How to Plant Stacked Containers

Source

Bet you won't make just one!

Stacked containers are an easy, space-saving and cost-efficient method for creating gorgeous mixed flower pots perfect for small patios, balconies, kitchens and entryways.

Stacking gives your old containers a whole new look. And stacked containers can be less expensive and lighter weight than conventional planters, requiring fewer plants and less potting soil —if you make them the way I do.

Why not make a stacked pot container garden for your home?

Let's get started!

Source

A wheelbarrow of fun.

Here's what you'll need to make a stacked pot.

2-3 pots in ascending sizes, each with drainage holes*

2-3 clean plastic nursery pots to fit inside them

Assorted plants, including 1 tall thriller, 3 bushy fillers and 3 or more trailing spillers

Potting soil

Water

*Plastic or ceramic containers, which retain water best, work well for full-sun annuals. For plants that need well-drained soil, such as herbs, try clay pots.

Warning: This is going to be messy.

THE FIRST TIER

Source

Make a sturdy base.

Place an upside down plastic nursery pot in the largest container, pour potting soil around it and moisten the soil. The plastic pot should feel sturdy in the pot and rest level.

That's it! You're ready to build the next level of your stacked container.

THE SECOND TIER

Source

Are your hands dirty yet?

Next, place the second largest pot on the upturned nursery pot. Make sure it's stable and that the drainage holes line up. Then put an upside down plastic pot inside pot #2. Pour potting soil around it and add a bit of water.

A COMPLETED TWO-TIERED STACKED CONTAINER GARDEN

At one & three weeks old.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A two-tier pot at one week old. As the flowers grow, the inner pot will become completely obscured.The same pot two weeks later. Much better!
A two-tier pot at one week old. As the flowers grow, the inner pot will become completely obscured.
A two-tier pot at one week old. As the flowers grow, the inner pot will become completely obscured. | Source
The same pot two weeks later. Much better!
The same pot two weeks later. Much better! | Source

When making stacked pots, you can buy matching containers of various sizes or just use what you have.

Over time, inner pots like the navy blue one pictured right become obscured by plants.

Created for a sunny corner, this budget-friendly two-tiered stacked pot contains just six plants: a Martha Washington geranium thriller, Dusty Miller fillers and snowdrop spillers.

To keep costs down, plants are located on the front side only, and the thriller is planted against the back of the top pot.

THE (OPTIONAL) THIRD TIER

Source

Do you like the look of stacked containers?

See results without voting

One more time with feeling.

If you want to make a three-stack pot, place a small pot on top of the second planter's inner plastic pot. Again, make sure it's stable and that the drainage holes are aligned.

Finally, place an upside down plastic pot inside the third tier, pour potting mix around it and add water.

Whew! Now all of the tiers are in place, you're ready to plant!

A 3-Tier Stacked Pot Instructional Video: White Garden

Because my stacked container sits in a corner, I placed plants in the first & second tiers in the front only.
Because my stacked container sits in a corner, I placed plants in the first & second tiers in the front only. | Source

I like fillers (bushy plants) and spillers (trailing plants) in the first tier and second tier of a three-tier stacked container, reserving the thriller (the tall, striking plant) for the top pot.

A freshly planted 3-tier stacked container. Ta-da!
A freshly planted 3-tier stacked container. Ta-da! | Source

PLANTING TIME

Thrillers, spiller & fillers

Begin adding plants to the first layer first, and don't be afraid to manhandle the roots a bit. You're going to have to in order to cram—er, plant them in the bottom planter. You'll have to add more soil too.

After planting the bottom pot, you'll probably have to adjust the pot at the second level. (Things tend to shift a bit as you're "cramming.") Keep going, cramming in plants, adding more soil and adjusting the pots, until you've used all of your plants.

Be sure to leave a small unplanted area in the top pot to serve as a watering spot, allowing you to water your entire stacked container from the top.

The completed stacked pot pictured right is for full sun and contains two kinds of spillers: Verbena 'Homestead Purple' and Stonecrop 'Blue Spruce.'

Verbena is a fast grower that's often used as a ground cover in rock gardens. Stonecrop is a silvery creeper that's drought tolerant.

The filler is evening primrose, Oenothera siskiyou 'Pink.' It's another fast grower. And according to the University of Kentucky's Horticultural Department and a lady who saw it in my shopping cart at Wal-Mart, it can be quite invasive if placed in a bed without a collar around it (and perhaps a leash).

For the thriller, the tallest plant in the container, I chose the container gardener's old standby, Dracaena.

You, of course, may choose whatever plants you like. Just make sure that they share the same light and water requirements so that everybody in the pot grows together happily throughout the season.

FLOWER POT FRIENDS

Companions for toads, garden gnomes, small children & gardeners

Hang them from a tree. Set them on a log, bench, fence or step. Or, prop them next to container gardens. They're even cute in flower beds. And they age well, too, developing the charming patina for which clay pots are known.

Source

About the Author

The Dirt Farmer has been an active gardener for over 30 years.

She first began gardening as a child alongside her grandfather on her parents' farm.

Today, The Dirt Farmer gardens at home, volunteers at community gardens and continues to learn about gardening through the MD Master Gardener program.

© 2013 Jill

More by this Author


Comments 25 comments

The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Rebecca! Thanks for stopping by. Since you love container gardening, you'll have to give stacked pots a try. They're sort of fun to make & a little different from the same old same old. Take care, Jill


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

This is just awesome, DF. I love container gardening. I like the stacked pots idea. How novel. a new one on me. Love it!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Sharkye11! Glad you stopped by, and thanks for sharing this hub. Absolutely don't buy a kit. One of the big advantages of stacked containers is that you can use what you have in a unique way. Thanks again for reading! Take care, Jill


Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 3 years ago from Oklahoma

Love this! I've seen stacked planters, but wasn't really sure how to do it without buying the expensive pre-made variety. This is a great tutorial! Voting, sharing and more!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Have fun, Glimmer Twin Fan! Stacked pots really do look nice.


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 3 years ago

This is an awesome idea. I have put plastic pots in my large deck containers, but that was only so I did not have to put so much dirt in the planter. I have just the corner for it! Shared.etc...


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

You'll do fine, Patricia. Just don't drop a pot on your foot! (I speak from bitter experience.) Hope you have a great weekend, too. Take care, Jill


pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

How cool is this. I will be making some of these for my yard. I have bookmarked these to look at to avoid a fiasco. The photos and clear directions help greatly

Sending Angels your way Have a lovely weekend :) ps


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Marina7. I like that pot, too. The color is so vivid, and white plants really look good in it. Thanks so much for commenting. All the best, Jill


Marina7 profile image

Marina7 3 years ago from Clarksville TN

I like the first one in the big blue pot the best. Thank you very much. Excellent hub!!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hey Deb. I don't fill up any pot completely w/soil anymore. Now I'm into using pinecones--but not for stacked containers. I think they'd probably tip over! Nice to hear from you. --Jill


aviannovice profile image

aviannovice 3 years ago from Stillwater, OK

Absolutely fabulous! And to think that I was wasting all that dirt for no reason.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hope stacking works for you, Donna. Be sure to plant the containers where you intend for them stay. They can be really heavy, even when the potting mix is cut in half. Take care, Jill


donnah75 profile image

donnah75 3 years ago from Upstate New York

I love this idea also. I need some space saving, dramatic ideas for my apartment patio garden, and this could be the winner. Thanks!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Maren! Hope you're enjoying spring! It's starting to get pretty here, although it's still a bit chilly, especially in the mornings. Take care, Jill


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Good stuff, as usual!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Awesome, Randy! Bet you can make really beautiful, lush stacked gardens there. Take care, Jill


Randy M. profile image

Randy M. 3 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica

I will try this and see what comes of it. It will be interesting to find out what combination of plants would work where I live. Thanks for the idea!


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Hi Carol! You could do some lovely drought-tolerant stacked pots there in Arizona. This year I think I'm going to do at least one in all white flowers so they'll "glow" in the garden at night. Thanks for commenting & sharing. Appreciate it. --Jill


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 3 years ago from Arizona

I am always inspired to get into the dirt when reading one of your hubs. We have such a dry climate and bad soil..However I do want my backyard to look pretty..Love this idea as with all your writing. Voting up and pinning.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Thanks, Suzie HQ! Making them is a lot of fun--a little something different, you know, just for a change. Glad you stopped by!

Hi ytsenoh-- Sounds like a nice weekend project. You're inspiring me to get out there, too, if the weather holds. Thanks for commenting & for your kind words. Take care, Jill


ytsenoh profile image

ytsenoh 3 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

Excellent. We were just talking about this over the weekend. As usual, you do such a fantastic job in sharing, explaining and helping through the instructions. Very nice.


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi Jill,

Love the tiered look you showed. i am a big fan of this type of planting and agree with you in the choices of plants in each tier. I love trailing plants at the lower levels and a nice stunner on the top! Looking forward to planting up this idea, voted up, useful, interesting and shared.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 3 years ago from United States Author

Thank you for sharing! It's just about time to start making up our spring containers. I'd like to add a few more stacked pots and get much better pics. Take it easy. -- Jill


purl3agony profile image

purl3agony 3 years ago from USA

I love how these stacked containers look. Pinning now :) Thanks for sharing!!

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working