Got Large Pots? Use Plastic Containers to Fill Extra Space

Do you like to grow ornamental plants in large pots?  I do.  Especially brightly-colored pots that add color to the

Do you like to grow ornamental plants in large pots?  I do.  Especially brightly-colored pots that add color to the landscape.

What I don’t like about large pots is the amount of potting mix that I have to add to fill it up.  In large pots, my plants aren’t likely to use the soil at the bottom of my pot.  In addition, potting soil/mix is expensive and makes pots even heavier than they already are.

So, is there a solution to this problem?  What do the experts do?

They add items to the bottom of containers to fill up unused space.

 Foam packing peanuts work great for filling up the bottom of pots, but plastic containers work just as well.

To fill up unused space at the bottom of your large container, simply add plastic recyclable containers or foam packing peanuts.

How much should you fill your container?  That depends on what you plant and how deep the roots will grow.

Flowering annuals – 12 inches of soil.

Perennials – 12 – 18 inches of soil.

Shrubs – 2 ft. of soil.

Trees – 3 ft. of soil.

Clean your containers thoroughly before adding them to your pot and then put in your potting mix.  (I don’t advise doing this for growing edible plants since there can be chemicals/dyes in the containers that may be harmful if eaten).

I recently shared this helpful tip when I was asked to put on a potting demonstration.

I also shared some other helpful tips for creating beautiful container plantings and how to care for them.

I’ll share the rest of my tips with you next Tuesday!

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist, writer and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. She is the CEO and owner of 'AZ Plant Lady,' an education company that aims to help people garden successfully in the desert climate. She is the author of the book, Dry Climate Gardening, and her byline has appeared in publications such as Birds & Blooms and Phoenix Home & Garden magazine. She is an instructor at the Desert Botanical garden and Tucson Botanical Gardens.