How to Make a Sub-Irrigated Planter (SIP) from a 2-Liter Bottle

Photo Courtesy of Green Roof Growers. Lacinato Kale in Recycled Pop Bottle Planters

Photo Courtesy of Green Roof Growers. Lacinato Kale in Recycled 2L SIPs

Sub-irrigated planters (mistakenly referred as “self-watering planters”) are amazing systems for growing both houseplants and edible plants. SIPs hold reservoirs of water and air inside the planter, giving plants a constant supply of what they need to grow. With access to a constant supply of water and oxygen through the reservoir, the root system can now grow exponentially. Finally, the gardening adage of “the bigger the pot, the bigger the plant” now no longer applies!

Materials Needed:

  • 2-Liter Soda Bottle (or any size bottle really)
  • Scissors/Sharp Object (Point of a knife;For Poking Drainage Holes)
  • Potting Mix
  • Strip of Fabric (Felt works best; cotton works as well, but won’t last as long)
  • Seeds / Plant

Assembly Instructions:

1. Remove label and clean the inside of the soda bottle.
2. Take your sharp object and poke drainage holes in the top third section of the bottle. Alternatively, you could use a heated metal skewer to make the holes.
3. Pierce a hole in the side of the bottle about half-way down. Wrap a piece of paper around the bottle, take a marker and trace a cutting line line along the
4. Cut along bottle along line.
5. Invert bottle top and insert strip of fabric
6. Make sure that the fabric is in direct contact with the soil.

If you have any questions, take a look at this nifty graphic put together by The Singing Seed or feel free to contact us:

2-Liter Sub-Irrigated Planter (SIP)

2-Liter Sub-Irrigated Planter (SIP)


For more information on SIPs check out:

Inside Urban Green (Tons of information on SIPs, including more detailed SIP instructions)
Slippery Slope Farm (75 Storage Container Rooftop)
Greenroof Growers (Chicago-based rooftop farmers)

Beautifying Tree Beds on Nassau Ave: An Opportunity for Everyday Green Space

Written for

On my way home I routinely find myself walking along Nassau Avenue, which has been undergoing a major construction project for the last year. Although the roadway is now nicely paved with brand new curbs and light fixtures, the tree beds along Nassau were certainly in need of some care following the construction. Throughout North Brooklyn and the whole city, it’s routine to find pieces of broken glass, Continue reading