Vertical Gardening with Plastic Bottles for Dummies

Introduction: To create a vertical gardening from plastic bottles, you will need clean plastic bottles, rope, soil, and seeds or seedlings. You want to cut openings lengthwise in the bottles, cut holes for strings, and cut some holes on the bottom for drainage and irrigation for the plants. What are we waiting for? Let’s get into the details of  having vertical gardening with plastic bottles.

A guide to vertical gardening ideas with plastic bottles

Gardens in a plastic bottle are essentially the same thing as terrariums. Each one is a small greenhouse supporting a miniature ecosystem of several plants. The first step in creating bottle gardens is selecting the bottle. Clear bottles allow the most sunlight to enter, so if you select a colored bottle, you need to select plants that tolerate medium to low levels of light.

Bottles with openings big enough to fit your hand through create planting easier. Otherwise, you will have to use chopsticks or a long-handled spoon to work the soil inside the plastic bottle and plant. Just make sure the bottle opening is wide enough for the several plants to fit through it. Also, you could opt for clear plastic soda bottles and simply cut an opening for your plants to fit in. Glass jars work well too and wash the inside and outside of the bottle and allow it to dry, as this removes any toxic substances that could harm the plants. Dry soil won’t stick to the sides of a dry bottle and you can eliminate any dust from the sides when you water.

How to grow plants in plastic bottles

Before you put soil in a plastic bottle, you’ll want to consider what your plants need to grow and survive. Regardless of which container you use all plants want drainage, space for roots to grow, as well as access to sunlight and water.


Before placing soil into the empty plastic containers, it is very important to make small holes throughout the bottom (or the side, depending on whether the bottle will lay horizontal or vertical) and cut off the top. By poking small holes throughout the bottom, this will allow water to flow through quickly rather than pooling which can make damage such as overwatering.


It is important to choose a plastic bottle that will allow sunlight to flow shine through. Because of this, clear bottles (or very light colors such as light green) are best for this type of garden. You may want to consider if you’re hanging bottle vertical garden will be in direct sunlight. Excessive sunlight can overheat the plastic thereby overheating the plants inside.


Some plastic bottles are flimsy and may not stand the wear and tear of changing weather and temperature ranges. Choose plastic bottles made from durable materials and ensure a vertical garden is secure and won’t fall due to wind or extreme rain.

Water source

Your plastic bottle vertical garden will likely have water run-off and can help water the other plants you have, and creating a self-irrigation system. Ensure this water run-off won’t interrupt neighbors or incur structural damage.

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Factors to be considered while constructing plastic bottle vertical garden

The important factors to consider when constructing your plastic bottle vertical garden are;

  • Access to sunlight
  • Protection from extreme elements
  • Use of durable materials
  • Proper irrigation and drainage
  • Viable seeds or seedlings

Some vertical gardening ideas with plastic bottle

 Growing Plants in Plastic Bottles.
Growing Plants in Plastic Bottles.

Here are some ideas to make a vertical plastic bottle garden;

Window farm

The indoor window farms allow the crops to take full benefit of the light and vertical space available at the windows. And assisted by personal living space climate control, and regularly feeds the roots with organic liquid soil.

The basic Window farms kits contained almost everything required to start an urban farm in which almost any small food crop could be grown including kale, lettuce, strawberries, herbs like basil and stevia, peas, swiss chard, cress, and even squash.

Plastic Bottles on Walls

This plastic bottle vertical garden is made of by stringing the bottles horizontally in a grid along an interior wall and then filled up by substrate and herbs.

Plastic Bottle Tower Garden

It can be set up easily and does not want regular watering. It’s a great method to recycle a bunch of old soda and plastic water bottles. Since the tower is built vertically, then it will help you save a lot of space. This means that it’s ideal for people who have small gardens or just don’t want to use up too much space for growing herbs and flower plants. Aside from the seeds and soil required to grow these plants, you most likely have every other item you need around the house, making this garden not only useful but also affordable.

Growing Cactus in Hanging Plastic Bottles

All that is required is plastic bottles cut in half, cactus plants or succulents, and many colorful threads to get a really cool decorative effect.

Half Plastic Bottle Vertical Garden on Wooden Frame

Use two-liter soda bottles cut them in half and use the neck side of the bottle. Turn the bottle upside down. Adhere the bottles to a wooden frame and place them in such a way so that the open neck of the bottle will drain out the water into the bottle below it.

Green Soda Bottle Vertical Garden

Here’s another idea to make a vertical garden using plastic bottles. It is a great method to reuse old plastic bottles and to introduce some greenery to a small urban space.

Hanging Soda Bottle Garden

Another innovative and great looking idea plastic bottle vertical garden. Bottles are hanging horizontally and attached to the strings.

Wall hanging bottle garden

Lay a 2-liter plastic bottle on its side, horizontally, and then cut out part of the side.  To hang the bottles, you’ll want to then cut out four small holes, two on each side. They must line up with each other. Using rope, wire, or twine, thread through the holes with and once it is all the way through, tie a knot in the end. Cut the rope at the desired length and hang a beautiful bottle garden.

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Self-watering bottle garden

This option is perfect if you want to set a bottle garden out and (almost) forget it. This self-watering bottle vertical garden is easy to make and perfect if you’re going to start small yet yield great results. All you want to do is cut three or four small holes in the neck of the bottle. Then, cut the bottle in half and flip it over, then the neck is now inside the bottom of the bottle.

At the bottom of the base pour a bit of water about ⅔ full. Then, in the neck of the plastic bottle, add soil, fertilizer, and seeds. The water will leech up into the soil as required, and the bottle is essentially becoming a sub-irrigator.

Vertical Plastic Bottle Herb Garden

All you need is some plastic bottles, hooks, nails, and hammer and you’re all set to grow own herbs in a vertical garden. Pick up a small piece of plywood from a local hardware store. And carefully cut the neck of a bottle off, only leaving a little less than half of the bottle. With the neck pointing down, secure it to the plywood using a screw or by using a clamp. Place soil inside the neck of the bottle and a small-sized bottle garden to grow your favorite herbs. It’s good to note that any bottle vertical garden that calls for the soil in the neck of the bottle will require something to clog the opening to ensure the soil doesn’t spill out. We like to use recycled paper loosely stuffed, or you’ll need to carefully poke small holes in the lid and place the cap back on the bottle.

Plants are suitable for growing in plastic bottles

Virtually any plant that doesn’t eventually grow into a large plant can grow in a plastic bottle. All plants have roots and they want space to grow downwards just as much as the stems and leaves need to grow upwards.

Herbs are a great plant to start with as they’re relatively easy to grow. Another great option is vines or ferns however creepers can require support if you want them to grow upwards. It’s very important not to overcrowd seedlings or plants in a bottle.

Slow-growing foliage plants and ferns like high humidity and moderate light levels are best. Small-leaved plants help to create the feeling of a miniature landscape and, as in an ordinary garden, contrasting growth habits and leaf shapes and colors are attractive.

For best results, buy ‘tots’, tiny rooted plants in 4 to 5cm (1 ½ -2 inches) diameter pots and they’re cheap, most likely to fit through the bottle’s neck and they settle down quickly. If there is a lid on the bottle garden the plants should be able to thrive in high humidity; if they don’t, leave the lid off.

Some of the plants for bottle vertical gardens are Aluminium Plant, Arrowhead Vine, Artillery Plant, Begonia, Brake Fern, Button Fern, Calathea, Creeping Fig, Croton, Earth Stars, Emerald Ripple, Frosted Somerila, Good Luck Plant, Ivy, Lady Fern, Maidenhair Fern, Maidenhair Spleenwort, Mosaic Plant, Moss Ferns, Mother of Thousands, Parlour Palm, Peperomia, and Marantas, Polka Dot Plant, Prayer Plant, Ribbon Plant, Stromanthe, and Sweet Flag.

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Build a vertical gardening with plastic bottles
  • First, remove the labels on either side of your bottles.
  • Keep the lids on the plastic bottles to stop the soil from falling straight through the side.
  • Cut around the base of one bottle. Make the cut a bit below where the label ends, preferably so that a tiny bit of the bottom curve inward is preserved. This will help the bottles nest tightly together when you stack them and discard the base of the bottle.
  • Poke small holes in the bottom of your container using a needle or skewer. These small holes are for drainage.
  • Cut a rectangle in the middle of the bottle opposite the side with holes. This is an opening for soil and seedlings.
  • Poke two drainage holes with scissors, on opposite sides, about 3 inches above the cap.
  • Line the inner sides of your plastic bottle with cardboard strips, leaving the holes at the bottom clear. The cardboard acts as insulation for your soil, just like they would obtain underground.
  • Mix the potting soil with sand that is two parts soil to one part sand. The sand will help to thin the soil and allow the water to drain easier. And fill the containers with the potting soil and sand mix.
  • Fill the bottle with potting soil mix, compost or garden soil, pressing the soil in lightly. Leave an inch of space at the top of the plastic bottle.
  • Tie the base for tower onto a supporting structure, such as chain-link fencing or wire, with twine.
  • Transplant your seedling into the soil and water your seedlings.
  • Please check that the draining system works and waterfalls through the soil and out the holes.
  • Measure the length of the desired vertical garden and determine the length of string needed to attach each bottle in your vertical hanging garden.
  • Take the first string and tie it in a loop and wrap the loop around one side of the bottle. Do the same with another piece of string for the other side of the plastic bottle.
  • Hang the bottle up on a high surface with the loops hanging off stable hooks and keeping it stable.
  • Repeat for the other two bottles, attaching the suitable length of string and looping it around the sides of bottles.
  • Attach the strings to the bottles above until you have a vertical hanging garden.

That’s all folks about vertical gardening with plastic bottles, keep growing plants in small spaces!. You may be interested in Crops Suitable for Drip Irrigation.


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