In your gardening searches online, you may have come across an interesting trend: plastic bottle greenhouses.
As you might have guessed, these are greenhouses made almost entirely from plastic bottles instead of the usual plastic or glass panels. They’re an interesting project. Some elementary schools are even using them to show children how to reuse plastic.
But do plastic bottle greenhouses work? We’ve done the research, and we’ll share our discoveries with you in this post.
Quick Answer: Do Plastic Bottle Greenhouses Work?
Yes, plastic bottle greenhouses can work pretty well. The sunlight is still able to get through the plastic, and temperatures within them can get quite toasty.
However, they may not be as well-insulated as traditional greenhouses. You may need to add more to a plastic bottle greenhouse, such as a lining on the inside, to bring them up to speed with traditional alternatives.
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Why Should You Have a Plastic Bottle Greenhouse?
There are some compelling reasons to attempt to make your own plastic bottle greenhouse. Some of those reasons include:
- Reusing plastic bottles rather than throwing them away.
- Plastic bottle greenhouses hold the heat well.
- Gaps between the bottles make these greenhouse self-watering during the rain.
- They can be much more affordable than a standard greenhouse.
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It reuses plastic bottles.
This reason is pretty self-explanatory, but maybe one of the best things about plastic bottle greenhouses is that they prevent you from just throwing all those bottles away. When you consider how many plastic bottles are just cluttering the environment or sitting in landfills, you can easily see how repurposing them for a greenhouse is a much nicer alternative.
With plastic bottle greenhouses requiring anywhere from 500-1500 plastic bottles on average, this keeps a surprisingly large number of bottles from just ending up in a landfill.
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They hold the heat well.
Similar to an actual greenhouse, plastic bottle greenhouses hold the heat pretty well. The sunlight is easily able to get through the plastic of the bottles, warming your plants nicely.
How well do they hold the heat, exactly? Some owners report that their plastic bottle greenhouses can get as much as ten degrees warmer or more inside.
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Because of gaps between the bottles, rainwater can get in.
Unless you choose to line the inside with something else, there will be some small gaps in between the plastic bottles. This might sound like a problem, but it can actually be to your benefit.
Why? Well, during the rain, water is able to trickle in and water your plants for you. Because of this, you can almost think of these greenhouses as being self-watering.
There is a disadvantage to this, though. If you live somewhere particularly cold, these same gaps can potentially let cold air in. You can prevent this by lining the walls inside with something like bubble wrap.
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It’s cheap to build (and repair).
It costs you little except patience and time to gather the bottles you’ll need to make the greenhouse. You’ll also need to get a frame and tools to put it all together.
But ultimately, these things can cost less than the alternatives. Even the repairs are cheap.
When a bottle chips, cracks, or breaks in some other way, it’s much easier to replace one plastic bottle than it is to replace an entire glass window.
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How Do You Build a Plastic Bottle Greenhouse?
Now that we’ve discussed what they are and their advantages, you’re probably wondering how you can build a plastic bottle greenhouse of your own. We’re not construction experts, but we can give you a general overview of the process.
Your first step will be finding a plan online, so you know how many bottles you’ll need. Then, you’ll need to gather anywhere from a few hundred to around a thousand plastic bottles.
Once you’ve got everything you’ll need, you’ll build a frame to hold the bottles. Then, you’ll cut the bottoms off the bottles and run a support through them, like a dowel.
When the supports are covered in bottles, you simply nail them to the frame. You can click the video below to see how one person built their own plastic bottle greenhouse.
Hopefully, you learned a lot about plastic bottle greenhouses and their benefits in this post. If you’re worried that you couldn’t afford your own greenhouse, this could be a wonderful option for you.
You could also build one if you simply enjoy the challenge or want to reuse a bunch of bottles.
No matter the reason, you’ll end up with a surprisingly sturdy and efficient greenhouse that your plants will be more than happy in.