Unusual Containers

From old shoes to test tubes

If youre looking for ways to add interest to your container garden, get creative with your containers. Theres no reason you have to use standard pots and window boxes almost anything that will hold soil can be a container.

When transforming something into a container for growing plants, you just need to follow a few simple guidelines:

  • Make sure you have enough room for soil. Keep in mind that small volumes of soil will dry out very quickly which can make your watering job a lot harder.
  • Avoid putting metal or dark containers in full, hot sun
  • Give the plant adequate drainage so its roots arent in water. If you cant (or dont want to) drill drainage holes in something, try using it as a cache pot rather than planting directly in it. (cache meaning a cover-up or hiding place for other pots)


Let your containers be as creative as your plant combinations. Try searching for the following unusual plant containers at flea markets or antique shops:

  • Buckets and pails
  • Pitchers and jugs
  • Watering cans
  • Coffeepots and tea kettles
  • Old file cabinets
  • Children's toys, such as a wagon, toy truck, sandpail
  • Crates or barrels (such as for pickles)
  • Old farming equipment, such as feed troughs
  • Any kind of baskets
  • A car bumper
  • Wire birdcages
  • Shoes and boots
  • Driftwood
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Dresser drawers
  • Old bathtub, sink or even an old toilet!

When you plant your creative containers with flowers and foliage, make sure you match your plants' color scheme to the color of your container. In fact, if you have an especially eye-catching container, you'd probably do best to stick to one or possibly two planting colors.

If you have flowers growing in your container garden, you may want to cut and arrange them indoors in an equally unique container. Try the following ideas for unusual flower vases (or think up your own):

  • Tins (such as those for tea)
  • Eggcups
  • Canning jars and milk bottles
  • Tin cans (can paint these in bright, bold colors)
  • Beakers or test tubes