How uplifting ! Yup, that’s right, we haven’t made this up. There are no limits to creativity in the tiniest space – this gorgeous pink bra just needs a bit of wall space and the bigger the cup, the bigger the plant!
If you’ve thought about planting some containers to brighten up your garden or balcony but been put off by the cost of pots in your local garden centre – be inspired by some of these ideas that make new use out of old things. You can make garden containers out of anything so long as there’s room for the plant and some decent drainage.
With some clever recycling and brilliant upcycling you can turn any space into foliage heaven for next to nothing – especially if you grow your plans from seed as well. We especially love the idea of growing edible crops in any kind of plant pot and our garden book of the moment, Crops in Pots (see below), is crammed with projects and suggestions that’ll keep you in vegetables right into Winter.
And please – let us know how you’re planting your crops and flowers in pots you recycle, reclaim or upcycle. Send pictures with your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just some old drawers
An old set of drawers isn’t an obvious choice for something to plant these gorgeous cascading lobelia in, but what a show!
Find your container anywhere: in a skip, jumble sale, down at your local tip. Rummage through your old junk and start looking at things you throw away in a slightly different light.
Think about what you’re growing too…
Root crops need width and depth to let their roots flourish – potatoes, carrots, beetroot… and look at these onions in an old sack making maximum use of the sides as well as the top. Great idea.
If you want to make a splash with your containers, use plain old pots and just paint or spray them. This includes incredibly cheap plastic one’s too (just give them a little sanding down to help the colour stick from either a spray can or paintbrush – known as ‘keying’ the surface, in the trade). You can even get stone effect spray paint.
Here are some simply painted pots planted with herbs. Grouped, they look fantastic and cost hardly anything to produce. Plastic catering buckets (salads, pickles etc) are perfect for planting – especially for balcony gardens. Ask at your local supermarket for ones they’d otherwise throw away. Put drainage holes in the bottom with a hammer and a large nail and paint with enamel paint to make them more attractive.
How about an old pair of boots or wellingtons? Something ironic about fragrant lavender in this pair of old workboots on the right. And check out our Top Tips below ↓
Top Tips for planting creative containers
- Whatever you plant, make sure it can drain. Drill or use a large nail and hammerto create holes. Fill the bottom with good drainage material like broken pots or gravel. Discarded coffee cups (Starbucks etc) cut up, are useful as drainage crocks and solve the problem of what to do with a disposable cup that’s not recyclable!
- Coffee filter papers, make great liners for containers – especially ones with big gaps.
- Feeding is incredibly important for container plant growing – especially fruit and veg like tomatoes and courgettes. Never forget to feed and water and try and collect your water using a water butt.
- Use an old plastic coke bottle (250ml), buried neck down and with the bottom cut off as a watering aid. Makes sure the water goes right to the roots. Reusing your old plastic drinks bottles this way means the plants lose less water through evaporation and it gives a use for those plastic fizzy drinks bottles that might otherwise end up in landfill.
- Make sure you plant in well cleaned containers – especially when they’ve been growing plants before.
- With large containers, don’t waste money completely filling them with soil and compost – use old packing material (eg polystyrene) to bulk out the bottom and just fill the top half with growing medium.
- Compost is relatively easy to make and uses up your kitchen waste. Try to make your own (see link below).