Containers, large pots and troughs planted with flowers make appealing decorations on patios, decking and paths. Attractive containers are widely available at reasonable prices, but if you are looking for a more distinctive look, here are some unusual alternatives. There is little that cannot be used as plant containers – the limits are your own imagination!
The only essential requirement of a container is the ability to hold compost – enough to avoid drying out too quickly. Drainage holes are desirable to allow surplus water to escape and prevent water logging.
- Wicker baskets: As long as the basket is strong enough, any size will do. A plastic liner with drainage holes will make the basket last longer.
- Zinc baths: These give an attractive alpine look. Be sure to put in plenty of drainage holes before filling with compost.
- Painted wheelbarrows: These look good and have the advantage of easy portability.
- Buckets: Add drainage holes a few inches above the base to provide a reservoir of water.
- Large chimney pots: Make attractive rustic focal points.
From the kitchen
- Teapot/kettle/jugs: It can be difficult to make drainage holes in these sorts of containers, so are best used for water plants.
- Colander: Useful for plants requiring good drainage!
- Milk bottles: Paint with an opaque paint to disguise the compost. As drilling holes in glass is difficult, water sparingly.
- Egg cups: These can be a fun way of supplying fresh cress for your egg sandwiches!
- Bin liners: Tie into a sausage shape and plant strawberries or bedding plants through the holes.
- Old shoes or clogs: Plastic shoes are better than leather as the latter will go mouldy, and well-worn shoes should come with their own drainage holes!
- Children’s toys: Try planting a plastic pram – useful for a first garden and can be taken for walks.
- Bricks: Use one with three central holes, insert compost and plant with cacti.
- Bidet/lavatory: Definitely for the more adventurous garden! Try planting with trailing plants to hide the container.
- Cow sculls: Scrub out well before planting – cacti look good in these.