If a plant can grow anywhere, why not tuck it into an old boot? If that looks great — and it does — try filling a junked convertible with zinnias and daisies. Don’t forget the trunk! What follows are 20 ingenious ideas for rescuing unused household items and turning them into plant pots and container gardens.
Inexpensive and easy, these projects range from tiny (wine corks) to massive (the car). Some may require a bit of heavy lifting. Moving an old bathtub into the garden will take some serious muscle power. But the effort pays off in the spring when the tub froths with flowers. It looks like a blue and white bubble bath. All that’s missing is a soap dish with my favorite lavender scent and maybe a piece of moss for a loofah.
I have always loved the idea of reusing shoes and boots as plant pots, but I never thought to plant a spangly pair of high heels with succulents that stick out the open toes and climb up to the ankle. I think it’s chic, but would Jimmy Choo approve?
My all-out favorite project is the five pairs of jeans. They are stuffed with potting mix and planted with pointy grasses that grow up from the waist. It’s like having five spiky friends leaning on your balcony, ready to sip a beer. Maybe they would prefer green water? This is near perfect, but I might add a dash of color with a red bandanna in one of the pockets and maybe a pair of silver spurs. A few more details would make this droll concept pop with color and sparkle.
1. Worn-Out Boots Revived with Chrysanthemums
A yellow chrysanthemum pokes from a hole in this pair of well-worn boots that have been transformed into a rustic planter. There’s plenty of space for potting mix in the cuffed uppers, while the sole flaps lose to provide drainage.
2. Rusty Trough Sets Off Colorful Blossoms
Rusty and spotted with verdigris, this old metal trough contrasts nicely with the red and white flowers and the purple coleus leaves. Spiky blooms and pointy leaves look like firecrackers shooting skyward from the earthy container.
3. Glass Bottles Stack Up to a Unique Planter
Source: Cozy Little House
Dozens of green glass bottles are carefully stacked to form a perfectly cylindrical planter. Placed with their necks inward and the indented base outward, the bottles create a texture that looks like the trunk of a shiny palm tree. The hefty planter dominates the feathery plants inside.
4. Pallet Garden Shows Off Leafy Greens
Painted barn red and propped up so it’s almost vertical, this recycled pallet makes a convenient space for extra rows of vegetables. Pretty and portable, it can be placed on a lawn within easy reach during growing season and stashed away in the garden shed for the winter.
5. Five Green Friends Belly Up to the Balcony
Spiky grasses sprout from the tops of five pairs of stuffed jeans. They lean against a balcony railing as if waiting to be invited inside. Blue jeans and soft green grasses make for a subtle color scheme in this humorous lineup that’s sure to get a chuckle from friends and neighbors.
6. All Aboard the Flower Train
Wooden barrels are set on their sides and cut open to form the locomotive and cars of a train hauling pansies across the grass. A tiny barrel makes the smokestack and a board cut with two round windows suggests an engineer’s cab. Wooden disks are used for wheels and headlights.
7. Slatted Shelves Keep Pots Neat
Wooden shelves with slats nailed across the frame create a safe place for dozens of small plants. Two sets of shelves attached to the wall keep plants secure from the wind but open to sunlight. One leaning against the wall neatly stores empty pots.
8. Pink and Green Brighten Up an Old Bike
The basket of this blue bicycle is filled with pink flowers and trailing greens. Containers attached to the seat overflow with plants, replacing the rider that used to pedal the bike, which is now permanently parked on the grass.
9. Re-Tired and Ready for Planting
Ratty black tires are transformed into cheerful planters with layers of yellow, orange and green paint. They are hanging from chains looped into a window screen and planted with trailing flowers that spill over the sides, softening the edges. Coordinating troughs in yellow and orange complete the design, which hides a gray painted window.
10. Try This If Your Horn No Longer Toots
Old horns that have lost their shine make eye-catching planters when attached to a window box. The looping tubular shapes steal the show as the plants barely emerge from the dented bells of the musical instruments.
11. A Leaky Umbrella Becomes a Home for Pansies
A white umbrella no longer useful as a shelter from the rain is put to use as a planter for blue, yellow, and purple pansies. The scalloped umbrella looks like a large white blossom, giving this clever container the appearance of a garden within a flower.
12. Powered by Flowers
The front compartment of an old red Beetle is filled with purple flowering plants. This design harks back to the the painted flowers that adorned counterculture vehicles in the nineteen-sixties. No longer road-worthy, the little car still makes a big statement.
13. Plants Go Parking
This red convertible is filled with multicolored flowers in the front seat, back seat, and trunk. Plants are the car’s only occupants now that it has found a permanent parking place in a grassy field.
14. An Old Tub Makes a Splash of Color
An out-of-date bathtub is moved into the garden and filled with blue and white flowering plants. Somewhere along the way, the outside of the tub was painted a golden yellow, so it stands out against the green of the hedge
15. Rotted Log Sprouts Red Blossoms
A weathered hollow log filled with potting mix makes a container for a plant with elegant red blossoms. The ragged edge and peeling bark make a beautiful contrast with the scarlet flowers that hover above the log.
16. Pretty in Pink
This tiny pink teacup contains sturdy succulents. The graceful fluted form of the cup and saucer sets off the chubby leaves of the plants for an overall look that’s charmingly off-beat.
17. Wine Corks Make Tiny Root Pots
Cutting holes into wine bottle corks creates miniature rooting pots for tiny twigs and shavings of lichen. The organic colors of the corks make them look like little tree trunks, and the display would be perfect for a Christmas decoration.
18. Blue Stripes Liven Recycled Planter
Marine blue inside with lively blue stripes around the outside, this container may once have had other uses, but it has come to rest in the garden as a place to grow profusions of yellow and blue pansies as it gently wears away.
19. Bag a Few Plants
Shiny handbags and candy-colored lunch coolers hang from a metal fence. The bright green, purple, orange and yellow bags are colorful homes for plants, trailing and upright. Purple coleus leaves are especially striking in this bold display.
20. Perhaps They’ll Start Dancing
They may not be dancing in the breeze, but these hearty succulents are growing happily in a recycled pair of pumps. Still sparkly and crazed with a lacy pattern, the high heels may have seen better days, but I doubt it.