When we think of potting up some plants for our home or garden, we often think of the traditional clay pots or the lighter-weight, clay-colored, plastic pots. But have some fun, use your imagination, and come up with some unique, untraditional containers for your plants. Many objects whose previous life did not include being a home for plants, do, in fact, work well as planting pots. So, get funky and create some conversation ice-breakers and focal points in your yard by adding some “way-out and wild” containers.
Vintage house-wares, old pots, rusted watering cans, and worn baskets are just a few items that have been successfully used as planters. Unusual containers can become accessories for the garden. They’ll bring quizzical looks and appreciative smiles to visitors. Perhaps you can use a certain memento from your life as a container and thereby, keep it around—filled with flowers or plants—as a constant, pleasurable reminder of a time in the past.
Potting Up Your Pot Luck Planters
Look for objects with character and room for roots to grow for your pot-luck containers. All containers need good drainage, so drill drainage holes in cans, kitchen pots, old teakettles, etc. If you want to use a piece of pottery or glass container that can’t have holes drilled in it, pot your plant in a cheap, plastic, smaller pot and place that pot inside the attractive pot. The decorative pot will then serve as a “cachepot,” and it will hold the water that drains from the plastic pot. Just remember to empty the cachepot often so water won’t settle at the bottom.
For containers made of wicker, metal mesh or other materials that are not tight enough to hold soil, line them with sphagnum moss, porous landscape fabric, or plastic garbage bags that have had tiny holes punched in them for drainage purposes.
Use a lightweight potting mix that has been made especially for containers. You can purchase mixes that already have a slow release fertilizer in them, or you can mix organic slow-release fertilizer with the potting mix as you fill the containers. Pots will usually need frequent watering, especially during the heat of summer. If you can’t be around to water them often, be sure to add water-holding crystals in with the mix when you pot up. They will absorb moisture when you water the plants and release that moisture back to the plant’s roots when the potting mix becomes dry.
When it comes to selecting your funky containers, let your imagination fly. How about that old pair of boots that’s been growing older in the back of your closet? And, “a tisket, a tasket, don’t throw away that old basket”—plant something in it! Use any type of wagon or other “planter on wheels”—such as a child’s little red toy wagon or an old wheelbarrow or dolly. Look around your yard and barn. Search for “junk” at roadside stands, antique shops and even the local dump. Remember the old saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” You may get lucky and find some perfect pot-luck pots.