For Your Garden Life Hacks

Recycled potting ideas to try 

The pandemic-induced lockdown ensured that one was able to get back to a much-loved hobby or develop a new one while staying inside. One such hobby that saw a resurgence is that of gardening. While amateur gardeners went about starting with a few resilient plants, experts turned to gardening techniques that looked at sustainability. 

As gardening in itself is a big part of taking care of our environment especially while living in cities, reusing and recycling in gardening are just like extending a helping hand towards a greener and cleaner planet. As any gardener may tell you, planting and taking care of a plant is about hard work. Buying planters can also be very heavy on your pocket. However, if you are looking at decorating your house with indoor plants, you would obviously want beautiful planters that go with your interior decor. Owing to the various materials used, it may cost you a good amount of money to actually buy a planter that suits your home. This is where recycling comes to your rescue.  

There are many household items, like containers, empty boxes, useless vessels and old storage items that can be turned into gorgeous planters to plant your lovely greens. All you have to do is clean them up and redecorate them as per your taste and sensibilities. Not only does it save a huge amount of money on planters, but you also get the freedom to decorate the item as per your taste and more importantly, you are recycling which reduces a huge load on the environment. You are doing your bit in saving and preserving the planet, all the while gaining a beautiful home.  

We are going to list a few potting ideas, all of which make use of recycled items. This will inspire you to look at old or useless items in your household in a new light.  

Plastic bottles 

One of the most common and versatile items that can be converted into beautiful planters for various types of plants are plastic bottles. Any kind of plastic bottle works here, from Cola bottles to oil containers and old oil dispensers. Generally, once you are done with the plastic bottle, you store them to give them away to your local old-things collector for a minimal amount.  

Instead, you can simply convert them into beautiful planters. Just wash and clean them first. Let them dry and then cut them into various shapes. You can cut them into half or cut a small patch out in the middle of the bottle horizontally. Once you have cut them into various shapes, you need to drill holes under them for water drainage. Then you can use various acrylic colours, beads, glow balls, strings and other such items to decorate the planter. I have seen a gardener use various colours of dal (lentils and pulses) to decorate a plastic bottle planter. The versatile nature of a plastic bottle allows any kind of item to be used to decorate it. 

Fill the bottle with potting soil mix and plant your beauty. You can simply stack them on a table or drill holes on the sides to string them up in your balcony. My mother, an avid gardener, decorated about 20 such bottles, planted succulents in them and strung them all up on a small leafless tree. Along with some tea lights, they are a wonder to look at. 

The plastic is good enough that it stays for a long time and all you need to do is trim your plant a bit to sustain in the plastic container. 

Cups and bowls 

There comes a time when your ceramic mug or the odd teacup becomes too old to use. Sometimes a broken handle or chipped side or being an odd teacup left out of a group becomes an eyesore in your cabinet. This could be an ideal plant holder for you. 

Succulents are plants that do not need a lot of water. So, you do not need to drill holes in a ceramic mug or the odd teacup to plant them. Simply colour them and decorate them or let them be. Fill them with potting soil and plant your succulent in it. They are small enough and pretty enough to grace your office table or any corner shelf. 

Clay pots 

If you are feeling creative today, you can go for clay pots. You can easily buy clay from any hardware store. Mix it with water and make a dough. There are various methods of making a simple round clay pot. There is the coil method, where you roll out a small round ball, roll it into a coil about the thickness of a pencil and 20cm long. Then you place it in a circle shape on a surface and work with water to smoothen it. Repeat the process on top of the first coil to round out a proper round pot. The second method is the pinch method. Take a round ball of clay dough and punch your thumb in the middle to create a hole. Work the sides and flatten the bottom. Slowly work the sides more to create a round pot.  And why only round, go with any shape that you please and it will be a piece to remember.

Let these handmade pots sit overnight to dry. You can make small watering holes in them while the clay is slightly pliable. Once dry, simply fill it with potting soil and plant your favourites depending on the size of the pot. The beauty of making your own clay pot is that you can make it into any shape, and colour and decorate it as per your taste.  

Metal planters 

Chances are that many households have used tea containers, beer cans and other metal containers which cannot really be used for storage any more. What best way to reuse them than to turn them into vintage looking planters? All you have to do is drill small holes on its bottom to drain water. Then put potting soil and plant your greens in.  

These metal items are so good that you do not need to even decorate them. They give off a very vintage English vibe and look classy on a coffee table or side shelf.  

Glass bottles 

There are succulents and plants that grow and flourish in water. These can easily be planted in wine bottles or other liquor bottles that come in beautiful shapes and sizes. These can become lovely planters that can be simply filled with water and coloured pebbles before planting.  

You can also use glass paint to decorate them as well as small waterproof tea lights to string inside them. With the right lighting, it can easily be used as a green recycled night light.  

Paint cans 

Paint cans are big in size and can be used as planters for big plants. You can drill small water draining holes under them and plant your big plants in them. You can paint and decorate them if you want as well as simply leave them to be placed in your balcony.  

The best thing about paint cans is that they come in various sizes. So, you can easily plant your rubber plant or indoor areca palm in the big one as well as rose bushes or philodendrons in medium-sized ones.  

A friend of mine was left with various sizes of paint cans after she painted her home. She drilled water draining holes in all of them and then used thin jute rope to twine around on the outside of all the paint cans. In the end, they all looked alike. Then she added in potting soil and planted a few different types of rose bushes in them. Once all the roses grew and bloomed, it was a beauty to see different coloured roses bloom out of various-shaped but same looking containers. It truly was a piece of art.  

Once you decide that you are going to recycle and reuse any item of your house, ideas will flow on how to turn it into a beauty. You never know when the inspiration might strike and you may get a masterpiece out of it. 

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