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Using upcycled items as pots for your plants

Upcycling is a great way to give new life to old items while reducing waste. When it comes to planters, there are numerous creative ideas you can explore.


The act of taking something no longer in use and giving it a second life and new function. In doing so, the finished product often becomes more practical, valuable and beautiful than what it previously was.” UpcycleThat.com

One of our members, D.W., shared her upcycling adventures with us:

  • I have enjoyed using a little Buddha that a friend gave me as a hostess gift one year. He is very versatile.

  • Other props I have are an old brass wash tub that can accomodate bigger plant designs.

  • I also have an old Singer sewing machine stand that suits a shady spot under our maple tree.

  • Recently my husband built me a table from a left over fence board. He spray painted 2 square plastic pots turquoise (acrylic spray paint) to match our umbrellas. (The pots were formerly lime green). I am happy with the modern looking result.


The past 2 years I have had issues with squirrels digging up my planters and breaking the more delicate plants. They are burying their peanuts (in shells) that someone nearby is feeding them. In frustration, I have laid on the top of the soil this year thorny barberry bush clippings...and added in some cases plastic forks ( prong up) or green pointy sticks from Sticky sticks ( the ones used to catch fungus gnats). I read that coffee grinds will deter squirrels but alas we don't drink coffee here. However on my advice a friend tried this and is so far reporting success.


Take a look at D.W.'s gorgeous planters:




Here are some other ideas for using upcycled items as pots for your plants:

  • Tin Cans: Clean and paint tin cans in various colours, and use them as planters. You can attach them to a wooden board or hang them on a wall to create a vertical garden.

  • Mason Jars: Mason jars make charming planters. You can paint them, wrap them with twine, or decorate them with beads and ribbons. Hang them using wire or create a centrepiece by arranging them on a tray.

  • Wine Bottles: Cut the bottom off wine bottles and use them as individual planters. You can paint them or leave them clear, and place them on a windowsill or hang them upside down to create a unique suspended garden.

  • Old Furniture: Convert old drawers, wooden crates, or even a broken chair into planters. Line them with plastic or landscape fabric, add soil, and plant your favourite flowers or herbs. This idea works well for both indoor and outdoor gardens.

  • Tea Tins: Empty tea tins with colourful designs can be transformed into eye-catching planters. Make sure to drill drainage holes in the bottom and fill them with potting soil for your plants.

  • Rubber Boots: If you have outgrown or worn-out rubber boots, they can make playful and whimsical planters. Simply fill them with soil and add your plants. They are perfect for adding a touch of charm to your garden or porch.

  • Vintage Containers: Look for old, unique containers like vintage teapots, metal buckets, or ceramic bowls at thrift stores or flea markets. With a little creativity, you can repurpose them into one-of-a-kind planters.

  • Repurposed Tires: Paint and stack old tires to create a multi-tiered planter. This works particularly well for succulents and cascading plants. Be sure to fill each tire with soil and add drainage holes.

  • Broken Pot Planters: If you have a broken clay pot, don't discard it! Use the larger pieces to create a tiered effect by partially burying them in the soil. It adds a whimsical touch to your garden.

  • Hanging Bottles: Cut the tops off plastic soda bottles, paint or decorate them, and hang them upside down as small hanging planters. This technique works well for herbs or small flowering plants.

Remember to consider the drainage needs of your plants when upcycling items into planters. Ensure proper drainage by drilling or creating holes at the bottom of your containers. Also, use suitable potting soil and provide the necessary care for your plants to thrive in their upcycled homes.


Happy Gardening!






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