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Easy Upcycled Planters

By: Garden Gate staff
Don’t break the bank on expensive pottery when you can make these easy upcycled planters out of your thrift store treasures for a truly unique container garden!

easy-upcycled-garden-planters-lunchbox-planter: This metal lunchbox makes a perfect shabby chic planter for seasonal annuals.

Save money with upcycled planters

Forget spending lots of money on a shiny new planter: Make do with what you have for a container garden that is truly unique. These easy upcycled planter ideas use items you may already have around the house. If not, you can easily find them or something similar at a thrift shop or junkyard. Think about the plants you can buy now that you are saving money on the pots! Check out several great ideas below you can use in your own garden.

Upcycle an old lunchbox into a planter

Old lunchboxes like the one above tend to be pretty shallow so this upcycled container works best for short-term plantings. But that’s OK when you’re putting together a showy seasonal planter. You won’t need it to perform for several months. Be sure to punch a few drainage holes in the bottom using an awl. We put two holes at each end. Put the lunchbox on a wooden board while you put the holes in so the tool doesn’t dent the bottom out of shape. Plant up with some pretty annuals and enjoy!

Old chair upcycled into a unique plant stand: Put an old chair to use by turning it into a charming plant stand.

Dress up an old chair

Do you have an old chair in the basement or garage you haven't been able to get rid of? Dress it up by upcycling it into a unique planter! The chair you see above had an older wicker seat that had seen better days so it was removed to make a perfect place for a container. You could choose a decorative container for this upcycled project. But if you have a plain nursery pot or less-than-attractive container, just slip it into the framework of an old chair. Select plants with a trailing form like this bougainvillea (Bougainvillea hybrids) to help hide a plain looking pot.

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Using old glass lampshades as planters for a table display: Glass lampshades make a unique centerpiece when planted up with pretty flowers.

Tabletop charm

Having a party and want to dress up your patio? Put together a tray of these charming little single-plant containers made of glass light shades. To keep the tray clean, remove the containers to water and let them drain before you return them. These less-than-4-in. containers can hold plants that bloom longer than a fresh cut flower arrangement, but they are still small and probably won’t thrive there all summer. When it’s no longer blooming, move it into your garden and enjoy it there next year.

Painted tire planters: Stacked tires painted fun colors make for unexpected planters.

Tiered tires

You may never have seen tire planters like these before! Forget the idea that less is more and throw restraint to the wind — spray paint several tires in sunny colors and stack them up for tiered raised beds that can’t help but be noticed.

Upcycle an aluminum colander into a hanging planter: Upcycled a colorful colander into a hanging planter.

Plant up a colander

Find a colander made of a solid piece of aluminum with holes punched in it, like the one here. Loop some wire or chain through holes near the rim and hang the colander with the wire hanger from an old hanging basket. Filled with a coarse potting mix, it makes a well-drained container for any combo, including small succulents and herbs.

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Old washbins planted with flowers: Vintage washbins make for a unique raised planter perfect for filling with beautiful flowers.

Turn vintage washbins into a shabby chic planter

The brightly colored flowers filling this vintage double washtub have grown so well they billow over the edge like bubbles. You could plant directly in the tub or slip a couple of large nursery pots inside. Growing plants will eventually hide them.

Published: May 21, 2019
Updated: Jan. 20, 2021
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