Cheap, Creative Plant Containers: 25 Ideas

Whether you want an original gift idea or just an unusual way to display a plant in your home, these creative plant containers are not just cheap – they’re also fun. Regular pots seem boring when compared to these reconceived ordinary objects. These creative plant containers include many items you may already have lying around an attic, garage, or cupboard, while others can be cheaply procured at a thrift store.

When using nonstandard containers for plants, remember to pay attention to drainage issues, as well as potentially harmful substances (i.e. residue from cleaning supplies). With good cleaning and a liner or other modifications, you can make these creative plant containers work for you.

Idea #1: Flour or Sugar Sack. After their contents have been exhausted, small flour and sugar sacks can make creative plant containers. They’re remarkably sturdy and add a beat-up pragmatic look to a kitchen counter.

Idea #2: Mailbox. Take an old school mailbox and turn it on its side to fashion a creative plant container. Great for both indoor and outdoor placement, mailboxes possess a distinct, almost artful shape.

Idea #3: Metal Garbage Pail. Oscar the Grouch isn’t the only thing that can inhabit a garbage can. These old school trash receptacles will lend a rustic urban charm and sturdiness to a small tree.

Idea #4: Boot. From a Dutch wooden shoe to an old leather boot, you can modify some footwear to make funky, creative plant containers.

Idea #5: Aquarium. Have an old aquarium that needs a second lease on life? Fill it with dirt, repot some greenery, and let the transparent sides give a new look – greenery in glass.

Idea #6: Old Dresser Drawer. If you’re discarding a desk or dresser, keep a drawer before you kick the whole thing to the curb. Sitting atop a table and filled with flowers, the idea of a drawer-turned-garden shows how a deconstructed object can be used for kitsch practicality.

Idea #7: Chinese Food Cartons. Perfect for starter plants given as gifts, Chinese food cartons can be wiped out and transformed into creative plant containers. They’ve got handles and a tell-tale shape. For extra cuteness, try growing a plant of Chinese origin!

Idea #8: Coffee Percolator. It seems like every thrift store has an old coffee percolator on its appliance shelves. Turn it into a creative plant container for a kitschy kitchen counter.

Idea #9: Produce Basket. Visit any farmer’s market, and you can buy produce in light, airy baskets. Find one that won’t spill too much soil, and use it as a creative plant container. You may want to insert a plastic tray inside the basket or wrap the bottom and sides in colorful cellophane paper.

Idea #10: Old Wooden Chest. This may not count as the cheapest idea unless you already own one, but a wooden chest can cradle a hearty garden both indoors and outdoors. Keep the top flipped open and plant an array of green treasures.

Idea #11: Crockery. Whether you find them in an attic or at a thrift store, old crocks come in a variety of sizes and make fun alternatives to regular flowerpots. Old kitchen counter crocks labeled “salt” or “sugar” are especially charming as creative plant containers.

Idea #12: Lunch Pail. As some old lunchboxes have become collector’s items, the once ubiquitous food-toters are making a comeback as creative plant containers. The best ones, of course, are plastered with old cartoon characters like Snoopy and Garfield.

Idea #13: Liquor Crates. While you may need to line the inside to contain the soil, a liquor crate can make for a conversation-starting plant container.

Idea #14: Paper Coffee Cups. Do you buy $3 lattes every morning? Whether you visit Starbucks or a local coffeehouse, save the paper cups and use them as cheap starters for plants.

Idea #15: Teapot. Select a teapot (not a kettle) and remove the top. This is an especially nifty place to grow something like a peppermint plant – or any herb that can be turned into tisane.

Idea #16: Watering Can. For a sprinkle of irony, find a metal (or attractive plastic) watering can with a decently-sized opening on top, and use it as a creative plant container. A spider plant will grow fast enough that you can wrap the ever-expanding greenery around the handle.

Idea #17: Toolbox or Tacklebox. Both of these flip-top containers can be added to a garden or window as creative plant containers. It’s yet another flip-top idea.

Idea #18: Light Fixture on a Plate. Some glass light globes, if they sit stably on a plate, can be filled with dirt and a plant of your choice, allowing you to brighten a room with a different kind of energy!

Idea #19: Old Canvas Bag. Puff out an old bag, fill it with dirt to firmness, and place a plant in this makeshift “pot.”
While it’s not as sturdy as some creative plant containers, it’ll do just fine if you leave it alone on a table. Or better yet, use the strap to make an original plant hanger.

Idea #20: Coffee or Peanut Cans. These cans are usually made of metal or some kind of reinforced/treated paper. Besides being cheap, they drain well: just use a sharp object to poke a few holes in the bottom of the can.

Idea #21: Milk Cartons. On their own, standard milk cartons might not look appealing, but if you collect a lot of them and place them side-by-side, the repetition creates a cool, offbeat look. And you can’t get much cheaper!

Idea #22: Tire. There several options for cutting a tire open and filling it flowers or other plants. This is a great way to recycle a flat tire that would otherwise head to a dump.

Idea #23: Old Sink. Talk about built-in drainage! When well-placed with a bold sense of style, the ultimate “everyday object” can become an artful plaint container.

Idea #24: Baseball Cap. The plastic hardhat-style batting cap, when turned on its own head, can be filled with soil and a plant. While you may need to futz with placement to keep it stable, it’s a worthwhile gift idea for a fan of America’s favorite pasttime.

Idea #25: Ice Cream Tub. Rinse out an ice cream tub and use it for a cheap plant container. I’m sure Ben and Jerry would both approve, being the quasi-hippies they are.

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