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Bottle propagator (see photo).

I was thinking of a way of how to “get ahead” with my attempt at growing a couple of sunflowers. After germinating a couple of seeds in tiny pots (covered with a plastic coin bag & rubber band until germination), I came up with the idea of a placing the pots inside a clear plastic bottle. The seedling in the photo is about 3” tall, so hopefully I have a bit of a start as we are only in December.

These bottles can be slit lengthways and used as horizontal propagators to start a quantity of seeds off early, and can sit on a window sill. Just slit down one side and along the base leaving one side intact to use as the hinge.

I don’t drink soft drinks, but simply bought a couple of bottles of 17p value range lemonade just for the bottles, available from most supermarkets. If you want to put the contents to good use, simply buy the coke and use it to get oil off the driveway apparently.


  •  Good idea Alex!

    However I wouldn't start your sunflowers off so early as they are likely to become leggy and weak without a good supply of natural light/heat. Spring time would be better as they will grow on at a greater speed and vigour with the longer day length and be protected by your cloche when you plant them out.. 

    Coke put down a toilet in a hard water area will dissolve the limescale, I believe...

  • Yes, they may become  "leggy" , but no great loss if they do-just something to experiment with during these short winter days.Either myself or Alex will post back with some photos and an update if the experiment is successful. image

  • During the winter you could experiment with growing 'Mustard and Cress' then you'd have something to make egg and cress sandwiches with image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Young codger, why not cut the bottles across the middle and put them over the pots.

    No need for hinges, one bottle will cover two pots and you can lift them easily to tend to the plants if necessary.

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 3,267

    You can also use old pop bottles, cut in half as cloches in the Spring, I put them over seedling vegs when first planted out, to stop birds eating them and to keep off the cold at night.   

  • WO: Yes, that is another method. I liked the idea of a kind of sealed unit (warmth wise), hence not cutting all the way through the bottle. In the daytime they stand on the window sill catching the light, and then back on top of the fire surround at dusk when the curtains are closed.

    5” now! When they reach the top of the bottle I will cut the neck off (and cut the base out of another bottle) and slip a second bottle on top. LOL

  • You have started the seed off far too early. Even if you wanted it to give the Sunflowers a kick start, Feb or March would have been generous. Given the light duration, angle of sun and UV strength they will just get very leggy and fall over and die and at best snap in the first wind when put outside in April/ May. We are not even past the shortest day yet and still have 3 months of winter to get through.image

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