Turn (Almost) Any Container Into a Planter

Jill Staake

Recently, I was given the opportunity to try out a bunch of new plant varieties in my garden. These plants won’t be available to the general public until 2014, so I was excited to get the chance to see some of these new offerings in advance. Many of them went straight into some raised garden beds and whiskey barrel planters I had available, but a few of them lingered on my back porch for weeks, waiting for a home. This was partly because I was out of space, and partly because I felt l like these particular plants really needed some colorful containers to show them off to their best advantage. For instance, I wanted a bright pink container to go with the soft pink flowers of the begonias:

I spent some time poking through available planters at home improvement and bargain stores, but couldn’t find the vibrant colors I was looking for. I considered painting some old containers like Noelle did last summer, but even that seemed like a lot of effort – after all, it is summertime in Florida. The less work we have to do outside, the better. And then I came across some plastic tub containers in just the colors I wanted, and decided to take them home and turn them into the planters I wanted.


  • Container of your choice. You can turn any container into a pretty decent planter just by adding some drainage holes. Bear in mind that inexpensive plastic containers exposed to the weather may not hold up that long, but since I paid only $4 each for my new planters, I’ll be happy to recycle these somewhere down the line and replace them if I have to.
  • Cordless drill with small/medium sized drill bit
  • Piece of screen large enough to cover the bottom of the container

To add drainage holes to plastic containers, use a cordless drill on a low setting and press gently, otherwise you risk cracking the plastic. If your container is wood, resin, or a sturdier material, you can use a little more power and make larger holes. To keep soil from falling through the holes, cut and place a piece of screen in the bottom of the container. Then fill with soil  and plant as usual.

Now my begonias and heuchera have colorful containers to complement their foliage and flowers. If you’re interested, the pink pot holds SUREFIRE Rose Begonias (Begonia benariensis), and the yellow pot has DOLCE ‘Blackberry Ice’ Heuchera (Heuchera hybrid), both from Proven Winners and available to the general public in spring 2014.

For tips on effective container plantings, see Noelle’s blog post from a few months ago. What tips do you have for turning containers into cool planters? Share them with us in the comments.

Add a Comment

From Our Community

I think my wireless router is going bad. :>(

I've had the  worst time getting connected to the internet this week.   I stayed on the phone with my ISP  about 20 minutes the other day before we…
Read more >

Your online name

I was wondering if you chose your online name for a reason or it just came to you? I chose mine as I love birds and coffee!
Read more >