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Weekly Gardening Tips for Your Area


Try Vintage Garden Style with Shabby Chic Planters

Lucy Mercer
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Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Call it rustic, vintage or shabby-chic style, but when you get creative with containers, you create a focal point (and a talking point) for your porch and garden.

Look around with fresh eyes and think about what you can use in your garden, like the China gravy boat, above. Simply wrap securely with jute twine, knot at the top and attach to a chain with an S-hook.

I don’t recommend using a family heirloom for this kind of project, but if you shop thrift stores, you will come upon plenty of old teacups, gravy boats and pitchers that will be lovely with plants in them. You can take the extra step of drilling drainage holes with a drill bit for ceramics. Or just be extra careful not to overwater.

Ideas for creative containers


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Copper is in right now and you don’t have to pay the price for something new. Look for cast-offs, like this beat-up bread box, and fill with blooms.


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Want flower power without a lot of work? Choose a Drop-N-Bloom container from your nearby The Home Depot Garden Center and pop it into a planter for instant oomph. Drop-N-Bloom combinations are designed for season-long color and compatibility. Selections will vary by store.


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Boxes and crates of all sorts make handy plant containers. Seek unique boxes at antique markets and secondhand stores. Prevent damage to the container and surface below when you line the interior of the box with plastic sheeting before filling with plants.


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Even a worn-out and outgrown children’s bicycle can be repurposed as a planter. Cover the pink and purple princess styling with a sleek coat of spray paint.

At well under $10, this gives you a lot of bang for your buck. Try a pastel shade like Sea Mist for the perfect backdrop for creeping Jenny and calibrachoa in a basket.


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Put the rust in rustic when you scour yard sales for planter potential like this oxidized camp kettle. Accent with a twirl of creeping Jenny or perhaps with a succulent like donkey tails.


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

And speaking of succulents, shallow containers like this tackle box are perfect for sedums and succulents. Line the container with plastic first, then fill in with soilless potting mix designed for succulents and cacti. 

Look for sedum tile at select The Home Depot Garden Centers. This dense mat can be easily cut or pulled apart and divided into the compartments of the tackle box.


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Pinterest is filled with repurposed, galvanized metal containers like this coal hod. When not in use, fill it with an easy-growing vine like Purple Heart. Get your own galvanized metal collection started with utility tubs, beverage tubs and buckets.

(Photos by Laura Mercer)

More Rustic Inspiration

Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

With any luck, a thrifted wheelbarrow may be rusted through enough to provide drainage holes. If not, drill a few holes, then fill with quality potting mix and flats of brightly colored annuals like impatiens and petunias. Keep watered to keep the display at its peak.


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

No worries about drainage when you use a colander like this bright yellow enamelware sieve. Use jute twine and S-hooks to attach the colander and fill with a small Drop-N-Bloom container of purslane or similar trailing flower.


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Don’t restrict creative container planting to flowers. Reach for edibles like herbs to add whimsy and wow to your garden, like this stack of galvanized buckets.


Shabby Chic Containers | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Pack up your plants in a vintage suitcase. Stack the cases in a corner for a fanciful presentation. Carefully choose a location for this container and be sure to line with plastic. 

Tips for Growing in Creative Containers:

  • Create drainage. Drill holes or use a nail and hammer to make the display last.
  • Line with plastic sheeting. Protect repurposed containers made of wood or other material that can be damaged by water.
  • Choose suitable plants. Check growing requirements on the plant tag for proper light conditions and watering requirements. Plants in shallow containers will dry out quickly so keep them well-watered. However, succulents require very little water. 
  • Feed. Keep your plants happy and thriving in their vintage home. Feed them every few weeks with a liquid plant food
  • Conserve water. Mix water-storing crystals with potting soil to help small containers through hot summer days.

check out More unusual plant containers: 


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