The Best Cheap and Easy DIY Planters

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Whether you’re trying to bring a little bit of the outdoors in with some house plants, or spruce up your porch or patio, the planter you use can make all the difference. Choosing pre-made baskets and pots is certainly one option—but those can be pricey, and you might not be investing in long-lasting plants if you are buying some that are already in bloom. But making your own planters is easier than you might think, and it can save you money, too.

Hanging wire baskets

One option for good-looking and affordable hanging baskets is buying metal baskets and liners, potting soil, and plants that will grow well in them and flower all season long. Wire hanging baskets are a good alternative to plastic because they will resist cracking and will last for years. Getting plants for your hanging baskets is a matter of taste, although you’ll want to look for plants that can grow in the size basket you have, and that will be healthy with the amount of sun you get in the area they’ll be hanging in.

Impatients, fuschia, and begonias are all flowers that can be grown in a hanging wire basket, but there are lots of other flowers that will do well in pots. Looking for discount plants at your local garden supply can save you even more—sometimes, plants will go on the sale rack because they are visually less appealing, but giving them some water and good soil can revive them.

Macrame plant hangers

Another hanging planter option is combining a macrame hanger with a pot. For this to work, keep in mind that you’ll need a pot that’s about the right size for your hanger. This is a great solution for either indoors or out, and can be used for many years. With this style of hanging planter, you have lots of choice in color and type of pot and hanger, so you can more easily match your existing decor. Terracotta, bamboo, and resin pots come in a variety of styles, colors, and sizes, so you’re sure to find something you like.

Macrame hangers come in a wide variety, as well, or if you’re able to tie a few basic knots, you might choose to make some yourself. Macrame crafting chord or cotton twine from the hardware store are both good options for making your own pot hangers. These can be anything from a simple series of knots to intricate works of art, depending on your skill level and patience. The advantage of making your own hanger and just adding a pot is that you can choose to hang a potted plant you already have or pot a new one.

Make sure to check the weight capacity of your hanger with the weight of your basket once it’s been watered because the pot will be heavier when the soil is wet; try just picking the pot up by the hanger with your hands while it’s wet before hanging it up.

Plant stands and pots

To use planters that sit on a surface, there are a few things you can do to upgrade a thrift-store find. Using a plant stand to create levels and make watering easier is one way to add interest to a planter. If you have some mismatched pots, you can use spray paint to make them all one color, or just to add a new splash of color.

To add a pattern to a terracotta pot, you can use a paint marker and stencil to make a motif or pattern. Just stick with materials that are used on the outside of your planter, rather than the inside, so you don’t accidentally poison your plants.

Repurposed items

For interesting and inexpensive planters, you can also repurpose other objects to grow plants in. Basically any container that can hold soil can be a receptacle for plants. If you do repurpose other types of containers, you will want to make sure that the soil has drainage, though. Drilling or poking a few holes in the bottom of your container should do the trick.

For a simple item to repurpose, a colander or strainer works great. It will hold soil and already has holes for drainage. In addition, it will likely have handles that can be used to attach a hanger as well. Materials to avoid when thinking of repurposing other items for use as a planter are things that won’t hold up well to getting wet over time, like softwood or things that might contain lead paint, because that could poison you or your plants. Exercise caution with objects that have had paint applied before 1974. You also might want to avoid metal that can rust since it might break down over time if used as a planter.

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