Simple Solutions

DIY Drip Irrigation for Houseplants

By: Joe Truini
Drilling a hole in the top of a plastic water bottle to make houseplant drip irrigation.

Drill a hole in the top of a plastic bottle to make houseplant drip irrigation.

It’s easy to make DIY houseplant drip irrigation using nothing more than a plastic water bottle.

To make drip irrigation for houseplants:

  1. Drill a 1/8” diameter hole in the lid of a plastic water bottle.
  2. Fill the bottle with water.
  3. Screw the lid tightly on the bottle.
  4. Dig a small hole in the soil of the houseplant.
  5. Insert the water bottle upside down in the hole.

The water will slowly leak out over time, keeping the plant well irrigated while you’re away from home on vacation. Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Joe Truini: Drip irrigation is an ideal way to water a row of plants or vegetable beds or even flower beds; because it delivers a precise amount of water exactly where you need it without over watering.

I want to take the benefits of drip irrigation, add it to houseplants, and here’s what I came up with. All you need is an empty plastic bottle and drill an eighth-inch diameter hole in the cap, and that is the drip irrigation system right there.

So, you go to your houseplant and get a stick or a screwdriver, and make a little bit of a hole in the back of the pot—just enough to stick the neck of the bottle in there. This also works, by the way, with wine bottles—you can drill hole in the cork.

And you take the bottle, force it upside down in the hole, right in the soil. And there you go. Now that will very slowly drip a little bit of water each minute or two into the soil and keep it nice and moist.

This is ideal for watering plants when you’re on vacation or if you’re just away for few days. And when you come back your plants will be nice and hydrated, lush, and as green as ever.


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6 Comments on “DIY Drip Irrigation for Houseplants”

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  • Nikki Says:
    May 7th, 2018 at 8:50 pm

    No matter what I do, the holes get clogged with dirt and it never empties! Maybe if I thread the holes with string or yarn?

  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    May 11th, 2018 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Peter! We love community-contributed advice! Take care.

  • Peter Says:
    May 7th, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    You would also need a hole at the top (aka bottom) of the bottle so that air will replace the vacuum set up by water coming out of the bottom. If you hold a water bottle with a narrow opening (with the flip top) you will find that water stays where it is. One solution is to cut quite a large hole in the bottom of the bottle sticking up, and that way, it can be refilled without digging it out of the soil.

  • Alex Says:
    August 13th, 2017 at 4:09 am

    1/8 is probably a good size. I tried a smaller hole and it frequently clogged with dirt, debri and roots.

  • Vidya Says:
    July 29th, 2017 at 11:54 pm

    I think 1/8″ hole is too big as the bottle will empty in few hours time. May be a pinhole might be suitable to let water last a day (12 hours) at the most. It certainly will not work for extended periods, unless you use a very large bottle with a very fine opening in the lid.

  • Esther Roe Torres Says:
    November 7th, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Amazing ! i was so impressed by this idea, simple , easy and resourceful.
    Thank you

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DIY Drip Irrigation for Houseplants