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Growing Plants in Bottles

Alamo, CA

Hey so i had an idea for growing some herbs on my counter in kind of a make shift as seen on tv herb counter box. I want to use old beer bottles to hold the plants in. I was thinking of having a layer of pebbles or sand in the bottom of the bottles for drainage, as the bottles dont have holes in them, followed by a layer of peat moss to stop the roots from getting into the pebbles or sand. And then the soil and the seed for the herbs. I was going to set up a strip light for lighting, not sure what kind of bulbs (any suggestions?). I think it will work, the biggest problem imo would be the lack of drainage. I was also thinking of putting a layer of carbonm between the sand and the peat moss to help out a bit, im not sure if this would actually do anything, but i dont think it would hurt the plants. Any suggestions? Any ideas of how i caould definitely make it work? or why it wouldnt work? thanks! new to indoor gardening.

Saint Louis, MO

I think it would be difficult to grow any plant in a beer bottle. The drainage is an issue, but isn't the opening of a beer bottle awfully small to have much growing from it? Herbs like lots of light, somewhat dry conditions and lean soil. Would you consider growing them in beer cans? You could punch in drainage holes and the opening would be significantly wider. I'm sure you will get feedback from others as they ponder your question. There are some very knowledgeable and creative people here.

Plymouth, PA

Beer cans or beer bottles, your plants will produce "intoxicating" beauty! LOL

Dublin, CA(Zone 9a)

I agree with growgirl, I'm not sure about growing them in bottles like that. I think the narrow neck will be problematic, and I definitely think you'll have better luck if you can grow them in something that you can make some drainage holes in, herbs do not like wet feet and "drainage layers" don't always work that well so it'll still be easier to overwater the plants. If you're looking to recycle containers for growing herbs, containers like yogurt containers, butter tubs, maybe even soup cans, etc should all work well if you poke some holes in the bottom.

Alamo, CA

Yeah i suppose the neck is a little tight. I think i might try old soda cans instead. But i will try one beer bottle to see how it works, and i will keep you all updated! thanks!

Alamo, CA

Oh also, are there any recommendations for what plants i should grow? I have no idea yet, i just want somehting interesting. Thanks!

Saint Louis, MO

You mentioned herbs in your initial post. Mint (there are several), chives, basil, rosemary and cilantro should work well. If you want something easier, you might want to grow different succulents. Just keep your planters shallow and don't overwater if you go with succulents. There's a huge variety of easy to grow, interesting succulents to choose from.

Palm Bay, FL(Zone 9b)

Here's a link to a page that will show you how to recycle plastic bottles into self-watering planters...

Edit... one extra suggestion - paint the bottle where the dirt/growing medium will be. When the roots fill up the container, they'll become exposed to sunlight, and roots don't like that.

This message was edited Oct 2, 2009 11:12 AM

Clairton, PA

To people interested in growing herbs and such in bottles. I suggest you look at the Book "Pop Bottle Gardens" published by the National Science Foundation. You can go on line to their site for info. I used this book often in my Environmental Science classes and the gardens are easy to make and easy to carefor. One type even has plants growing in a bottle over another bottle designed to be a composter.

Clairton, PA

The correct title to the Book is "Bottle Biology" - if you google this , you can find some pages on various aspects of garden in bottles. The book is available from Kendall-Hunt publishing (Not that I am pushing it - jst for info)

Caledonia, OH(Zone 5a)

I know this is a little off topic, but check this out. i have had this link before but its just so neat i have to show it again!

zone 6a, KY

That was a really neat link (both of them, actually). After reading the bottle biology site, my kids and I made a wicked planter for them to start seed in. It was fun so thank you. My other son wanted me to start him a variegated rhoeo plant, and that would make a fun way to keep it watered and spend time with the kids. I guess I can show how to take cuttings, too :).

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