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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
3 or more days
Key Concepts
Hydroponics, plant biology

Introduction

Do you think plants can grow without soil? If you've tried growing veggies, you probably planted the seeds or seedlings in soil. Soil gives the plants the nutrients they need to grow. However, plants can grow without soil too, using a process called hydroponics. In this activity you will transform a two-liter water bottle into a mini-garden that needs only light, air and nutrient rich water to grow!

Credits

Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies

Hydroponics growing system adapted from "Build a 2 Liter Bottle Hydroponics Garden" by Epic Gardening.

This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,200 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Two-liter plastic soda bottle, emptied and cleaned
  • Permanent marker
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Growing medium like coconut coir or hydroponics clay pebbles, both available at well stocked garden stores or on Amazon
  • Seeds, seedlings or small plants. Start with a green leafy plant like spinach or lettuce, or herbs like oregano or basil.
  • Purified, filtered or bottled water. Avoid unfiltered tap water as that can contain contaminants that may inhibit your plants' growth.
  • Plant nutrients for green leafy plants like GH Flora Grow available at well stocked garden stores or on Amazon
  • Disposable gloves
  • Measuring spoon
  • Large container or second bottle with lid to prepare the water
  • Area that receives plenty of light to store the container
  • Optional: If you are starting with seeds, consider using rapid rooter plugs available at well stocked garden stores or on Amazon
  • Optional: pH control kit like this General Hydroponics PH Control Kit, available at well stocked garden stores or on Amazon
  • Optional: Aluminum foil

Disclaimer: Science Buddies participates in affiliate programs with Home Science Tools, Amazon.com, Carolina Biological, and Jameco Electronics. Proceeds from the affiliate programs help support Science Buddies, a 501(c)(3) public charity, and keep our resources free for everyone. Our top priority is student learning. If you have any comments (positive or negative) related to purchases you've made for science projects from recommendations on our site, please let us know. Write to us at scibuddy@sciencebuddies.org.

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Active Time
30-45 minutes
Total Project Time
3 or more days
Key Concepts
Hydroponics, plant biology
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