HOME || SITE MAPAs an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Self-Watering
5 Gallon Bucket Planter:

This improved self-watering Bucket system has a larger water reservoir without losing any soil capacity! It's an easy DIY garden project, perfect for urban or small-scale gardeners.

CAPACITY:
Root Zone: 5 gallons of potting mix.
Reservoir: 1.75 gallons of water.

The Best 5 Gallon Bucket Planter:

THE DOUBLE BUCKET ADVANTAGE: Some self-watering bucket designs only use a single bucket which is then partitioned into a potting mix section resting above a smaller water reservoir. Those designs can save you a couple dollars since you don't need a 2nd bucket. But they reduce the water storage capacity along with the available root zone. The double bucket SIPs allow for even larger plants while boosting hydration significantly.

INCREASED WATER CAPACITY HACK: The hack shown in the video gives an even further boost, allowing you to have a much larger water reservoir. These wicking buckets are quite sturdy when filled with water. But the plants can get massive! If your crop is super tall and you tend neglect the water reservoir, you can maintain stability by adding a brick to the reservoir. I personally don't need to do it since I keep the reservoir fairly full. But if your garden is in a super windy area, you might decide to play it safe, especially once your plants start to explode. 😉

Video: How to Build BETTER:
Self Watering 5 Gallon Bucket

This self-watering bucket planter is easy to build and perfect for small scale growers!

What to Grow in 5 Gallon SIP Buckets

PORTABLE SELF-WATERING POTS: These wicking containers are compact and easy to move around. That makes them perfect for renters or gardeners who want to grow plants on their porches, decks or balconies. A perfect option for first-time growers or for handling an overflow of plants.

A self-watering 5 gallon bucket is a fairly robust system capable of going for days or even weeks before needing watered. The soil capacity is large enough to yield a fairly nice harvest. A single tomato plant will do pretty well or even a squash, cucumber or zucchini. I think these containers are perfect for a couple pepper plants or a single kale or broccoli. Obviously, smaller things like carrots, lettuce, spinach or basil will grow super well.

Self-Watering 5 Gallon Buckets Growing Peppers as Garden Experiment
Garden experiment conducted with sweet pepper plants grown in self-watering 5 gallon buckets.
Self-Watering 5 Gallon Bucket Planters in Backyard Patio Garden
Self-watering bucket containers are an easy way to squeeze extra plants into open spaces.
Huge Crop of Sweet Peppers Grown in Self-Watering 5 Gallon Buckets
This pepper plant had a massive harvest when grown in the SIP 5 gallon bucket!

Tutorial Directions:

    MATERIALS LIST:
  • 2 x 5 Gallon Buckets
  • 4 x 4.5" Wooden Spacer Blocks (3/4" Thick)
  • 5/8" Poly Derby Rope - 32" Length
  • 1/2" Schedule 40 PVC Pipe - 24" Length
  • Water Bottle with Bottom Cut Off

    SIP POTTING MIX:
  • 4 Gallons Peat Based Retail Potting Mix
  • 2 Quarts Vermiculite
  • 1 Quart Perlite
  • 2 Cups 5-3-3 Organic Fertilizer

    CONSTRUCTION:
  1. Bottom (Reservoir) Bucket: Drill a 1/2" hole on the side, 5.5" up from the bottom.
  2. Top Bucket: Drill 1/8" holes in 4 sets of two, equally spaced, for the spacer blocks.

  3. Spacer Blocks: Cut 4 wooden blocks at 4.5" long (3/4" thick), about 2 inches wide.
  4. Pre-drill pilot holes into the blocks, making sure they match up with the bucket holes.
  5. Attach spacer blocks to bucket with 1/2" coated screws, driven from the inside of the bucket.

  6. Top Bucket: Drill three 1" holes using spade bit for wicking cord and watering tube.
  7. Drill additional 1/8" holes into bottom of bucket to create an aeration screen.

  8. Place top bucket into bottom bucket. Add wicking cord. Drop in fill tube.
  9. Attach water bottle funnel to top end of fill tube.
  10. Fill with potting mix. Plant seedlings. Lightly water in the top of soil. Fill reservoir.

How to Build:
Self-Watering Bucket Planter Tutorial:

Double Bucket Self-Watering Planter Materials
These are the materials needed to build your self-watering 5 gallon bucket planter.
Tutorial Self-Watering 5 Gallon Bucket Overflow Hole
Bottom (Reservoir) Bucket: Drill a 1/2" hole on the side, 5.5" up from the bottom. This serves as an overflow hole to prevent the plant roots from getting oversaturated.
Tutorial Self-Watering 5 Gallon Bucket Pre-drill Holes for Spacer Blocks
Top Bucket: Drill 1/8" holes in 4 sets of two, equally spaced, for the spacer blocks. Cut wooden spacer blocks. Pre-drill pilot holes into the blocks, making sure they match up with the bucket holes.

Tutorial Self-Watering 5 Gallon Bucket Spacer Blocks Attached to Top Bucket
Attach spacer blocks to bucket with 1/2" coated screws, driven from the inside of the bucket.
Tutorial Self-Watering 5 Gallon Bucket Top Bucket Holes Drilled in Base
Top Bucket: Drill three 1" holes using spade bit for wicking cord and watering tube. Drill additional 1/8" holes into bottom of bucket to create an aeration screen.
Tutorial Self-Watering 5 Gallon Bucket Final Assembly
Final Assembly: Place top bucket into bottom bucket. Add wicking cord. Drop in fill tube. Attach water bottle funnel to top end of fill tube.


HOW TO (Make a 30 Gallon Tote) →