How to Make a Hanging Herb Garden Using Recycled Soda Bottles

Posted on Aug 14 2009 - 2:30am by Mike Lieberman

The idea of the hanging garden planter using a soda bottle came after my unsuccessful attempts at upside down vegetable gardening.

One of my readers, Craig Stanton, left a comment saying that I should put the cap back on and grow the vegetables out of the top. That seems so obvious, but I didn’t think of it at all and they’re also easy to make.

These hanging garden planters are a great low cost way to start your own home vegetable garden. You can hang them in a window, on your balcony or anywhere that gets sunlight. I was able to put them on the rails of my fire escape garden.

    Here’s what you’ll need to make one:

  • Tools and materials 2L soda bottle
  • Duct tape
  • Razor
  • Hole puncher
  • Thick twine or thin rope
  • Drill or something to poke hole in bottle cap

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gF8Re1Xi7A

    Instructions on how to make a hanging herb planter:

  • Use razor to cut off bottom third or so of soda bottle.
  • Wrap duct tape around the bottom part of the soda bottle. Make sure that half of the duct tape is on the bottle and half is above it.
  • Cut slits about 2-3″ apart in the duct tape and fold over.
  • Punch two holes about halfway down the duct tape. Cut two more on the opposite side.
  • Cut string and thread through two of the holes form the outside in. Do the same on the other side.
  • Drill hole in soda bottle cap to allow for drainage and screw back on.

73 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. AnitaAvalos August 14, 2009 at 8:46 am -

    brilliant!

  2. Michelle Renee September 8, 2009 at 12:29 pm -

    Have you thought about doing a how to on making soda bottle planters? They seem easy to make but a video would be helpful. thanks.

  3. Mike Lieberman September 8, 2009 at 2:19 pm -

    Absolutely. I'll have it done before the end of the month. For right now, you can make this https://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2009/07/mak… but put the cap on it and drill a hole through the cap.

  4. Kerry Michaels September 10, 2009 at 11:58 am -

    If you put a little square of plastic window screening over the bottom hole, you would have great drainage – that way you don't even have to drill a hole, just leave the top off.

  5. Mike Lieberman September 11, 2009 at 5:51 am -

    Another great idea. Thanks for the tip. Most of the windows in NYC apts don't have window screening though. It's our form of a thermostat. 🙂

  6. Mike Lieberman September 11, 2009 at 12:51 pm -

    Another great idea. Thanks for the tip. Most of the windows in NYC apts don't have window screening though. It's our form of a thermostat. 🙂

  7. Padraigan July 17, 2010 at 1:06 am -

    What I tried this year Mike, is to cut the pop bottles about three quarters of the way up but not right through. Take the cap off also. I planted stuff in little pots that would fit into the bottom of the bottle. You could then open the top and water the plants. When the top was down it acted like a little greenhouse. When the plants got bigger, I just opened the top and left it open.

  8. Mike Lieberman July 17, 2010 at 5:18 am -

    Love the idea. Thanks.

  9. Jesse Mabry November 3, 2010 at 3:34 am -

    brilliant!

  10. Mike Lieberman November 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm -

    Thanks. They worked out great.

  11. Asileon January 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm -

    Could you possibly put a small rock and maybe 1/2″ of sand instead of the screening or cap?

  12. Mike Lieberman January 5, 2012 at 8:14 am -

    I’m sure you can.

  13. Ama January 26, 2012 at 5:41 pm -

    great, but not sure you want to put duct tape near food/plants, i think theres some bad chemicals in most tapes

  14. Mike Lieberman January 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm -

    Thanks for the heads up.

  15. Maikelstonesoup February 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm -

    What about Fire Dept? Surely it’s not legal to obstruct fire escape…and for good reason, people above you might be trapped. I live in Brooklyn. Super objects to anything [bag of scraps for local compost, bottles] on fire escape. building won’t allow containers outside windows.

  16. Mike Lieberman February 9, 2012 at 8:44 am -

    The entire design of the fire escape is a hazard. The windows barely open. The radiator isn’t stable for footing. 

    J-walking is also illegal in NYC…but it doesn’t get enforced too much.

  17. Mike Lieberman February 9, 2012 at 8:44 am -

    I likes. Thanks!

  18. Melonrose February 10, 2012 at 8:19 pm -

    Hemp twine will naturally decompose from contact with the wet soil – then the bottle will fall, damaging the plant.

  19. Joy February 10, 2012 at 11:40 pm -

    What a cool idea! I’ve had bad luck growing herbs in plastic containers (but they were darker and thicker than those) before. What herbs worked best for you all?

  20. Mike Lieberman February 11, 2012 at 11:23 am -

    MInt, oregano, parsley and tarragon worked well for me.

  21. Mike Lieberman February 11, 2012 at 11:23 am -

    Good call on that.

  22. Byo February 20, 2012 at 1:46 pm -

    cool

  23. Lynn Weber February 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm -

    Awesome idea…I was worried for a minute because I don’t drink soda but while cleaning up the ‘bar’ at the house I found 2- 2 liters of soda a guest left for mixers. Poured out the soda and now I’m on my way to a new hanging garden for my upcoming RV lifestyle!!

  24. Lynn Weber February 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm -

    Awesome idea…I was worried for a minute because I don’t drink soda but while cleaning up the ‘bar’ at the house I found 2- 2 liters of soda a guest left for mixers. Poured out the soda and now I’m on my way to a new hanging garden for my upcoming RV lifestyle!!

  25. Mike Lieberman February 20, 2012 at 8:20 pm -

    That’s what’s up!

  26. Scott P February 22, 2012 at 2:16 pm -

    You gave me an idea- this would probably work by stringing the bottles in a downward motion. You could drill a hole in the neck of each bottle and dangle another under it (leaving some space for the plants to grow out) to make a chain of growers for a apartment patio or such. If you drill a hole in the cap of each one, the water can drip into the plant underneath it too. You could also use a 20oz bottle on the bottom to catch excess water if needed.

  27. Mike Lieberman February 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm -

    Good call on that. Check out http://www.WindowFarms.org. They have something like that.

  28. Mike Lieberman February 28, 2012 at 9:25 am -
  29. allmanbrothersfull March 12, 2012 at 8:35 pm -

    Awesome I had an idea why not use a three liter bottle and just keep the cap off??????:)sounds doable luv this I hope to be able to get this under way ASAP Thanks so much I also like the idea of hanging them together thumbs up!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Mike Lieberman March 13, 2012 at 7:19 am -

    I like it.

  31. johanna Moon March 17, 2012 at 5:07 pm -

    I am using milk crates and burlap – it is reusable and I can stack them on concrete blocks and recycled wood.  I do have a railing as well and think I will do this there so I can grow more.  thanks for the idea

  32. Mike Lieberman March 18, 2012 at 6:00 pm -

    Ohhh I like that!

  33. splashingwater March 25, 2012 at 7:17 am -

    I like the simple intructions.  I just made one.  I lined the inside of it with newspaper, to help keep the roots dark.  I am eager to start using my new planter!  It’s a great idea for urban living.

  34. Mike Lieberman March 25, 2012 at 4:30 pm -

    Most def.

  35. Garet Bleddynn March 28, 2012 at 8:57 am -

    Out of curiosity, what all plants have you tried growing upside down? I’ve read in the Square Foot Gardening book that squashes and such will strengthen their stems when growing up a trellis so I wondered if zucchini could be grown this way.

  36. Mike Lieberman March 28, 2012 at 9:27 am -

    Mostly herbs without success.

  37. GUEST April 3, 2012 at 8:25 am -

    I read the same Garet, Im going to try some cucumbers.

  38. DJones April 17, 2012 at 8:00 am -

    SO glad I found your site:) Was wondering if it would be possible to somehow tape the cut off bottom back onto what is now the bottom and make it a self-watering container?

  39. Mike Lieberman April 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm -

    Here’s the how to on that https://www.urbanorganicgardener.com/2010/06/self-watering-container-made-out-of-a-soda-bottle/

  40. DJones April 19, 2012 at 4:50 pm -

    Thank you:)

  41. Line Bonneau April 21, 2012 at 9:06 am -

    Love the idea to get kids involved by decorating container. One concern though: how about plastic leaching health risks? Is it safe to eat food grown in such containers?

  42. Mike Lieberman April 23, 2012 at 6:14 am -

    It’s not ideal, but it’s better than nothing. It’s also likely better than what’s bought in the supermarket.

  43. Norma Gunter April 24, 2012 at 8:51 pm -

    love this idea my 2year old gradedaughter helps me in the garden. boy aer we going to have fun with this .

  44. Mike Lieberman April 25, 2012 at 5:59 am -

    That’s awesome!

  45. Ailyhsaun April 29, 2012 at 3:47 pm -

    To the idea about turning these into self watering …. I would think a bit of screen put along the “top” and leaving the cap off …. reattaching the bottom would make it a sort of self water wouldn’t it?

  46. Mike Lieberman April 30, 2012 at 5:45 am -

    That might work.

  47. Mike T. May 1, 2012 at 10:57 pm -

    Thanks for posting this project!  I have three “bottles” up and running in my backyard so far..  one has thai basil, one has sesame seed plants, and the last will have (I hope) nasturtiums.  Awesome idea!

  48. Mike Lieberman May 2, 2012 at 6:18 am -

    Nice bro. Get it!

  49. Megan McLees May 10, 2012 at 7:22 pm -

    This is so great! I am going to make several of these, thanks for the idea!

  50. Mike Lieberman May 11, 2012 at 7:04 am -

    Glad you likes.

  51. Adrian May 14, 2012 at 9:15 am -

    This is great. This gets me thinking: I’m going to try this and see if I can find attachments for a hose pipe. If I set a rain tank with an output higher than the bottom of the bottles, I can connect dozens of bottles together with a hose (T intersection to each bottle bottom), then I can irrigate from below with a single turn of a tap from the rain barrel. Can’t wait to try it!

  52. Mike Lieberman May 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm -

    Sounds pretty interesting.

  53. Donna Lynn Golladay May 15, 2012 at 6:46 pm -

     if it works, we’d all love to see pics of that – good luck!

  54. Lorenzo May 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm -

     Mike, what kinds or plants have you been able to successfully grow in the soda bottles?

  55. Mike Lieberman May 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm -

    Mostly herbs and shallow rooted veggies like lettuce.

  56. Archana Vasudevan June 14, 2012 at 10:41 am -

    Hi, what kind of string / twine or rope do you use? I use yogurt container planters in my balcony garden, and wanted to use them to grow strawberries. apparently they appreciate the height. I want something that will hold them up, rain or shine. I would hate to see a planter topple down. So would the lady living downstairs. 😀

  57. Mike Lieberman June 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm -

    I just used thicker twine.

  58. Nahk77 June 17, 2012 at 6:04 am -

    Great blog Mike….
    Btw, have u thought ab out taking the bottom of the bottle that u cut out and attaching it as a water reservoir with wick thru the bottle cap for a self watering bottle container?

  59. Mike Lieberman June 18, 2012 at 10:16 am -

    Word. I like that idea.

  60. plastic pipe June 24, 2012 at 2:57 am -

    Great tips. very
    well-written, keyword-oriented and incredibly useful. its really interesting
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  61. Mike Lieberman June 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm -

    I seriously hope that you aren’t charing a client and calling that link building. Poor form.

  62. Naomi Miller July 2, 2012 at 1:14 pm -

    You can probably use some heavy duty nylon twine. It’s the same construct as rope on boats, so it can handle the weather and weight,

  63. Lrobb July 23, 2012 at 9:58 pm -

    Brilliant idea!  I’ve loaded my balcony railing this summer with sweet peas and dahlias in pop bottles and squash plants in 4L milk containers!  My elderly neighbours actually think it’s cool and people keep stopping to look as they drive by (small town).  I’ll have to rig up some sort of ‘support hose’ for the squash when they get bigger, but thanks for the tip!

  64. Wren Paasch November 26, 2012 at 5:44 pm -

    I wonder if you know about how much a soda bottle planter full of soil and plant weighs? My apartment building is aluminum siding on the outside, and though I found hooks that I can put into the ceiling of my balcony, they only support five pounds (or else you risk warping the siding). I’d love to do hanging baskets or some such but they’d be way too heavy. This might work!

  65. Ashley Owens December 22, 2012 at 2:11 pm -

    Hello, I just joined and read this idea. I think it is very neat, and I think my 3 1/2 year old will love to help me and decorate. I have a question or comment, many people are talking about the health risks of plastic. What if any is the difference of using food grade plastic to eat out of vs. planting in? Thank you.

  66. Lori B. January 25, 2013 at 1:08 pm -

    I am thinking about making up a bunch and having them hang over the outside of my balcony railings to leave more space on the inside. My balcony is only 6 feet wide by 2 feet deep. 🙂 Great idea!

  67. homegroan June 4, 2013 at 12:42 pm -

    If you put a coffee filter in the bottle before adding soil, the water will drain when you take off the cap, without any soil loss. 🙂

  68. MyKinKStar June 20, 2013 at 12:15 pm -

    Use ice when you water them to melt slowly, versus pouring in a bunch of water weight all at once.

  69. Dirty ol' hippie July 11, 2013 at 12:43 pm -

    You can also line the outside with tin foil or use a non clear bottle to help keep the roots from drying out but also bring in enough to keep the roots warm 🙂 along with your advice and everyone’s input it will be perfect 🙂

  70. Ace November 27, 2013 at 7:54 pm -

    This could help too!

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