especially like this idea for my condo.

    Keep up the blog its great and you are very talented.

  5. Thanks Chris!
    I'm glad you like my work.

  6. Very cool. I do something similar but with the bottle of the wine bottle instead of a jar. I think the contrast of the glass colors by using the jars really adds something though. I would love to do a large version of this some day with live fish.

    Do you find that dirt falls into the jar?

  7. Here are the ones i made: These do pretty well but need alot of sunlight.

    Also those light bulb ones are super cool. Did they get gross after a while? they seem like they might but they sure look beautiful on your post.

  8. Thanks Mike! Your planters are very cool too!
    Both the lightbulbs and the wine bottle/jars need to be rinsed out every few months. It depends on the plant - some plants are cleaner than others.

    I used a small piece of screen to hold the earth in the inverted wine bottle, and prevent dirt from falling into the jar.

    The biggest problem I had with the basil plant was the roots getting out of control.

  9. What type of string did you use?

  10. Hi Lane, I used cotton yarn, but I'm pretty sure you could use just about anything absorbent.

  11. thats really cool I would love to do this myself

  12. When cutting the wine bottles, I first score the bottles then I pour cold water onto the score followed by hot. I do this a few times until the wine bottle breaks in half. I find that this method breaks less bottles and I get more that come out with a perfect cut.

  13. You could also wrap a string that has been soaked in alcohol where you want the bottle cut and lit it on firefor a few seconds and then dip it in water it also gives it a nice cut

  14. I like to do a lot of things too..... actually as a mother and homemaker I was able to practice a lot..... but this!! wow, thx!!! I will try with plastic bottles since cutting glass won't do for me, but oooohhhh thx again so much!!! a terrific idea and so glad you share it!!

  15. I love this idea Nadia! Even though I used to cut glass all the time (stained glass) I really don't feel like going there with a wine bottle. I am thinking of trying this using funnels.

  16. The bright colors on the bottle light up like stained glass windows and add a beautiful pop of color to any room.

  17. I'm definitely going to try it this week! Looking forward to it. Will keep you guys updated!

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  19. How do you stop the dirt from just falling in the water?

    1. I cut a small piece of screen and put it at the bottom before filling the bottles with earth