How to Make Your Own Self-Watering Plant Spikes

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Whether you're going away on vacation or you simply just forget to water your houseplants often enough, self-watering devices like plant spikes make life so much easier.


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Self-watering plant spikes are seriously simple to use: All you need to do is fill the bulbs of the devices with water and insert the pointed end into your soil. The bulbs work on the concept of drip irrigation in that they release water as the soil dries. Although you can certainly purchase self-watering plant spikes in a store or online, you can make your own using water bottles.


Not only will you gain a way to water your plants while you're out (saving you money on a plant sitter), but you'll also find a handy way to re-use a plastic water bottle. A win-win.

Things You'll Need

1. Clean Out Your Water Bottle

Mix a solution containing 1 cup bleach and 9 cups hot water to make a 10-percent bleach solution. Wash the water bottle in this solution to completely sterilize it. Rinse the bottles and let dry completely before continuing.


2. Drill a Hole

Drill a hole in the cap of the bottle using the 1-mm diameter drill bit.


3. Fill the Water Bottle

Fill the bottle with water. Place the cap on the bottle.


4. Insert the Self-Watering Spike and Walk Away

Dig a small hole in your soil (just large enough to fit the bottle cap so it can stand securely), and insert the neck of the bottle into the soil. The water will slowly drain from the hole in the bottle's lid.

Plants Suited for Self-Watering

  • Vegetable plants
  • Herbs
  • Many perennials

Plants Not Suited for Self-Watering

  • Cattails
  • Many types of Iris or Lily
  • Any aquatic plant that requires a lot of water

How Long Can You Use Self-Watering Spikes?

Although self-watering spikes are great for watering when you're going to be out of town, how long exactly can they be effective before you have to refill them? It depends largely on the soil type, plant type, and how much water is in your self-watering spike, it generally will last you a couple of weeks. From there you'll either need to refill it or start watering it the good old-fashioned way.