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How to Recycle Old Baskets into Container Gardens

Updated on July 8, 2020
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Author is a long time gardener and former professional. Loves to share her rescues & successes in the plant world in which she thrives.

I'm an Indoor Black Thumb Gardener... But I Can Grow Potted Outdoor Flowers!

I don't usually plant annual flowers in my garden, but I do like to showcase flowers that bloom all summer long. I've been using 2 pots on my front step for quite a while, and wanted to shake things up a bit this year. Tired of the plastic, ceramic, and concrete urns, I decided to look for something natural, warm in color, and slightly shabby. Old wicker or straw baskets fit the bill. Some are new looking or vintage old. Some baskets are decorated or painted. Most are shabby chic. All are wonderful with a profusion of blooms spilling over the edges! See below for instructions to make your own.

All images are my own taken July 2013.

Plan Where to Install Your Garden Basket - Make Sure to Plan for Optimal Conditions

Here a basket, or there a basket?
Here a basket, or there a basket?

I like annual flowers to round out my gardens since I mostly plant perennial plants, so I chose a very sunny area to best display a big pop of color. If you need ideas for drought tolerant basket ideas, click out the section just above the guest book at the end of this article to see my plans for my next project for a different, and very dry area in my yard.

Plan Your Flower Pot and Prepare the Ground for Your New Container Garden Basket

Get right down to the dirt for less watering
Get right down to the dirt for less watering

Do You Like Container Gardens?

Do you like planting container gardens?

See results

Supplies and Directions

Believe it or not, I only spent $9 for 3 of these garden baskets

The breakdown:

  • 3 baskets ~ 25-50 cents each purchased at yard sales
  • 3 grocery bags ~ I had forgotten to bring my reusable bags on the last shopping trip :( So I was looking for a way to reuse them.Ta-da! :)
  • Soil ~ leftover from last year's potted flower potsMulch ~ I scrapped from the ground under the planned project sites
  • Annuals ~ $8 in the clearance section of tired and neglected plants at my local home center. Distressed annuals, with a little consistent care, make a great comeback in a very short time.


  • Clear mulch or dig down a couple of inches to achieve contact with moist soil.
  • Water, then place basket in the hole you've cleared.(continue)

Every Garage Sale I've Been to Has Baskets for Sale

Would you use baskets for container gardens?

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Prepare Your Basket to Keep as Much of the Roots in Moist Soil As Possible

If you have to accept plastic shopping bags, this is a great use for them
If you have to accept plastic shopping bags, this is a great use for them

I reused a plastic grocery bag for moisture retention. If I was a good girl and always brought my reusable shopping bags to the store, I may have come up with something else. :) Do make sure to rip a hole in the bottom of the bag to nearly encompass the bottom so water and roots can reach to the bottom and under your garden container basket.

Layer with soil half way to top, or until plants placed on top reach within 2 inches away from rim of basket

Water well

Place plants

Fill with soil up to 1" from lip of basket

Top of with 1 inch of mulch

Water again.


Water again when finger poked 1 inch under surface feels dry. May need 1 or 2 times daily if very hot and/or dry. (continue)

The Completed Container Basket Project


In this outdoor garden pot...

Purple Petunias

Purple annual Salvia

Lavender Bacopa

Marigolds are used to contrast against the purple blooms

White Petunias are added to brighten and pop the flower colors

Plan Your Garden Colors Like I Did...

Color Wheel Gardener's Helps Gardeners Create Exciting Color Combinations. (Pkg/1)
Color Wheel Gardener's Helps Gardeners Create Exciting Color Combinations. (Pkg/1)
Instructs how to use color contrasts and complimentary colors when choosing your flower bloom hues. Don't forget to add white to enhance your color combinations. Surprisingly, this color wheel is also a hit with quilters for choosing fabric color combinations. Who would have thought? The large size seems to be a factor.

The Same Arrangement of Flowers in a Different Grapevine Adorned Wicker Container

Forgive the shot showing what appears to be a neglected Redrum Daylily, It's actually placed near a dryer vent that's not usually a problem, the problem is the ants that have nested under it. Since I won't use pesticides, I figure they'll either move on or, it will be back again next year. :)

If you are a Gardener, which do you prefer?

Perennials that come back year after year? Or Annuals that provide a season long burst of color?

See results

My Next Project for a Nearly Arid Garden Bed - A Truly Drought Tolerant Idea

My next project is to use Hens and Chicks and other succulents for a space that gets very little watering due to other plant choices and distance away from a water source. Hens and Chicks will still be in a basket, but instead of soil, I plan to fill the basket with rocks since this succulent plant doesn't require soil... at all.

© 2014 Beth Webster-Duerr

Please Sign My Flower Basket Guest Book - Anyone Can Leave a Comment, So Please Do.

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