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Creative Garden Planters

Planters come in all shapes and sizes. Every gardener knows that finding creative things to put plants in will add interest to their yard. This is a guide about creative garden planters.

Flowers Planted in Bicycle Basket
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September 16, 2009 Flag
25 found this helpful

Salad Bar Made into Garden BedMy husband is in the construction business. One day he brought this old salad display home. It is the large kind you see at buffets. It has a sneeze guard on the top. I put it on my back porch and planted herbs in it.

By Eveh from Gulf Coast

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April 13, 2006 Flag
A chair planted with flowers

Many household objects can be used as containers in the garden. I love to use old chairs in the garden to add height and interest to an area that might be otherwise plain without it.

Many can be found on trash day, free for the taking. This one was without a seat, so I stapled a wire basket to the underside of the chair and added a cocoa liner. A layer of newspaper in the liner helps to retain moisture as cocoa liners can dry out easily in the heat of the summer. Fill with plants and good quality potting soil that contains a slow release fertilizer and moisture holding crystals.

By Dottie from Pennellville, NY

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October 31, 2014 Flag
howling coyote and saguaro cactus fountaincloseup of faux bird nest

Photo Description
Our old southwest fountain finally "bit the dust" and no longer held water. Try as we would, it could not be saved. So we decided to fill it with dirt and added some plants and a bird nest to add interest to the front yard. We always try not to add to the landfill. So for now the much loved fountain will serve us for a few more years.


Photo Location
Our front yard

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October 23, 2011 Flag
10 found this helpful

Most gardeners know that you can grow vegetables in pots instead of putting them in the ground. In our garden, we do both. Buying pots can be very expensive, so we started looking at everyday objects to find cheap and, sometimes, decorative alternatives. Overview of some of the planters.

The pictures show nasturtiums growing in a hollow of a thriving tree, cucumbers just starting in a pair of old boots, Swiss chard in an old dishpan, potatoes in a storage bin (and a hammock strategically placed to keep the deer out of the garden and yes, it worked wonderfully), and tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant thriving in reusable shopping bags that we paid 50 cents for. We cut or drilled holes in containers that had no drainage, except the tree, and some old stumps.

Nastursium growing out of hollow tree. Cucumber plant growing in an old pair of boots. Swiss chard growing in a dishpan. View of garden with bamboo pole fencing, hammock in place, etc.

All of the plants did very well and gave us a lot of delicious veggies. So far it looks like all of them will be used again next year and beyond, though the garden is still growing, and the containers not inspected. Containers like storage bins are great for storing the other pots and equipment.

By Copasetic 1 from North Royalton, OH

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May 2, 2006 Flag
Christine Weber5 found this helpful

This simple project is a wonderful way to use the china teacups gathering dust on your shelves. Filled with soil and ivy they make dainty and long-lived planters.

An ivy plant in a china teacup with saucer.

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March 8, 2007 Flag
1 found this helpful

a boot with succulentsHere are ideas for reusing items as planters or pots from the ThriftyFun community. Post your own unusual planter ideas below.

Boots For Planters

I have fun imagining how I can use various discarded items as planters. My favorite was a pair of my husband's work boots. Having been owned by a man, these boots were well broken in, and ready for the landfill. I opened them up (you can leave the laces in place), and filled them with soil. I happened to plant chicks 'n hens in them. They are still in my garden biodegrading, and covered with chicks, for who knows how long.

You can cut holes in the toes for additional planting possibilities. I hope to find another pair at garage sales this summer, to paint white. I'll put some allysum in the toes, and vinca vines draped around the cuffs, with maybe red geraniums, or petunias coming out of the top.

Now, if you're familiar with "pack boots" (they are usually constructed of green rubber). These make good substitutes for those long, hanging, plastic planters with holes cut out of the sides for plants with runners (like strawberries, or spider plants), and I've also seen them done with impatients. Just fashion a hanger using the eyelets, cut some slits in the sides, and toes, and fill with dirt. Arrange plants in the slits and tops. Or put the parent plant in the top, and open the slits up for the anticipated runners. Voila!

By Catchdmc

Cooking Pots Or Kettles

I use old large cooking pots or tea kettles as planters. An elderly aunt of mine died last year, and I inherited some of them. They are too grungey to cook with but perfect for annuals on my porch.

By admin

Toys, Kitchenware and Baskets

Child's plastic sandpail (String the plastic shovel through the handle.), a little red wagon, Easter basket, vintage coffee pot, an old ringer washer, an old hiking boot, an empty restaurant size can of fruits/vegetables, a basket, a child's toy dump truck, an old washtub, a canoe, a "old-time" wooden tool box, a mailbox, rain boots.

By Arwest

Cat Litter Buckets As Planters

I own 2 cats and go through a lot of cat litter. I always buy the litter in the plastic buckets. Once they are empty, I drill drainage holes in the bottom, slap a little paint on the bucket and decorate. Fill with dirt and plant whatever you desire. Right now, I'm growing tomatoes and cucumbers in them. They work great.

By Dunndeanna

Imagination Is The Key

Absolutely everything can be used as a planter, using your "imagination" is the key. Adding the right flower arrangement and bow is the reward. Syd, who can see something recycleable in every piece of discards. My latest was the half-moon hospital spit up dishes, got four. Ideal for dish gardens for hospital or nursing home patients.

By Sydfred

Vegetable Garden in an Old Bathtub

Because my soil is too rocky for a vegetable garden, I have a bathtub salvaged from an old mobile home that I am growing green onions, radishes, lettuce and cucumbers in. I filled it about half full of a mixture of top soil and compost, and planted my seed. I train the cucumber vines to trail over the side of the tub and onto the ground. Last summer, I even had a tomato plant on one end.

Harlean from Arkansas

Old Canners as Planters

I used a couple of old canners (for canning fruit and garden produce) for planters. Mine are blue enamel and have a really nice country style when filled with red geraniums and greenery.

By Ajdutchtown

Bedframe For "Flowerbed"

I've seen an old metal bed frame with a box built into it planted as a "flower bed." It was very nice. The box was built up so it really looked like a mattress of flowers.

By Susan

Coffee Cans As Planters

I have used metal from old coffee cans to line a bowl filled with moss. Orchids look great in them also. You can flatten one side of a coffee can and fasten it to a wall on your porch. This is one idea I've tried, one of my grandmother's handbags was also a gem.

By Michelle

Upside Down Wooden Chair

Hang an old wooden straight back chair upside down and set a potted plant inside the legs. Looks great with trailing plants.

By Penny

Old Car Tire

Try using an old car tire and place it somewhere where a tree can grow up through it or maybe plant a tree in the center of the old tire!

Unusual Finds At Yard Sales

I have been getting pretty creative with yard sale finds. This year I have planted in an old metal lunchbox, old rusty bird cage with a hanging basket inside, boots, antique tractor tool box, and water lilies in an old galvanized tub.

By Carolyn

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October 23, 2008 Flag
2 found this helpful

Plants will grow in just about anything given the proper soil, water, and light conditions. If you're looking for some inexpensive container ideas, grab a pencil and some paper and take a walk around the house for a few inspirational ideas. coffee bag

Containers From the Kitchen

The kitchen offers up endless ideas for containers. Onions, radishes, and other shallow root vegetables like beets will grow in Jell-O molds, cake pans, and aluminum pie tins. Ice-cream pails, crock-pot liners, and roasting pans provide plenty of room for plants with deeper roots. Other container ideas include plastic milk and juice jugs, plastic bakery cake boxes, old cookie jars or decorative popcorn tins, hanging kitchen baskets, old metal colanders, teapots, spice racks, and baskets.

Water bottles (cut down vertically or horizontally) or chipped mugs and teacups make nice window containers for growing herbs. Clear plastic deli and take-out containers work like mini greenhouses for starting seeds. Coconut halves and large gourds hold small flowers and herbs and hollowed out pumpkins work nicely as planters in the fall.

Containers From the Living Room

Tip an old bookcase on its back for a wonderful container with built in dividers (shelves) or try piling up and tying together a stack of hollowed out old books. Remove the insides from a set of old stereo speakers or flip over an old coffee table and you have instant containers.

Containers from the Dining Room

Piano benches, old musical instruments (think saxophones and guitars), photo boxes, cedar chests, and old trunks all have the makings for excellent flower and vegetable containers.

Containers from the Bedroom

Consider containers made from old dresser drawers, box springs, under the bed storage bins, duffle bags, backpacks, suitcases, and shoe or hatboxes. An old umbrella tipped upside down makes a lovely container-just punch out a few holes for drainage.

Containers from the Bathroom

Garbage cans, shower organizers, bathtubs, sinks and toilets make amusing containers-and great conversation pieces.

Containers from the Laundry Room

Washed out detergent jugs, old washing machine tubs, laundry baskets, laundry bags, rucksacks, and cat litter jugs can be creatively and inexpensively turned into useful containers. How about growing flowers out of your gardening gloves?

Containers from the Office

Tipped on their backs, file cabinets make nice deep containers for growing vegetables-the drawers can be planted separately. Think of any type of wall-mounted file organizer as a waterfall of flowers just waiting to happen.

Containers from the Garage

plastic cat litter container If you have a clutter-filled garage, you may have just won the container lottery. Paint cans (clean, of course), wheelbarrows, mail boxes, cement mixers, burlap sacks, basket or sport balls (cut in half), toolboxes, 5 gallon buckets, coolers, crates, wagons, fishing boats, canoes, oil pans, and minnow buckets all make good containers. Using them is a great way to clear some of that extra stuff out of the garage! Old appliances, like refrigerators and freezers (with doors removed) make excellent containers-you can plant and entire garden in them!

Containers from the Patio

Time to replace that old grill? Gas and Webber style grills (and their covers) make first-rate containers, as do plastic swimming pools and hanging baskets.

Containers from the Attic

Plastic totes and storage bins are lightweight, come in a variety of sizes and colors and are inexpensive and easy to modify for container gardening. You can find these "dirt" cheap at discount stores in the fall and spring-the times of the year when people typically organize their closets and drawers.

Remember, as long as you can provide drainage and enough growing medium for your plant, there's no end to the possibilities for containers. To find free or inexpensive building materials (and potential containers) left over from remodeling or deconstruction projects in your community, try

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March 3, 2014 Flag
11 found this helpful

My daughter loves anything old or antique and loves rag rugs, so I decided to use the rag rug technique and make her rag flower pots.

Rag Flower Pot

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April 13, 2011 Flag
Kelly Ann Butterbaugh4 found this helpful

Planning ahead for the seasons can add challenges to spring planting. Instead of planting each season, plant now to create an entire yearly display for much less than you'll pay to replant it each season.

Planter with flowers.

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April 24, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

Use a strawberry pot as an inexpensive side table on your deck! First plant small vines or other trailing plants in the holes of the pot.

Strawberry pot with a glass table top.

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November 1, 2015 Flag
2 found this helpful

In the Dollar Store we found some plastic toy wheel barrows and dump trucks. We set them on a mat that keeps weeds out with pea pebbles, and filled them up (first hubby drilled drainage holes) and set them out front.

cactus in plastic truck

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February 20, 2007 Flag
3 found this helpful

I used an old wheelbarrow by drilling holes in the bottom for drainage, throw in some gravel then top w/soil and plants. Plants that hang off the sides look great and something big and flashy in the middle.

Wheelbarrow Filled with Flowers

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February 13, 2012 Flag
2 found this helpful

Interesting focal points in your garden don't always have to include terra cotta pots. See what you have around the house that would make a creative planter.

nasturtium in tea kettle

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August 2, 2011 Flag
8 found this helpful

My yard is mostly shade with the gravel driveway being the sunniest spot on the property. I refused to give up vegetable gardening when we bought the place, so I gathered up my galvanized tub collection.

Several galvanized tubs with vegetables planted in them along gravel driveway

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September 14, 2009 Flag

Blooming pants.This is a recycling craft using children's pants as a holder for potted plants. Quite unique and cute. I saw the idea in a Birds and Blooms magazine and used it myself.

Approximate Time: 1 hour


*The pants I used are a kind of water proof fabric. This worked very well.


  1. Use fabric paint to paint the words on the pants. Some suggestions are: Blooming Pants, Bloomer Plants, Petunia Bloomers, Potted Pants. As you can see, you can use a twist on the words and come up with something unique.
  2. Up close photo of blooming pants.

  3. Let dry.
  4. Stuff with plastic bags, shipping peanuts, or plastic shipping wrap. The kind that has the bubbles in. Remember it will be getting wet outside. Don't use newspaper.
  5. Sew the pant legs closed or pin, glue or tie at the bottom.
  6. If the pants have belt loops, you can hang it by tying twine to the loops and the pot. If they have elastic waist you can use the plastic hanger already on the pot and stretch the pants around the pot. Maybe tie around it if it's loose.

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July 18, 2007 Flag

If you have empty cans of paint left after a project, don't throw them away! Turn them into hanging planters. Take off the lids and let any remaining paint dry, you will not need the lids.

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July 31, 2007 Flag
2 found this helpful

Want something different for your front lawn or garden? Use an iron chair or glider and fill it with ivy and flowers. My husband put some wooden sides on it and I lined the bottom with coconut liners.

Flower "Bed" That's Different

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June 19, 2007 Flag
2 found this helpful
This is my portable flower garden. Because of my husband's job, we used to transfer in the summers and I wouldn't get the chance to "take" my garden with me. Or sometimes we moved to a house without much for landscaping. In order to at least have something with a little flower power, I decided to use my childhood wagon as a garden container, just in case we move again. This last summer, I planted impatiens in them and they did really well. I also like being able to move my portable flower bed to different areas of my garden.

By Denise from NB

Impatiens in red wagon.

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April 26, 2007 Flag
0 found this helpful

Flowers growing in an old truck.Here's a picture of a flowers planted in an old truck. Do you have any creative planter ideas to share? Post your ideas below.

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June 29, 20080 found this helpful

I am wondering what is "no dirt" soil also. Could the person with that post please tell us what it is? Thank you

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