Sometimes, you just run out of containers, as many plant addicts do. Or maybe you see an object while shopping or cleaning that you know would make the perfect planter or vase. It’s also fun to add a touch of your personality to your garden and houseplant designs. Whatever the reason, planting in unique and found containers is just plain fun. Here are some favorites from our garden and recent garden tours.
Sometimes a new container or garden object finds you. A friend is about to throw out anything round with a bottom, and you know you can make it work as a container. When reusing objects as planters and outdoor containers for most plants, be sure to provide drainage either by drilling a hole or two in the bottom of the container or by placing gravel in the bottom and setting the plant inside in a smaller plastic container. Some succulent containers need no drainage, as long as you water appropriately.
Thrift Store Finds
Browsing yard sales and thrift or antique stores can be dangerous for draining your dollars and a hoarding effect on your potting bench. But the right object can just appear out of nowhere. At least the price is right. Air plants are fun to place just about anywhere, inside or along with found objects. Sometimes I add organic objects such as rocks, old wood or part of an antler found nearby. Or add inexpensive glass beads and stones. As for succulents — well, the list goes on and on.
Rust in old metal buckets or containers shouldn’t harm your plants or make edibles unsafe to eat. Your biggest concern when re-using metal objects for plants is knowing what the container used to hold or whether it’s made of inexpensive metal materials that could be toxic. We’ve had good luck with old metal and galvanized steel containers.
New Uses for Old Items
Gifts, sentimental objects and cool rustic junk can liven up your garden. I love seeing old watering pails used as containers or just artistic elements in a garden. Old doors make great dividers or trellises.
When a favorite container or dish breaks, do you really need to throw it out? You can add small pieces of broken pottery around the top of a houseplant or have a fun stepping stone project with the kids. Sometimes, an object no longer works as intended, but can be reused with a little ingenuity.
Do you love adding a creative touch to your plantings? We would love to see our readers share some of their favorite repurpose and reuse projects for the garden and indoor plants. Post ideas in our comments or photos on social media and tag us.
Teresa Odle is the author of a blog on low-water gardening in the Southwest, and, because you can grow flowers inside no matter the climate, she is the editor of African Violet Magazine. Teresa trained as a Master Gardener in Albuquerque, N.M. Today, she and her husband attempt to manage four acres of land in zone 6B of southeastern New Mexico bordering the Rio Ruidoso in the Sacramento Mountains. Teresa’s blog, Gardening in a Drought, won a 2016 national award for best writing in digital media from the Association for Garden Communicators. She has been a writer and editor for 20 years. Connect with Teresa on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.