Recycle or re-use plant containers

Recycle or re-use plant containers

January is sometimes a bad month for gardening in the yard, so we may turn our attention to perusing seed catalogs, cleaning tools and generally organizing our sheds and garages. Lots of us have huge stacks of those containers of all sizes that we use to bring our plants home. There are quite a few uses for them other than just replanting plants into them.

Sherry Ribbey of Gardengate came up with great unique uses for these pots that we just can’t seem to throw away. When you have a large container that you are preparing for a new plant, you often use large pieces of broken pots or rocks to block the drainage hole a little. You don’t want to loose that soil. Another option would be to use a small plastic pot six-pack or a slightly larger extra plastic pot to block the large drainage hole. These little plastic pots have small drainage holes of their own.

Large garden pots are sometimes just too big for planting, so gardeners use old packing peanuts or milk jugs to take up some of the space in the bottom of the pot before adding the potting soil and plants. Another option would be to us old plastic plant containers turned upside down. Then the large garden pot would need less of that expensive potting soil and would be lighter when it needs to be moved.

You can use two small plastic containers stacked together for a strong and free scoop for getting potting soil out of its bag. Listen to this one! If you know that a cold front is on its way, you can protect tender or new plants by setting a large nursery pot over each plant. A brick or rock can be used on the top of the plastic pots to weigh them down. For invasive vining plants, you can build some control into the mix. Put the plant, like mint for example, into a quart or gallon nursery plastic pot that has the bottom cut out. When the plastic pot is sunk into the ground the mint will be happy and not as aggressive. You can leave an inch of soil above the pot’s edge if you want the plant to send out runners.

Use plastic containers as free storage for gardener’s essentials like plant tags, twine or small tools. A very clever use for one round 4-inch pot inside of another is as a free instant spreader for your garden. You can use it for slow release fertilizer or any small granular product. Just line up holes in container so that there are no holes showing while you fill the pot then twist the inner container a little when you want to let some of the fertilizer spread out. We sure do love to find uses for things that would otherwise become trash.


Joette is an avid gardener and prides  herself on staying up-to-date on the latest gardening activities and tips. To share your gardening news with Joette, call (409) 832-1400 or fax her at (409) 832-6222. Her e-mail is joreger [at] msn [dot] com.