Clever Plant Container Ideas

DIY – Make Your Own Garden Planters

Why buy new when you can DIY and save money?  Need a little inspiration to get your garden started in a container?  Check out what some amazingly creative people around the globe have used to grow a garden in – just about everything!

 

School desk edible planter - just one of many Clever Plant Container Ideas @ www.themicrogardener.com

This old desk school desk has a new life in the garden as an edible planter filled with luscious lettuces, shallots and colourful flowers.

 

Ideas for Repurposed Planters … INCLUDING the Kitchen Sink!

 

Stuck for where to start?  Looking for inspiration for what to grow your next garden in?  Look no further! I hope you like these creative planters as much as I do.

 

Porcelain planters seem to be quite popular in some gardens.

A new meaning for ‘potted’ plants! These old toilet cisterns have also been given a new life as planters. Porcelain is long lasting and with built in drainage, their prior lives could be concealed behind other plants or a bamboo screen around the base.

 

Here’s a list of objects, furniture, fashion and household items just waiting for a new life in your garden.

From the Kitchen:

  • Old tea kettle (reuse as a watering can) or upcycle into a planter.

 

Kettle planter | The Micro Gardener @ www.themicrogardener.com

Love this gorgeous kettle planter. With a few drainage holes it’s the perfect size for flowers or herbs.

 

 

Watering can planter | The Micro Gardener

Or just reuse an old watering can as a planter!

 

  • Lunch boxes and plastic cutlery holders from an old dishwasher or off the kitchen sink when washing up.
  • Old biscuit/cookie/tea or coffee tins.  If you’d like to make a hanging flower basket from a metal tin can like the one below, you can follow the instructions at Craft Stylish.

 

Cans come in consistent sizes so it's easy to create unity in your garden space with matching planters.

This tin can has been converted into an attractive metal hanging planter and filled with flowers. Perfect for a cool position in the garden.

 

  • Jars, urns, jugs and vases – these all look very decorative.

 

White crackle pitcher upcycled as a planter

They also make great table centrepieces. Try a low one with edible herbs for garnishes.

 

Used tin cans from the pantry – If you think this tin can planter garden looks great as a DIY project, visit Centsationalgirl’s blog which has all the instructions on how to make one of your own.

 

Old tin cans in a variety of sizes can be easily made into planters with a few drainage holes in the bottom.

These cute tin can planters are easy to make and look even more effective when you use ‘repetition’ as a design trick. Group a few together and plant the same plants or same colour for big impact.

 

  • Wire spice racks (cover the wire with coir fibre or moss before filling with potting mix).

 

Wire spice rack planter with moss and succulents - an easy DIY project.

This three-tiered wire spice rack has been filled with moss and mini succulents and makes great use of vertical space.

 

  • Bowls of all shapes and sizes – drill holes in the bottom first.
  • Colanders (have great drainage holes already).

 

Colander planter filled with bright cheerful pansies brings a splash of colour to the verandah. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Colanders are well suited to stand alone planters or being converted to hanging baskets with a little chain or rope. The base just broke off my silver colander so it’s my next planter project!

 

Colander planters are perfect for outdoor table settings as a feature display. Pop in some herbs and you can garnish your food at the table! | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This brassy look colander is teamed up well with flowers and makes a decorative and practical planter. Try making a herb one instead and you can garnish your food at the table!

 

  • Muffin tins (raise seedlings or sprouts in these).

 

Make a simple planter out of unused oven or bakeware. A quick spray of paint can colour coordinate with your indoor or outdoor colour scheme. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Silver and succulents just seem to go together like bread and butter. This combination are just made for each other.

 

 

Sinks come with built in natural drainage where the plug used to be so make great planters. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This neat little repurposed kitchen sink project has been mounted on rocks as a feature planter.

 

  • Dead refrigerator – door removed of course!
  • An old wok.
  • Crockery – or cracked pots.  These can always be glued or the damaged side hidden up against another plant or wall and revamped into a planter.

 

Got some old crockery? Cracked ones that no longer are useful in the kitchen can make great planters instead. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Inventive gardener Denise had holes drilled in these crock pots by her hubby to make attractive planters by the front door.

 

Plant Container Ideas with Repurposed Furniture:

  • Drawers and shelving – there’s no limit to what can be done with drawers. The depth determines what you plant.  There are loads of ideas for those with limited space such as the drawer and ladder combo below from DiggersList:

 

Got some old drawers you're no longer using? Why not repurpose into a planter box? | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

These wooden drawers have been reused as growing boxes nestled on a ladder framework. What a nifty idea and great use of vertical space for a micro garden.

 

  • Baby change tables – with a shelf below and a place where you can remove the soft mat from the top, these make ideal potting benches or shelves on which to put other planters.
  • Chest of drawers – these can make useful vertical plant shelves, potting benches and planters like the one below:

 

With a little imagination, there are lots of new ways with old things. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com Here's a great example with a chest of drawers, boots and kettle.

Got an old dresser, chest of drawers or buffet you no longer need? Then repurpose it into a fun and functional planter or potting bench.

 

  • Chairs – when the seat breaks or needs refurbishing, use this as an opportunity to create a garden planter.

 

When timber chairs are past their prime or the seat falls apart, it's the perfect time to reuse as a feature garden planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This attractive clever edible folding chair planter looks good enough to eat! Trailing herbs and flowers and the timber chair frame are a perfect match.

 

From the House:

  • Old cane washing baskets – have great drainage and depth so make the perfect planter.  They can be spray painted or age gracefully in the garden.
  • Bath tubs – these make fantastic deep planters and can be themed to your own tastes!

 

A quick spray paint and a bit of artistic flair has turned this old bathtub into a cow planter! | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This bathtub has been remodeled into a unique cow planter filled with flowers. A fun project for a kids garden.

 

From bath tub to garden tub this creative gardener has created a colourful feature planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This small bath tub has been painted with ducks and flowers for a kid’s garden planter.

 

  • Washing machine drum – old style washing machines also suit quirky planters.

 

Metal objects DO heat up in hot weather so choose your planter carefully. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

The cylinder from a washing machine has been used as a modern looking cache pot for a plant.

 

  • Wire waste baskets and rubbish bins – with good depth and often fine wire mesh for drainage, they just need lining and potting mix to start a micro garden.
  • Laundry peg baskets – make great hanging baskets as they come with ready made drainage and handle for hanging.
  • Baby bath tub – made from a variety of materials, when no longer needed, they can be retired to the garden for a new life as a planter.  Below is an example of an enamel bath tub from The Angry Pin Cushion.

 

A couple of clever plant containers: pansies now reside in an old roasting pan and baby bath. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

On the left is an old roasting pan and to the right is a baby bath – both reinvented as planters filled with pansies.

 

  • Children’s toys such as dump trucks and wagons make great planters as they have space in the top for micro gardens.

 

Children's toys like trucks, buckets and boxes are all deep enough to grow a mini garden with some drainage modifications. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Love this idea for a kid’s garden space at home, childcare centre, kindy or school. Fill with edibles like chocolate mint and colourful calendula.

 

Kids LOVE colour so plant a variety of colourful plants including edible flowers in their planters. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Toy carts and wagons make fun and practical planters for kids gardens. Plant colourful salad vegies and you have ‘Meals on Wheels.’

 

  • Baskets and boxes – I’ve grown lots of mini gardens both permanent and temporary in baskets and cardboard/wooden boxes.

 

Make sure you consider the size, shape and habit of the plant to the container you plant into so they look right together. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This metal wire basket has been lined with coconut fibre to hold moisture and planted out with colourful fuschias. Balance the plant to the size of the container for a great effect.

 

  • Prams with the hood removed or folded down for maximum sunlight suit those of you wanting meals on wheels.

 

Filled with edibles, this could be a meals on wheels planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Filled with edibles, this could be a meals on wheels planter.

 

  • Portable BBQ grill.
  • Basins (with a built in drainage hole where the plug used to be). They are usually made from durable porcelain and make long lasting planters.

 

Old metal wash basin planter with terracotta pot garden art | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

This old metal wash basin has been revamped as a planter, filled with attractive plants and even some terracotta pot garden art!

 

Doing a renovation? You may find a space to reuse a basin as a garden planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

An old basin has been used here with the plumbing still intact so drainage is no problem!

 

Plant Container Ideas from your Wardrobe:

Don’t think fashion is relevant in the garden?  Think again with these inspirational  (and unusual) ideas!

  • Clothes!  Couldn’t resist including this one from Violet Alone – how many of you are brave enough to hang a garden out in your lingerie?

 

Think your wardrobe doesn't have anything to offer? Think again! | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Needless to say, the bigger the better with a bra planter! One of the more unique ways of growing a garden.

 

  • Bags and baskets – just get creative with whether they become the planter or hold another pot inside.

 

These succulents work well in this pretty basket planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Got an old basket you no longer use? They come in all shapes and sizes and usually have great drainage built-in. They also have the added benefit of being portable gardens with handles!

 

 

A pair of boot planters looks cute with colourful flowers peeping out of the top. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

You can’t go past a pair of old work boots for rustic charm, especially if they’re old garden shoes. Pop a hole in the sole and plant away!

 

Why throw old shoes or boots when the heel goes or they're a bit worn when they can make a fun planter? | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Once outgrown, these cute little white children’s sneakers make perfect pots for the garden. Softened with matching white cascading flowers they make a perfect pair as the plants chosen don’t dwarf the shoes.

 

Rachel Mahlke, an artist from California transforms old stiletto heels collected from her friends and thrift stores, into extraordinary planters with cacti and other succulents.  First she removes the top of the shoe and then sands it, drills holes for drainage and finally plants a cactus in a mixture of natural and organic fertilizers and soil.

 

Foot fashion turned planter - what you can create as a garden is only limited by your imagination. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

A classy modern looking stiletto cactus planter is at the other end of the scale! A succulent is the best choice for this micro garden.

 

 

Canvas drains well as the cloth is porous so the top plants will automatically water those underneath. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Use a hanging canvas shoe rack to hold small plants in the pockets. What a clever vertical micro garden for a small space!

 

  • Hats – many come with a neck strap and can be filled with potting mix and plants, then hang the strap up on a hook for a hanging basket.

 

Plant Container Ideas from your Garage, Garden and Shed:

Clean out your garage, look in the garden, poke around in the shed or garage sale and you’re sure to find some useful items that can be repurposed as planters.

  • Rotten logs – if you’d like to make your own planter, you can follow the instructions at Make It From Scratch.

 

Rather than letting a natural resource go to waste, repot an old log with colour or edibles. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Reusing old timber logs that are not housing wildlife is another fun project for those looking for a free sustainable planter.

 

  • Milk crates, buckets and old trolleys.
  • Old wheelbarrows – they come in all shapes, materials and sizes but make fantastic portable planters for all sorts of edibles and ornamentals.  You can also just use the top part of the barrow if it’s made of plastic into a water garden, nestled down in between other plants.

 

Having a garden on wheels has many advantages - move it around to suit the sun/shade, provide more shelter or easily transplant to a new place. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

When the bottom of the wheelbarrow gives way, the depth and angle of the barrow makes a great planter with a few drainage holes. Plus the added bonus of having a portable pot.

 

  • Tool boxes – metal, wooden or plastic these work well as planters.  See how the one below (courtesy HGTV) has made good use of a design trick (using contrasting colours). It’s planted out with drought tolerant succulents and colour-coordinated with the red flowers in another pot.

 

A colorful metal drillbox serves as a planter for sempervivums and sedums. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Even tradies can garden! This bright red metal drillbox has been reused as a planter for sempervivums and sedums.

 

Succulent toolbox planter - an easy project when planted with drought tolerant succulents. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Planted out with complementary colours, this bright red toolbox makes a great home for low maintenance succulents.

 

  • Ladders make great vertical spaces for pot plants.
  • Old bicycle baskets hooked onto the handlebars. Flowering dianthus look great in these repurposed planters.

 

Your old bike might not be quite so ornate but many bikes still have baskets or could have one attached. Get creative! | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

I couldn’t resist taking a photo of this gorgeous bicycle planter – the baskets had been filled with coir fibre and planted with flowers.

 

  • Rustic tools or farm equipment.

 

One garden I've seen had old equipment and tools as features in a garden with pebble mulch. It followed the pathway to the front door and was a real feature. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Got a rustic garden? This old Seed Drill has been turned into a planter. Why not theme your garden with a collection of old tools and farm equipment?

 

  • Barrels and boxes.
  • Old suitcases – when they get too battered and bruised from travelling, give them a well deserved rest in the garden as a planter or as storage for garden supplies.
  • Wooden crates and pallets – if you’re handy with a hammer and nails you can make all sorts of creative wooden planters.
  • Watering cans – big or small these always look great.

 

Want a mini feature garden for a table or as a centrepiece? A watering can can be filled with edible herbs or cascading flowers and look great as a planter. | The Micro Gardener www.themicrogardener.com

Got a rusted out watering can? No worries! Just repurpose it into a cute planter.

 

  • Clam shell sandpits and wading pools – these structures are usually well made with plastic walls high enough to grow a decent number of plants.

 

Have these ideas inspired you to start a repurposed planter project?  If so, please leave a comment, share your ideas and photos to show others what you’ve done.  We can all learn from each other.

If you liked this post, check out these clever design ideas, tips on frugal gardening and more on repurposed containers.

© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2010-2016 – http://www.themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

28 Comments

  1. The Pot Shop August 22, 2017 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    These are very fun ideas! We are looking forward to trying many of them with the pots at our store.

  2. nk August 18, 2017 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    hi, i have to make re purposed plant container as my school project. can you please give me some ideas for what i can do using milk bottles.
    thanks

  3. MapleNest March 12, 2017 at 2:09 am - Reply

    Some great ideas here. Turning old discarded household items into planters is creative and prevents wastage.

  4. jaki okapy kuchenne January 30, 2017 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    Hey there, You have done a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it
    and personally suggest to my friends. I’m sure
    they’ll be benefited from this web site.

  5. Ruth-Ann Bode September 27, 2016 at 12:27 am - Reply

    Love these ideas! I’m working with middle school students in an after school enrichment program and needed ideas for unconventional gardening spaces/containers as the school is without gardening space…asphalt in the parking lot and no green space available. This gives me some creative ideas to share with them! As this is a small Catholic school for low income, at risk youth I’m always looking for free or inexpensive sources for seeds, materials, etc. Ideas appreciated!

    • Anne Gibson September 27, 2016 at 5:51 am - Reply

      Great to hear you’ve found some inspiring ideas Ruth-Ann. For more free, inexpensive and creative ideas, I also suggest you check out the articles on Microgreens, and the Container Gardening and Frugal Gardening categories of articles in my library. There are loads of projects on this site that could save you money and are perfect for challenging small spaces. I also suggest you sign up for my free monthly newsletter, packed with extra tips and inspiration. Hope this helps. Cheers Anne

  6. Jeannie Lukkar January 21, 2015 at 5:31 am - Reply

    I love this! I have two very old rusty bicycles that I hang plants on in funky containers. Great look!I definitely plan to use some of your ideas.

    • Anne Gibson January 25, 2015 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jeannie. Would love to see pics of your planters. Feel free to email me as I share with my readers regularly. Would be happy to credit you of course.

  7. Julie December 31, 2014 at 3:06 am - Reply

    “Plant a Bra – Julie’s implants”
    Hello, I am the Julie that originally made the pink bra planter you have on your blog. It was first featured on David Hobson’s Garden Humour website in 2008. http://home.golden.net/~dhobson/gardnews.html
    My Plant a Bra has also found a Happy Hoe as a friend http://www.thehappyhoe.com Happy Hoe found my bra planter rather ‘uplifting’ I have since made bra planters with cactus in them – Now everyone knows that ‘my bras are cactus’!!!

    • Anne Gibson January 3, 2015 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Hi Julie
      Thanks for stopping by and introducing yourself and your creative roBUST planters! Really enjoyed sharing the humour and idea with my readers. Thanks for inspiring so many to upcycle their old D-cups. If you have new pics to share with a web link to your blog or cause, please email me.
      Cheers Anne

  8. Violet Hefner July 8, 2014 at 5:32 am - Reply

    Heya, the photo of the bra planter is actually mine. It’s a personal photo I took in 2010 and had as my userpic on Facebook for about two seconds and I’m just now discovering it’s made its way around the Internet, even being used on products people are selling. Geez! 🙁 Anyway, since it’s impossible to reign back in since it’s floating around in cyberspace now, I’d appreciate if you would change the credit to me instead of The Happy Hoe website, please, especially since the link goes to a 404 page anyway. Thank you!

    • Anne Gibson July 9, 2014 at 11:16 am - Reply

      Hi Violet
      Thanks for alerting me to that – I asked permission from The Happy Hoe where I first saw the photo. I was led me to believe it was their image so I apologise for the inadvertent mistake. The link is now updated to your website. All the best. 🙂

  9. Heather June 7, 2014 at 10:10 pm - Reply

    I love all of these ideas! How creative! I may have to try a few of these!!! I turned a old nonworking well house into a lettuce bed (http://www.blissfullychicdiy.blogspot.com/2014/05/old-well-house-turned-lettuce-garden.html) and it has worked awesome. It’s up high enough so it keeps little critters away! Love this post!!!

    • Anne Gibson June 7, 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      Hi Heather – thanks for your feedback and glad to inspire your creative juices! Love your garden bed idea – a high rise solution!

  10. loraine quarrell March 3, 2014 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    The “Shoe racks” is awesome! I love all this recycle ideas! I will try some of them in my garden! Thank u so so much for ur beautiful ideas!

  11. Colin February 16, 2013 at 8:02 am - Reply

    Oh dear, I am well and truly in the dog house, cast asunder and relegated to being placed under the thumb. Not because my tribute for Valentines day was inadequate but because my better half has decided to join the female emancipation lobby and in future burn all her discarded bra’s.
    The basic reason is that I am entering our tenant’s garden competition again this year and having got a First Prize for my Container entry last year my dearly beloved has made it clear that any chance of her bras being photographed and published for all to see will be unacceptable……..
    Tee Hee Hee, saved me a fortune in compost……..

    • The Micro Gardener February 17, 2013 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks for sharing Colin! Had such a good laugh and would love you to email me some of your pics – congrats on first prize. Would love to share with other subscribers. Perhaps you’ll have to visit the op shop instead to source a suitable substitute!! 🙂

  12. Colin February 6, 2013 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    What a catalogue of ideas, fantastic. I thought all my innovations had been included but can I add a toilet cistern…. My wife is well endowed so I have placed an interest in her next discarded bra, just hope I can afford the compost to fill it…..!

    • The Micro Gardener February 7, 2013 at 11:55 am - Reply

      Well Colin, you have certainly given me a giggle for the day!! Thanks for your suggestion. I am just visualising your Bra Planter (or should I say your wife’s?) as a new addition to your garden art. I am sure the ‘over shoulder boulder holder’ (as we used to call them as kids!) will be BUSTing with colour or edibles in the near future. Please email me [anne @ themicrogardener.com] a pic when you make it to share with other readers and inspire them to BIGGER things!

  13. Catherine Lloyd-Evans July 18, 2012 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    Well and truly bookmarked this one!

  14. B Paul April 10, 2012 at 5:04 pm - Reply

    Its an Indescribable Joy to discover ur website. Thank u so so much for ur beautiful ideas and encouragement.
    I stay in a flat so I’ve limited space. I’m new into gardening. Just started with growing mint, fenugreek, ginger and mustard. I’ve 3 miniature roses also. Its growing beautifully and I’m so glad, excited and satisfied to see them grow. My daughter has developed interest in gardening something which she never had.

    Thank u again. Will keep coming to ur site for more and more gardening tips.

    Love
    Mrs. B Paul

    • The Micro Gardener April 10, 2012 at 5:44 pm - Reply

      You’ve made my day Mrs Paul reading your lovely comment! Thanks so much and glad you found some ideas here. If you subscribe to my free newsletter, you’ll get a copy of my eBook on Small Gardens with loads of tips that will be very helpful as a beginner gardener plus some specific ideas on making the most of small spaces. Thanks for dropping by and look forward to sharing your gardening journey. Happy growing, Anne 🙂

  15. Gulsah At American Standard April 3, 2012 at 2:52 am - Reply

    This is such a smart way to be green and environmentally conscious. I work at American Standard and we loved your blog post and ideas so much, we posted your page on our Facebook fan page linking directly to your blog article with a credit going to your website. Our plumbers and fans are sharing on their fan pages for their audience. I hope we can get more readers for your awesome content. Please stop by and say hi as the blogger who came up with these clever ideas. Our fans would appreciate it.
    http://www.facebook.com/AmericanStandardPlumbing

    • The Micro Gardener April 3, 2012 at 7:34 am - Reply

      Wow thanks Gulsah! This topic seems to have hit a chord with so many people. The more we make of what we’ve already got, the less goes to landfill and as you say, we can become more ‘conscious’ about the choices we make. I’ll pop over to your Facebook page and say hi!

  16. Nancy April 1, 2012 at 7:21 am - Reply

    Wonderful, unique ideas. I’ve already started my chair planter. Thanks

    • The Micro Gardener April 1, 2012 at 7:49 am - Reply

      Great to hear you’ve found a project you can ‘dig’ into Nancy. Thanks for stopping by … would love to see it when it’s done! Enjoy.

  17. Pamela May 17, 2011 at 3:30 am - Reply

    I used tin cans as well! I got some paint cans and converted them into upside down planters:

    http://typearamblings.blogspot.com/2011/05/diy-upside-down-planters.html

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