Using Plastic Pots

Plastic containers are cheap, light and widely available. Choose from a variety of colours and finishes, or decorate the cheapest terracotta lookalikes with paint or plaster. You can even use old bowls and buckets.

The pros and cons

  • Apart from being cheap, light and widely available plastic is impermeable.
  • Plastic’s main disadvantages are that it shows wear quickly, and because it is thin it will not keep the roots of plants as cool as some other materials.
  • A plastic container without holes can get waterlogged, so check with a meter or finger before re-watering and always line containers with clay pellets.

Decorating old pots

Using plastic pots for houseplants

If you like plants then you probably have a pile of plastic pots stored away — too good to throw out and yet not very decorative. These, and plastic window boxes and tubs, can be simply and cheaply given a new decorative finish.

Plastic can be painted, provided you first remove the glossy finish. A special pack of plastic cleaner and primer is available from car accessory shops, or

Use a leaf as a stencil. Paint the pot, stick the leaf down with double-sided tape, paint again. Remove leaf.

You can just rub down the container with wire wool. Paint in the normal way using primer, undercoat and gloss paint.

Textured paint in powdered form, or plaster filler, can be used to give a pot a rustic textured finish.

Using household plastic

An old bucket makes an excellent container for a large plant (see cover picture). Plastic washing up bowls make good indoor gardens filled with bulbs or flowering plants.

A rustic finish

Cover a pot with a thick layer of textured paint or filler, then use a wide—toothed comb to create patterns in the wet surface. When dry repeat on the inside rim.

Paint as required (here white satin-finish oil paint was used). When dry, line with plastic. Add a layer of clay pellets and stand a plant in its pot inside.

Picking out flower colour

Use a marine sponge to print a pattern on a plastic bowl. Dip sponge in paint, then dab off surplus on a piece of paper until the imprint is good, then apply.

Cut out a motif from a seed packet or wrapping paper and stick on the bowl. Both the paint and the motif can be washed off and replaced when plants are renewed.

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