What do you do with a Broken Pot?

I don’t know how these accidents happen, but I’m left to pick up the pieces (literally). I’m ‘shattered’ by the number of broken pots around this place! I hope my dilemma and discoveries will help inspire what you too can do with broken pots.

DIY Upcycled Broken Pot Ideas. Image top right: http://flic.kr/p/H5SNr | The Micro Gardener

To put you in the picture, there have been multiple casualties here lately. I’m not talking about my bruised hubby falling off the ladder – his ego not his body! … No, these accidents have happened to my precious pot collections.

Broken terracotta pots have many creative upcycled uses | The Micro Gardener

The first fatalities were these new pots discovered on my verandah broken into large pieces.


The culprit hasn’t owned up yet and I have both 2 and 4-legged suspects!

A few days later I found this expensive large pot under the tree …


Broken pot crushed by a falling branch = husband with chainsaw! | The Micro Gardener

I got a confession for this one – it was crushed by a falling branch = unprepared husband with chainsaw!!


And not to be outdone, our gorgeous but boisterous dog was busting to make an appointment with nature. She bolted out the front door and there was another fatality on the porch.


Pot saucer smashed by our boisterous dog | The Micro Gardener

This aged but well travelled pot had made it through 4 house moves but couldn’t survive this one!


With a pile of cracked pots, I started to wonder: What exactly CAN you do with them? All that embodied energy seems to be such a waste.


Cracked pots can still be upcycled and used in the garden | The Micro Gardener

After doing a little ‘digging’ I’ve realised broken pots may actually be an opportunity in disguise!


Upcycled Inspiration for Broken Pots


I’m always looking for ways to upcycle any resource that could still be useful. So I hope my ‘shattering’ story will inspire you to get creative when your pots or crockery get smashed. All is definitely not lost. They can still find a useful home in your garden – and sometimes in a way you least expect!

My first idea was to use one of the large pieces as a cachepot to hide an ugly black plastic pot. The terracotta was still half intact. A bit like those hospital gowns that look good from the front but are open at the back! … To disguise this one, I sat the pot inside and used the terracotta pot as a plant marker.


Broken terracotta cachepot with dwarf seaside daisy with back hidden against the wall. Front of pot used as a garden marker. | The Micro Gardener

With this pot having lost the rim and back, I have used it as a decorative cachepot with dwarf seaside daisy that cascades over the edges to hide its true condition. It’s positioned against the wall on my plant trolley.


Should you use Broken Pot pieces as Drainage?

Like many gardeners, I used to add a layer of crocks, pot shards or gravel to the bottom of pots. I used to think this would help with drainage. However, there is scientific evidence that the practice of adding larger pieces actually slows down the water rather than helping it flow. The opposite effect of what you are trying to achieve.  Instead, there are many other uses for small broken pot clay shards.

Create an artistic garden feature

Use pot shards as a decorative feature in the garden | The Micro Gardener

Use as a decorative feature around a collection of pots or plants

Via Flea Market Gardening


Keep pets and animals like squirrels and birds from damaging your pot plants. | The Micro Gardener

Small pieces can be used as a protective moisture holding decorative mulch in your planters. Helpful for keeping animals & birds out too.

Via Garden Gate Notes


Another way I have used smaller broken pot shards is as DIY plant labels. You can use a wax pencil to write on them, stick on letters or add a little paint.

Terracotta pot markers | The Micro Gardener

There are loads of creative options with plant markers to dress up your pots & garden


Bird's nest in flower pot garden art | The Micro Gardener

Turn it into unique garden art like this bird’s nest. Add some moss or paint the inside green and add some pebbles, statue or other objects that take your fancy to create the look you want.

Via Crinkle Crankle


Another way to use large curved pieces is garden edging for small spaces.


Broken pot rims | The Micro Gardener

Broken pot rims in various sizes are used to create a mini tiered garden


Pot edging | The Micro Gardener

Large matching pottery pieces have been used for great effect as partly buried & planted pathway edging


If you have children or grandchildren, try creating miniature garden art or fairy gardens for kids just for fun! Imaginative play and connecting to nature is so important in the development of our children.


Miniature pot garden | The Micro Gardener

A rustic combination with this weathered chair and pot plant collection.


Ornamentals and edibles like thyme and oregano make attractive ground covers and succulents need minimal care.


Tiered terracotta pot garden | The Micro Gardener

3-storey miniature garden with a stone path, sempervivum (hens and chicks) leading up to the door and rooftop bird house!


Miniature garden in a pot | The Micro Gardener

A very creative miniature garden design with steps, moss, succulents and even tiny furniture!


If you’re inspired to create a miniature pot garden, check out this tutorial for the basic steps to get you started.


Click below for miniature garden accessories for your creations

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Old metal wash basin planter with terracotta pot garden art | The Micro Gardener

Mini pots & pieces add interest to this old metal wash basin planter


Succulents are superb choices for broken pot micro gardens. They are low maintenance and can fit in tiny spaces with minimal water needs. Here’s some more inspiration:


Sensational succulents in a broken pot | The Micro Gardener

Succulents have been used beautifully to fill the front of this decorative blue pot.


A variety of textures and colours in the choice of succulents is a clever technique for creating a stunning micro garden. | The Micro Gardener

I love how height was created to add interest in this tiered succulent container garden made with broken pot pieces.


Shallow succulent planter in pot base | The Micro Gardener

A combination of shells, blue pot shards and succulents in this broken saucer work really well together.


Broken pot garden with succulents | The Micro Gardener

Nestled inside this large chipped pot is a miniature garden with many pots & pieces

Via Dotty Pants 


Upcycled broken pot garden | The Micro Gardener

A simple succulent garden in mini pots stacked inside an upcycled pot.

Via Dishfunctional Designs


Reuse part of your broken pots if they still have some useful planting spaces.


Broken strawberry planter | The Micro Gardener

The top of this strawberry planter could still be salvaged.


How about a little plant protection?


Protective plant collar | The Micro Gardener

Broken pot ‘collar’ to protect a tender seedling or young tree from pets or animals


With a little imagination broken pot pieces can also provide habitat for garden creatures and beneficial insects.


Painted clay garden marker | The Micro Gardener

A piece of terracotta has been painted with ‘Lizards home’ – a cool retreat up against the rock. Adds colour & is a fun idea for kid’s gardens.


Or perhaps if you have a little patience, try creating an Insect Hotel. Accommodation for beneficial insects like solitary bees and wasps that pollinate your food crops and flowers.


Insect hotel for beneficials | The Micro Gardener

Multi storey insect hotel made with recycled natural materials and pots.


Lizard lounge and toad abode | The Micro Gardener

Even a simple upturned pot can provide a safe haven for frogs or lizards seeking shelter and helps keep your garden in balance as they keep your insect population in check.


And, if you’re a little crafty … you might be able to use broken crockery as well as pots in your garden.


Raw materials that can be upcycled for mosaic garden art. | The Micro Gardener

Using goggles and a hammer, colourful pots and kitchen crockery can be broken up and used for mosaic projects.


Mosaic pumpkin from terracotta pot shards | The Micro Gardener

Repurpose broken and mismatched pots to make a terracotta mosaic pumpkin

Tutorial via CraftsnCoffee


Make a mosaic pot from leftover broken pots | The Micro Gardener

Upcycle broken pieces into a work of art mosaic pot!

Tutorial via Red Book Mag


Rather than adding to landfill, upcycle glassware into outdoor candle holders | The Micro Gardener

Repurpose your broken glass stemware as an outdoor citronella candle holder to keep bugs away!


Or you may just decide to set up a garden graveyard for your pots and enjoy them as a collection!


Rest in pieces pottery graveyard | The Micro Gardener

Clay pot resting place … adds a little humour and garden art.

Via Gardens Inspired


5 Ways to Disguise Chipped, Cracked or Broken Pot Edges


  • Create a spill pot by growing trailing plants to cascade down the sides or out the front of a pot laid on its side.
Large spill pot with a daisy carpet | The Micro Gardener

Large spill pot with a daisy carpet

  • Upturn and use as plant stands.
  • In your pond, water garden or fish tank as a home for aquatic life and frogs.
  • Minimally damaged pots can be used to store seed packets, tools and other small garden accessories.
  • Group pots in a collection and hide damage by positioning another pot in front.


Repairing Terracotta Pots


If a pot is REALLY precious or one-of-a-kind, you may want to try and repair it and save money. Pottery Magic shares some helpful tips. However, remember if you are going to use chemical glues to repair a pot, I would urge you to avoid growing food in it in case chemicals leach into the soil. Not so important for ornamentals but definitely, edibles!

Inspired but no broken pots?

Think creatively to source pottery shards to use in your garden | The Micro Gardener

Many businesses have the problem of getting rid of ‘waste’ when this may be your solution to free garden art materials!

Why not contact your local pottery centre, nursery, craft supplies, landscape yard or outdoor living stores? You’re sure to pick up some pieces.


Click below for miniature garden accessories for your creations

Affiliate Links: Your support of this site is appreciated!


So between four-legged culprits and power tool wielding husbands, I’m resigned to the fact there will be more cracked pots around here. But at least I have discovered some creative ideas for how to repurpose them in my garden. So, next time a pot breaks – an accident, the wind, freezing temperatures, a boisterous animal, kids (or husbands) – I hope you have some inspiration too! I’d love to know how you upcycle broken pots at your place. So please share your tips and ideas in the comments.


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© Copyright Anne Gibson, The Micro Gardener 2016. https://themicrogardener.com. All rights reserved.

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