DON'T THROW OUT THOSE BROKEN POTS!

Re-use your broken ceramic pots and create a one of a kind planter for your garden.  It's a fun and inexpensive project that'll leave you with a unique creation, (and some boasting rights, too!).

Above is my BROKEN POT PLANTER which is also often referred to as a FAIRY GARDEN  PLANTER.  They've become quite trendy and I've seen quite a few versions on the web lately, so I thought I'd give it a try and document it. To my surprise, I found the project VERY enjoyable, and have fallen in love with my creation!

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:  A broken ceramic pot, (or 2 or 3), some potting soil, gardening gloves, a place to make a mess, and a hose so you can 'clean as you go'. You can use whatever type of plants you like, but keep in mind how they'll eventually grow in the environment you're creating for them.

If you happen to have a little old lady pug dog around, that would be helpful too, (or at least tell her she's helping...she'll like that!)  ; )

I started by adding a bit of soil to the pot, then just arranging a few pieces into it. If you're like me, (and you probably will be), you'll have absolutely NO IDEA what you're doing!  That's OK, this will be a trial and error process.

Obviously, we want to make different layers in the planter. Lower in the front, and gradually increasing in height as we work towards the back of the pot.

I found a good way of doing this was to make "steps" going up along one side, while creating a larger "wall" along the other side. Your personal variations on this method are certainly encouraged...

Put in a step, then add in some soil behind it.  Add another step, and do the same, gradually building the height as you work your way towards the back side of the planter.

Having a hose nearby is helpful, as you can keep moistening the soil as you build. This helps you to see where the actual level of the dirt is, and also how it will settle once planted and watered later.

So I worked and worked on these "steps", then realized that I had placed them too close together. Remember, you're going to have to actually have room to plant things in there! Then I saw on the other side that I had this big gaping hole where the dirt would flow out of...

OK, time for a radical re-design! Let's stuff this piece in here, and move that piece over there.  Let's make those stairs a bit more spaced for easier planting.

Oh yes, that's MUCH better! The dirt will now stay in place during future watering. Oh yeah, I stuck my finger in this picture as a reminder that I cut myself. YOU should probably be wearing gardening gloves while doing this project!

So finally, after much experimentation, I have come to the point where I am ready to start planting. As you can see in the above picture, I have all my layers working towards the back, and the dirt seems to settle nicely when I dampen it.  Apparently I also wanted you to see how furry my leg is.....you're welcome!

For my planter I decided to use some plants I already had growing in the garden. I used some sedums and hens & chicks.  I'm hoping to get a few seasons out of this planter, as well as leave it outside during the winter, so these plants work best for me. What you use will of course depend on what you want.

I don't think there is any right or wrong way to add your plants. I started at the top, as I had a large clump to put in there, then just added some here, and some there until it 'felt right' to me.

I didn't want to over crowd the planter, as eventually the hens & chicks will spread and fill in any vacant spaces. I will thin out the sedums as required as the planter matures.

TA-DA!  It looks even better once the mess around it has been cleaned up!

And here's a closer look from the top, and from the side.

And below is the pot one week after planting, as the plants adjust to their new home. I can't wait to see this planter in a few months once things really begin to take off! The hens & chicks I used will totally fill the pot up, and perhaps even 'flow' a bit over the sides. I will post another photo here once the planter matures.

As mentioned previously on this page, there are AMAZING variations to this theme. Below is a succulent planter someone made from a broken pot, and it appears they used driftwood to make the layers. GORGEOUS!

Here's another succulent planter, with moss and a fox tail fern in the back for height. The houses and gnome are a great addition to this "fairy planter"!

And finally, here's a broken pot planter made with tropical plants...it's STUNNING!  : D

So don't throw out those broken ceramic pots. Save them for a future fun project that's guaranteed to bring you much satisfaction, while also taking away your sadness at losing that planter that you loved so much! You can bring it back from the dead, and give it an exciting NEW LIFE!