Old Plant Containers Find New Interiorscape Uses

Looking for ways to recycle, repurpose, and reuse your old plant containers?

As plant people, I think it’s in our nature to help the environment and find new uses for worn-out items whenever we can. 

I compost food scraps and recycle bottles, cardboard, cans – basically any material that my waste management company will take. When I drive by landfills the size of small mountains, watching the seagulls hover above searching for eatable material, I wonder when our waste will overtake the land. It kills me to throw out items that I know could somehow be reused instead of adding to the mountain of trash. 

plant containers

I’ve kept stacks of containers for years, taking up valuable space, wondering if I should throw them out since they may never be used again. Along with the fact that some were extremely expensive, I cannot find the heart to place them in a dumpster, knowing I’m helping to create Mount Everest landfills.

Here are a few different ways I have made use of outdated, homeless plant containers.

Plant Containers: Water Features

Nothing is more relaxing then listening to the sound of bubbling water. For years, I’ve had these extremely heavy ceramic oriental bowls collecting dust. It occurred to me, I should bring one home and make good use of it. I wanted a water feature in my garden, and this ceramic container was free, water proof, and stable. 

plant containers water feature

At my local hardware store, I purchased a water pump and cheap tubing. I placed it in the middle of the pot and surrounded it with large Tennessee rocks. Adding corkscrew grass and a few feeder goldfish for the finishing touch, I created a beautiful, inexpensive garden feature. Watching the fish grow and listening to the water brings me a little peace and tranquility every time I pass by.

Plant Containers: Side Tables

Several months ago, I decided to redecorate a porch area that was being used as storage. My budget of a hundred dollars quickly disappeared after I paid for paint, TV, and an area rug to cover the cement slab. I had a nice wicker love seat I picked up for free from someone’s trash pile and purchased new cushions. I needed some side tables and recalled these two octagon planters I had in storage. They were probably over fifteen years old. 

The containers’ terra cotta finish was badly faded, so I decided to repaint them a metallic silver. At first, I simply turned them upside down, which gave me cool looking side tables with a small surface for drinks. Later on, I found two round pieces of glass by the curb and realized they were the perfect size for a table. I flipped the plant containers right side up, resting the glass perfectly on top.

Now, I have more surface space and hidden storage. I store blankets in one container and, since they’re waterproof, I fill the other table with ice for a cooler whenever I have friends over.

Plant Containers: Organization

If I cannot find a home for a cubical planter, they make great organizers for my van. Because they are heavy plastic and durable, I can load them with fertilizers, spray bottles, tools, and any other item I need to carry. The containers’ wide bases make them stable enough to resist even my crazy driving. Plus, they keep liquid containers upright and much easier for me to see every item instead of searching through a pile of products.

Plant Containers: Storage

Whenever I have containers that my clients are currently using, I hang on to them. Many times, my clients add on to their space and need additional plants with matching containers, and it’s a big time and money saver when I already have them in the warehouse.

If the plant containers have been sitting awhile, I usually fill them with other storage material: moss, rocks, holiday ornaments, or smaller containers. Depending on their height, I can stack at least three high, saving valuable floor space.

At first, I didn’t use any labels, thinking I was smart enough to remember what’s inside each container. This was a big mistake, as after several months, I forgot I had a whole case of moss inside and continued to order more. Now, I use file folders with the continents listed and hang it over the edge. Sometimes, if it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind.

Share some ways you reuse old plant containers below!

Sherry has been part of the interiorscape industry for over fifteen years, starting at an entry level job at North Florida's largest greenhouse and currently owning two horticulture companies. At UMaine, Sherry majored in English where she worked part-time writing scripts for a local college TV studio.

Fiberglass Planters

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