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This is a great tip for lightweight hanging pots for indoor plants! Pots can get really heavy when using pebbles or stones for drainage, which can be very taxing on the hooks hanging from your ceiling. Next time, try this instead: Use old bath-scrubbies in place of rocks! New ones are inexpensive, or you can recycle old ones you already have. (Just be sure to thoroughly rinse in hot water for a few minutes to remove any soap residue).
It only takes a second to poke around in the scrubber and find the thread that ties it all together- snip this and you'll end up with yards and yards of excellent, lightweight drainage material for the bottom of your pots.
Depending on the size of your pots, you can choose to use the scrubber whole or cut up lengths of the material from just one. (Mine yielded about 9 yds).
I also use a piece of weed-blocking cloth on top of the scrubbie material to help keep soil loss to minimum. I hope you found this tip to be helpful. Happy potting!
I always put a coffee filter in bottom over hole to stop soil from getting out. Works great!
Thanks! My back is bad, so it helps me a lot!
That's a great idea. Thanks.
I wasn't sure I was going to like this tip, and then I read on, and saw where you put landscape fabric over the scrubby things. Now, I think it's an excellent idea!
Wow, that's an EXCELLENT idea, thanks!
Anxious to try this suggestion. Thanks for sharing.
Those lightweight plastic cups that flowers are sold in - I recycle them by using them for drainage when I transplant the flowers into terra cotta pots. I flatten them somewhat with my foot, and put them in the bottom of the pot. Then I add the soil and the flowers. The flattened trays are much lighter than broken terra cotta pieces for drainage, and it's a savings because less soil is required. For a large, deep pot, I use three or four smashed trays. When I need to move the pots around on my patio, it's easy because they don't weigh a ton. The smashed trays can be used year after year.
By Carla from Greensboro, NC
What a wonderful idea! I love this!
I love this idea!
In several of his books, Jerry Baker suggests using the plastic caps (from milk, bleach, vinegar, and condiment bottles) that you are not supposed to recycle this way, too. Those caps are great for smaller pots, but your idea would work even better for large pots and planters.
I like to use the styrofoam packing noodles. They seem to add very good drainage.
You must get a lot of flowers to have enough for every time you transplant! I use rocks at the bottom of my pots. I too have succulents on a big table in my enclosed patio that have to be rotated too. Can you buy those plastic trays?
Carla - that is a great idea, because those flowers pots are really heavy. Thanks again.
I am so glad I read this. I was just going to throw my plastic containers out! Now, instead I know what to do with them! Great idea to use less earth and to get good drainage! Thanks a bunch!
My German daughter-in-law showed me a neat trick for planting in pots. She put a coffee filter in the bottom of the pot then we went around the yard picking up little twigs and leaves. She broke the twigs up small to drop in the pots and crushed or tore the leaves. She put about two inches in the pot then put in the potting soil and the plant. There are three benefits from this method:
I have done this all summer and really like it better than having to wag around a pot full of heavy rocks.
By Elaine from OK
Good idea! Like a mini-composter.
This is a cool idea and I just chopped up my old Christmas tree to use as filler in my pots. However, you want to make sure you have plenty of room for the roots. If they grow too close to the twigs, it could be bad. Decomposing matterial uses up nitrogen during it's decomposition process and this can suck away nutrition from plant roots. If you have enough space though before the plant roots, this will be ok though. If it's a slow rooting plant (will take more than a year for the roots to make it to the decomposing matter), you should also be ok. By then, it will probably be decomposed in most warm to moderate climates (if kept moist).
This is good. I put 'rough stuff' in the bottom of my pots, too. Rather than coffee filters, I cut circles of landscape material to place in the bottom of the pots. I have some that has been in place for twenty years and show no signs of deteriorating.
Looks like this is an old post since the comments are years old. But I am glad that it has been run again! I've never thought of putting twigs and things in a pot. Love this idea and plan to use it.
If you have a pecan tree, or if you buy pecans in the shell during the holidays, you can put those shells to good use.
Some of us have houseplants such as Ficus, Dieffenbachia and others, that might remain in the same pot for years. Providing proper drainage is essential to the health of these plants.
Cracked pecan shells are light weight and will last for many years when used as a drainage medium in potted plants.
When repotting a plant or potting a new one, I add a layer of pecan shell pieces (an inch or two, or more, depending on the size of the pot), to the bottom of the pot before adding soil or other medium.
Another tip: Several people have suggested using coffee filters for lining the bottom of pots to keep soil from leaching out. This could be good for an African violet or other small plant. For a large plant, you will need something else.
So, before I add the pecan shells, I add two layers of nylon mesh landscape fabric which were cut using the top of the pot as a template. You can expect the shells and fabric to last for ten, if not twenty, years.
Ideas for fillers for the base of flower pots from the ThriftyFun community. I have used a small pot upside down in some of my bigger planters. I put a smaller pot upside down in the bottom before I fill mine with dirt.
For indoor gardening, it can be a nuisance to find some pebbles to place over the drainage holes of a plant pot. Use a coffee filter instead.
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I have some rather large flower pots and was wondering if I could fill them part way with shredded paper.
I never have but it looks like some do not recommended it as paper provides not much nutrition.
Reference: http://www.gard _bet_your_garden
What are you putting in them?
You can. It will decompose.
You can use the plastic pots the plants came in. Put them upside down. I use small sticks, shredded paper, or the foam peanuts that come in packages.
Lots of good suggestions but one thing for sure - if you use any type of styrofoam/peanuts please put them in pantyhose or something similar that you can close up/seal so they will not be a mess when time comes to change the plant or soil.
Here is an excellent link that has several suggestions that might be what you are looking for.
What do you do with the Coke cans when you place them in the bottom of the potting containers? Are they crushed or left whole cans?
I am wondering would I be able to use normal barbecue charcoal to act as drainage in my garden pots?
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
I came up with a no cost idea for lightweight fill to use in the bottom of over sized pots or planters. I have used broken terra cotta pots and packing peanuts in the past. Problem was the terra cotta was heavy and I did not usually have packing peanuts.
This year I simply used a plastic gallon size pot that one of the plants came in and turned it upside down over the drainage hole in the bottom of the large pot. Then I needed more filler that would let water through, so I raided my recycling bin. I used plastic soda bottles and cans to fill in up to where I wanted to start the layer of planting soil. To even off the pile of bottles and cans, I took the empty plastic flat the flowers came in and turned it upside down over the bottles and cans. Then I was able to add the soil without it falling between all the gaps left by the bottles and cans. The end result was the right amount of dirt for my plants, plenty of drainage and minimal weight from the fill.
Source: My own idea.
By cosmicmoret from Dallas TX
I was thinking of smaller plants and using plastic bottle caps in the bottom. Actually I have been trying to find a use for the plastic caps. (04/20/2009)