1. Home

Container Garden Ideas

Almost anything can be a container garden


They say that necessity is the mother of invention, I think it's also thrift. I'll admit it, I'm cheap, which is one of the reasons I've had to come up with so many non-traditional container gardening ideas. It helps that I love going to yard sales and thrift stores and finding baskets, tea cups, baby shoes and other odd things to turn into containers.

Here are some of my favorite container garden ideas.

1. Re-Purpose Old Baskets

container gardening picture of container garden idea
Photo © Kerry Michaels

You can find old baskets at thrift stores, yard sales and Dollar Stores for less than a dollar. I buy them even if they are falling apart a little bit. I can usually glue them back together, turn the problem to the back, or just ignore the imperfection and call it "distressed." 

After years of trial and error, I now line baskets with clear, lightweight plastic, either the kind you get at the dry cleaner, or a lightweight flexible bag. I cut lots holes in the bottom for drainage. You can also line baskets with moss. I generally use plastic, however because it is less expensive and helps the soil to retain moisture and use moss as a top dressing if I need too.

After lining the basket, I fill the it with potting soil, usually about an inch below the rim. I then tuck the edge of the plastic under the soil. 

2. For Instant Gratification, Cheat

container gardening picture of proven winners hanging basket
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

Part of the reason I love container gardening is the possibility for instant gratification. One of the most satisfying ways to achieve a full and beautiful planter, is to cheat. Buy a lush and fully filled out hanging basket. I then usually cut or pull off the plastic hangers and then pop the whole thing - right in it's nursery pot - into a container. 

If it sits too low in the container, you can put a bucket, pot or plastic container, upside down in the bottom and put your flowering basket right on top. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the right level, but you generally want it to sit about an inch below the rim of your pot.

Putting spanish moss around the pot is a good way to hide it and make the container more interesting.

For more info on cheating:

Instant Flowering Container Garden

3. Recycle Old Tea Cups

container gardening picture of tea cup
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

I haunt my local thrift stores and yard sales looking for beautiful or unusual tea cups. They look great in groups, make lovely gifts and are easily turned into table place markers. 

The only thing about tea cups is that you have to drill a hole in the bottom and sometimes it's a challenge to make a big enough hole without breaking the cup.

It helps to have a special ceramic bit and to make sure that the tea cup doesn't get too hot from the friction of drilling. 

Here are some suggestions for

Turning a Tea Cup into a Container Garden

4. Container Garden in Shoes

container gardening picture of container garden ideas
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

When I first started container gardening, I have to admit that I swore I would never use shoes as container gardens. Now I love them. I've seen super swanky high heel container gardens, rubber boots and baby shoes that are fun and imaginative.

Most shoes have drainage built in but if you are using rubber boots, you will have to drill or cut holes in the bottoms for drainage

Fill your shoes with good quality potting soil and make sure to mix in some all purpose fertilizer if you potting soil doesn't already have it. You can form a basket out of spanish moss if your shoes are open and put potting soil in the moss.

Most shoes won't hold a lot of soil, so use plants that have shallow root systems. Moss, some herbs, and succulents all are good choices. Also, because they won't hold much soil, they dry out really fast, so make sure to water them regularly. If it's hot and windy, depending on the types of plants, you may have to water twice a day.



5. Check Out Hardware or Housewares Stores

container gardening picture of container gardening idea laundry basket
Photograph © Kerry Michaels

One way to get container garden ideas is to peruse hardware, housewares and Dollar stores. I love using aluminum buckets, troughs and plastic pails from the hardware store. From housewares stores, I get laundry baskets, plastic garbage cans, and colanders. From Dollar Stores and Target, I get glass jars for terrariums and bright plastic cups and bowls.

Container Garden Ideas 



©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.