Friday, April 1, 2016

Vintage Junk Succulent Planter Tutorial

A.  Look for cheap ($1 or less each) vintage containers to use as planters. Metal is my favorite.  Not too big, or it is too heavy to haul around.   Not too small, or people won't purchase them.  Just right.
B.  Poke holes in the bottom if they don't have holes already (I use a hammer and nail).

C.  Put some "junk" in the bottom for drainage.  Black walnuts, clay pot pieces, small rocks, leaves and items found in your compost pile.

D.  Fill with dirt from your compost pile.  I maintain a compost pile year round.  Mine is a "cold" compost pile, which means I am too lazy to mix it up and add the right amounts of sand, "green", etc.  Mine has two sides.  I use one side each year to stack leaves, gardening leftovers, etc.  The other side has the thick, rich compost left from the year before.  Anything that hasn't completely composted I put on the leafy side.  The finished compost is enough for all my retail plantings.  I do not mix potting soil into this, because it raises my cost of each planter. 

E.  Plant a couple types of succulents into the pot (your succulents should take up about half of the pot).  Keeping in mind that they will grow and spread somewhat.  I maintain a primary succulent bed and several satellite beds.  I try out different types of succulents every year.  They need to spread (be fruitful and multiply) so  that I can "harvest" the edges. 

Different colors, textures and heights are good.  Ideally they also need to make it through the Midwest winter.

F.  Plant a flowering annual in the pot.  I always use dianthus or rose moss.  (I just bought a 6-pack of dianthus for $1.75 at Walmart.) Both do great in high heat, direct sun, and very little water.  Both bloom for months.  Sometimes I actually have dianthus overwinter.

G.  "Mulch" with small pebbles, available in a huge bag at your garden center for $5 or less.  Cover all the bare dirt and lift plant leaves to mulch under them.  This helps hold in the dirt and the moisture, plus it gives a nice finished look.

H.  Water each container thoroughly.  After this, they generally only need watering once a week.  Twice if it is super hot.

I.  There might be some bare spots, which need a little interest.  This is a great opportunity to raid your junk stash.  Last year I used a lot of rusty metal items for filler.  This year I'm leaning toward rocks and shells.  Other items I have used:  broken porcelain doll pieces, game pieces, tiny glass bottles,  marbles, ceramic animal or bird figures.

J.  Clean off the outside of your pots and price them.  I use old spoons to write prices on, they don't blow over and water doesn't damage them.  My vintage store that I sell the planters at keeps the spoon "price markers" for me, so I can recycle them.  I try to sell most of the planters at a mind-blowing $9, I can only do that because I keep the costs down. 


  1. Love these!! I saw you on Funky Junk Interiors and I'd love it if you'd link up to my party: Talk of the Town! ( Every Tuesday at 8 pm EST. :)

  2. That was great! Thanks for sharing!!


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