Out of pots for your garden? We’ve all been there. There’s always the option to go out and buy some more, but sometimes, you’d rather not. Whether it’s financial reasons, plain laziness, or the desire to recycle other stuff, there’s no shame in giving your plants a second-hand container. You know how the saying goes: The pot matters not if you know how to treat the plant.
Okay, that’s not a real saying, but it’s true. So, let’s dive right into it.
There’s always the evergreen option of grow bags. Recycle plastic bags to use as pots. People often voice the concern that harmful chemicals may leach from them into the soil, so pick the plastic carefully. However, grow bags are temporary (they’ll get unsightly or misshapen in a few months), so your soil will probably be okay.
I like to use thicker plastic that retains the shape I give it, and won’t tear. I cut a small hole in its bottom, and put a layer of newspaper inside, to prevent the soil from leaking out while still providing a drainage hole. I generally use these for seedlings or cuttings which will be moved out in a little while, because I don’t want to run the risk of the plant’s roots tearing through the plastic.
The next option is containers. These are usually of plastic, and they seem to work perfectly fine in my experience. I heat a knife and make a hole the size of a pea in the bottom, and place a flat stone over it to prevent the soil draining out. I’ve used everything from single-use sweet containers, to dishwashing soap (cake) boxes.
Some are conventionally pot-shaped, some are decorative, some are plain odd. Despite the shape, I’ve found that plants seem to be happiest in U or V-shaped containers. That is, containers where the height is greater than the width, and the top is wider than the bottom. Using a container is also convenient because most of them have lids that you can use as makeshift trays.
Another great idea is to buy second-hand pots from nurseries going out of business. That way, you’ll have normal pots that don’t require any extra work, for a fraction of the price. According to sources, second-hand pots can be bought in the USA for as little as 10 cents each – which is great for people that want a large number of them.
This isn’t, of course, a comprehensive list, but it is an end to the ideas that I have explored. Other than these you can also try bottles, seedling trays made of cardboard (it’ll get messy), old crates, vases, tyres (apparently), and what-have-you. Go out and give it a try!