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Here are some quick tips adapted from Easy Answers for Great Gardens to help you get started with knockout plant containers that cost more dimes than dollars.
Metal containers are all the rage this season, so why not use what you already have on hand? A large olive oil tin, an old bucket--any container will do; simply use a nail to pound out drainage holes. (If it's galvanized, pot your plants in a separate container first; zinc can kill plants.)
For added color, a local restaurant may give you giant tomato sauce tins or boxy olive tins with the artwork labels printed right on the metal surface. Use these lovely artifacts to add European atmosphere to your patio by planting them with cherry tomatoes, golden sage, and dark-leafed basil. Herbs and easy-to-grow flowers like nasturtiums are especially suited for growing in these containers since they tolerate the higher soil temperature of heat-conducting metals.
A classic-looking suitcase lined with a garbage bag or plastic tablecloth is a novel way to showcase potted plants and greenery all year long. Rather than adding soil and planting directly inside your newfound container, simply fill it with pre-planted pots. You can keep the the pots from sitting in their drainage water by placing them on saucers turned upside down. For hanging or draping plants, stack several suitcases in a tower and use them as pedestals.
Looking for more ideas? Transform a cosmetic case or decorative wicker suitcase into a table centerpiece by filling it with blooming African violets, or use it to welcome visitors with pots of tulips on a protected front porch. Even an old foot locker can be propped open, lined with plastic, and utilized as a gigantic planter box.
A wicker laundry basket makes a lovely porch planter for bulbs or summer annuals. Line any basket with a thick plastic garbage bag and then poke a knife through the slats of the wicker for easy drainage. Add potting soil, and you're ready to begin planting.
Marianne Binetti is the author of several books, including Easy Answers for Great Gardens and Perennials for Washington and Oregon. An avid horticulturalist, she shares her tips in several print publications and on TV. She lives and gardens with her family on two acres in Enumclaw, Washington.
Sent from a reader about Marianne