Repurposed Planter Ideas

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Kitchen cupboards, garage shelves and storage sheds are a treasure box of repurposed planter ideas. Open up kitchen cupboards to find food containers that can be turned into herb gardens and hanging planters of ivy and colorful geraniums. Garages are full of old buckets and barrels that can be filled with vegetables and potted palm trees. Sheds are full of old chairs and dresser drawers that can be dressed up with coleus and ice plant in a garden display. When you want an unusual container for your favorite plants, look around your home and give old items a new purpose as a planter.

Recycling Food Containers

Any container that is considered to be “food grade” can be used to grow plants. Coffee cans, mason jars, soup cans, plastic soda bottles and cardboard milk containers are just a few examples of food containers that can be repurposed into plant containers. Here are some tips for repurposing food containers:

  • Drill drainage holes in the bottoms of plastic, metal and waxed paperboard containers.
  • Add a layer of gravel to the bottom of mason jars to provide drainage.
  • Use spray paint on containers to hide labels or to add color.
  • Instead of using plant markers, use chalkboard paint to create your own label on the side of the container.
  • Small containers, such as tin cans and plastic bottles can be mounted to a vertical surface to grow a vertical garden.

Food containers aren’t the only source of plant containers found in the kitchen. Kitchen cupboards can also be a source of plant containers. Old colanders and stainless steel bowls can be turned into container gardens with old spoons used as plant markers. Old serving trays also make interesting planters for shallow rooted plants such as grasses, cactus and succulents.

Turning Paper Products into Seed Starters

A number of items that regularly find their way into the garbage can or recycle bin can be turned into seed starting containers. Newspapers, egg cartons and yogurt cups are examples. Seedlings started in newspapers and cardboard egg cartons do not need to be taken out of the container when transplanted. This protects tender roots and the paper decomposes over time.Here’s how to make seed pots from newspaper:

  • Find a soup can, drinking glass or other container that is the size container you want for starting seeds.
  • Cut a piece of newspaper so that it is 1-1/2 inches longer than the container.
  • Wrap the newspaper around the container so that the extra length hangs over the edge of the container.
  • Fold the extra length of newspaper over the bottom of the container and secure with a piece of tape.
 repurposed planter ideas  repurposed planter ideas

Reusing Junk from a Remodel

Remodeling projects always seem to create a lot of garbage. With a little creative thinking, some of this junk can be transformed into a garden centerpiece. If a remodeling project leaves you with a collection of old sinks, bathtubs, toilets and gutters, try one of these planter projects:

  • An old bathtub is the right size for a backyard water feature. Turn the bathtub into a pond filled with water lilies and lotus flowers surrounded with ferns and potted bamboo.
  • Gutters can be converted into hanging planters and vertical gardens. Use wire to hang the gutters. Several gutters can be hung one above the other for a vertical effect. Plant with lettuce or strawberries.
  • Turn an old sink into a window planter box.

Finding a Use for Knick Knacks

Shelves, closets and attics are other good places to find ideas for planters. Here are some ways to turn those dusty knick-knacks into attractive plant containers:

  • Turn an old aquarium into a miniature greenhouse to start seeds and cuttings.
  • Have a collection of flower vases? Convert large vases into terrariums.
  • Baskets can be used to hide those unattractive black nursery pots.
  • A hanging shoe rack with plastic pockets is the perfect size for a vertical herb garden filled with basil, oregano, thyme, and mint.

Rummaging Through the Garden Shed

Garden sheds, storage spaces and garages are a treasure trove of planting containers. Old buckets, watering cans, wheelbarrows and worn out tires can be turned into planters with a little imagination.Here are some ways to use old car and truck tires as garden planters:

  • Hang a tire on a fence like it was a picture frame, fill the bottom of the tire with potting soil and plant your favorite ivy and begonia plants.
  • Make a planter by cutting a scalloped pattern on one sidewall. Then turn the tire inside out. The outside can be painted with decorative and colorful designs.

There are myriad items around your home that can easily be turned into a plant container. Before you go out a buy a planter, rummage though closets, cupboards and storage areas for a unique plant container that will have your friends and neighbors talking.

Last Updated: April 27, 2012
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About Coletta Teske Coletta Teske has 25 years' experience in tech journalism, as well as home and gardening topics. She has freelanced for Fortune 500 companies such as Boeing and Microsoft, published more than two dozen computer books for Prima Publishing and Macmillan, and worked as a freelance correspondent for West Hawaii Today. Coletta has been an avid gardener since she was 2 years old. While living in Hawaii, she achieved a lifelong dream of becoming a certified master gardener.

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