Sub-irrigated Planters for Mother’s Day

By Amanda Moses

In honor of Mother’s Day, Garden Educator Jacqui Roytman taught her students in Ms. Jessica Wortman’s fourth and fifth grade science classes how to create sub-irrigated planters with flowers for their mothers or female guardians.

Roytman combined capillary action and recycling, using plastic bottles, soil, and flowers for her latest lesson. A sub-irrigated planter is a container that is self-watering. “This is one way to water plants, but by doing so below the soil line. Capillary action helps water rise up from the bottom of the bottle and back into the soil,” Roytman said.

Using an empty water plastic bottle, the first step is to measure and mark three and one-half inches from the bottom of the bottle. Once a marking is made in the middle of the bottle, students were instructed to make ten dots around the neck of the water bottle. Roytman explained that the holes create aeration for the plant.

“The next step is to take scissors and cut the bottle in half,” Roytman said.

After the children finished creating the sub-irrigated planter, they placed two strips of paper into the neck of the bottle, and then poured about three cups of soil into it. Roytman asked the children to add water to the other half of the bottle.

The students then planted seedling flowers into the soil and decorated the outside of the bottle to present as a gift for Mother’s Day.

Photos courtesy of Jacqui Roytman