Unusual Ideas for Planters

Here 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 Syd Barr

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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March 8, 20070 found this helpful


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March 10, 20070 found this helpful

I used coffee cans to plant flowers and vegetables in last year, and they worked great. Put drainage holes and rocks or broken crockery in the bottom.


Also used old pots and roasters for primroses and such. This year I want to try to grow some lettuce in an old wagon so I can move it around easily.

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By Linda (Guest Post)
March 12, 20070 found this helpful

I like old copper jello molds that are very cheap at thrift stores and yard sales. They are easy to drill a hole or two in, and they don't rust.

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September 11, 20070 found this helpful

I use old milk cans that have the bottom rusted out as a planter. I just put a flower pot in the top with a flower in it. I painted it and set it by my back door. It is gray with red splatters on it. It is very pretty.

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September 11, 20070 found this helpful

I like to find an old log that has an unusual shape, maybe even holes and ridges on the surface. I take several different sedums (ground covers) and plant them with a little soil in the crackes and crevices. I have also drilled round holes to have more places to plant. My friend and I have a garage sale every year right before Mother's Day. They sell fast. I've also used old colanders lined with netting first to hold the soil in. Old canisters. Old wooden boxes or cans with cute labels on. The sedum grows over the sides and trails down. It looks very nice. But I love this idea about using the hens and chickens in the old shoe. That is so special. I love that look.

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By Barb (Guest Post)
April 28, 20080 found this helpful

I loved all your ideas! I'm stealing them as I write! Thanks for the great ideas. I will post some pics when I get some planted. I loved the old boot and also the idea about the copper jello molds! So smart! I collect them to hang on my kitchen wall, but leave a lot of them in the thrift stores or yard sales because I don't have more room for them. Now I can buy them! Thanks Linda! Barb

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May 24, 20080 found this helpful

Has anyone else tried toilet tanks? They are plentiful in white and bisque but with luck you can find them in remarkable pastels. I find toilets (the seat part) pretty tacky but the tanks fool people when used alone. And they have drains built in where the plumbing fittings went and generally are quite sturdy standing alone.

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By Harry wolf (Guest Post)
August 29, 20080 found this helpful

Really great ideals Also Old bath tubs and other like items can have a lot of value on their own. Use care and don't damage them.

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By jen (Guest Post)
January 2, 20090 found this helpful

I just got an antique washbasin (enamel) and stand and eager to add it to my lanai (porch) garden. I am on the 6th floor of our apt building, get lots of great sun all year-long. But I don't want to put holes in the basin if I don't have to. What options do I have to use it as a planter of sorts?

New to gardening. Love these ideas in this thread! - Jen

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By debbie (Guest Post)
February 7, 20090 found this helpful

I have clay (instead of dirt) in my yard. have been trying to get ideas on what to use as planters, and don't want to spend much money. I like a lot of the ideas I have read here. Has anyone used the milk jugs (we drink lots of milk) to plant veggies in? Also, how about coffee cans, or do they rust to easy? Thanks for the info.

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November 4, 20140 found this helpful

Please just buy some flower pots at garage sales instead of something that needs to go in the trash. I have found lovely pots at sales for very little.

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November 4, 20140 found this helpful

Not everything needs to go in the trash. Also, planters are boring when they are all the same shape/size/color. I have used a lot of these ideas and my garden gets more compliments than most.

The idea here is to keep things out of the landfill and be unique. I applaud each and every one of these idea.

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November 4, 20141 found this helpful

Also, the fact that these are on Thrifty Fun isn't so people can spend money they don't have. Some of us can barely afford potting soil and fertilizer much less fancy pots.

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