How To Easily Make A Self-Watering Container

Posted on Jun 2 2010 - 3:50am by Mike Lieberman

One of the best parts about making self-watering containers for your garden is that it’s cheap. Most of the supplies needed are either already laying around the house or you can easily get in your neighborhood.

The best part is that you can grow a ton of different herbs and vegetables in containers just like this.

Container Within A Container and No Pipe


  • Drill
  • 1/4″ bit
  • 3 1/2″ hole saw for metal and wood
  • 1 1/4″ hole saw for metal and wood


  • 2 food grade 5 gallon containers – 1 for planting container and 1 for reservoir container
  • 1/2 deli container for wicking basket

Instructions On How to Make With 2 Containers and No Pipe

  • Use the 1/4″ drill bit to drill holes in the deli container.
  • Attach the 3 1/2″ hole saw attachment to the drill. Drill a hole in the bottom of the container. I’ve found drilling in a counter-clockwise direction to work best.
  • Reattach the 1/4″ drill bit and drill holes in the bottom of the planting container to allow for drainage.
  • Put the wicking basket in the middle of the reservoir container.
  • Place the planting container in the reservoir container aligning the wicking basket with the hole in the middle.
  • There will be a little space between the wicking basket and the planting container. You can duct tape the basket to the bottom of the container, but it’s not necessary.
  • Hold the containers up to the light. You should be able to see through the reservoir container where the planting container is. Using the 1 1/4″ hole saw, drill a hole 1/4″ in the reservoir container below where the planting container is.
  • This is the hole where you will water the plant from.
  • That’s it. You’re done!