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Self watering pots from milk containers

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    I had an idea to make some self watering pots from plastic milk containers.

    and then a quick google search shows that my idea is not original…..see here

    I am thinking it would be good for herbs, micro greens and the like which can be brought inside used then outside to regenerate and swap for a “new one”

    Would also be a good school holiday project for those with children.

    Plants I was thinking would be good for this were lettuce, rocket, peas (for pea shoots), basil, maybe even silverbeet/chard seedlings I have comming up at the moment.

    Has anyone done this???




    Worth reading the comments on vanessa’s link re possible problems with the milk carton method.Wortha try though.


    good old self sufficientish!

    Haven’t tried those but may have to have a go!



    I found the water always looked icky with clear containers and it put me off :sick:

    My preferred way to do it is to pack the bottom half of the milk container with wood chips, cork, coconut coir, anything spongy that holds a lot of water. Then let it drain as per usual, but the wood chips will retain water. The plant will grow it’s roots all through the woody layer and stay alive even on a hot day.


    InsideUrbanGreen is the guru for re-purposing anything into wicking containers, or SIPs.


    I used to do similar things when I was a kid growing carnivorous plants, they are mostly bog plants so like a lot of water. I grew duckweed on top of the water to stop it looking bad and to drain out any excess nutrients. We did not have much water so i often used pond and river water and I think that must have introduced daphnia or something that ate the algae as the water was mostly very clear looking. I can’t think of any other reason for the water to look clear.

    I have not even thought to use it for herbs and things. I will try to find some time to get the kids to help me make a few and see if we can grow something in it. Even if we do it wrong and it does not work the kids will have fun just giving it a go with me!


    One of our people at work made one at their day placement,it had a herb in it,cant remember what atm.Problem was other staff over watering it.I would come in and tip out a heap of water.

    In the end the herb died so I took the bottle home and planted a spider plant in it,it loves the growing environment and gets my tea dregs.

    The only difference is they made a cover for it and it had big buttons sewn on it.It looks really good actually.When I’m back at work next Wed and if I remember I’ll take a pic and post it.The cover doesnt come off so it’s probably glued on.


    As promised a pic of the water planter from work.It is covered in coloured hessian.

    I’d say they sewed the buttons and bow on before fitting it to the bottle,there is a seam running down the back and it’s glued on the bottom and turned under at the top and glued again.


    This is the bottom


    The top


    The back.

    They seem pretty easy to make and if wanting to sell some plants in something other than pots they look pretty sitting on the window sill inside,this is where this one lives.


    Hi Friends,

    I like the different ideas of self watering pots. It is a very nice technique. I also used this idea it in my garden. I find it very helpful. Thanks guys for this idea.

    Eira Clapton

    Thanks for this idea. I have been worried about the amount of plastic in my bin from all the milk containers! I wonder if I could rig up a sort of stand to hold 3 or 4 of these, but make it from some old wood like from a pallet- this would disguise the bottom where the water is, and keep them from falling over in a wind.

    Must put this on the to-do list!

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