How to Make a Self-Watering Garden Container


Gardeners often despair when they have to go away for long periods. Plant watering is often the major concern, as extended periods without water will cause even the most hardy plants to die. Self-watering containers are a way to ensure your plants stay irrigated during long trips. Plants draw water from a reservoir at the bottom of the container as they require it, negating the need to water with a watering can from the top.

Step 1

Cut a hole in the bottom of one of the buckets with scissors, using the mesh pot as a guide for the size of the hole.

Step 2

Drill several 1/4-inch holes along the bottom of the bucket. This allows water to drain from the bucket and prevents flooding.

Step 3

Cut another, larger hole at the bottom of the bucket in which the length of PVC pipe will fit.

Step 4

Place the mesh pot through the hole at the bottom of the bucket, so that the lip hangs inside bucket, preventing it from falling out.

Step 5

Drill a hole in the lid of the bucket to fit the piece of PVC pipe through. The pipe should be long enough to go from the top of the bucket through the bottom. Make a crescent moon-shaped cut at the lip of the PVC pipe. This allow water to flow through it to the bottom reservoir bucket.

Step 6

Place the bucket with the holes in it onto the other, whole bucket.

Step 7

Feed the PVC pipe from the lip of the top bucket, through the hole in the bottom to the reservoir bucket. The PVC pipe should sit with the crescent shape cut inside the other bucket.

Step 8

Drill a hole in the side of the bottom bucket about halfway up to act as a drainage hole. This prevents flooding.

Step 9

Fill the top bucket with potting soil and your plant. Add an organic fertilizer to your soil. Fill the bottom reservoir with water through the PVC pipe.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 1/2-gallon plastic buckets
  • Scissors
  • Mesh pot
  • Drill
  • Pottiing soil
  • Organic fertilizer
  • PVC pipe
  • Water


  • YouTube: Build a Self-Watering Container
  • Seattle Oil: Making a Self Watering Container or Earthbox
Keywords: self watering container, wick system container, wicking garden container

About this Author

Cleveland Van Cecil is a freelancer writer specializing in technology. He has been a freelance writer for three years and has published extensively on, writing articles on subjects as diverse as boat motors and hydroponic gardening. Van Cecil has a Bachelor of Arts in liberal arts from Baldwin-Wallace College.