Planting time just starting in Minnesota,I need help!

What are some ideas for filling space at the bottom third of my tall ceramic pots to enable me to put less soil in them, prior to planting new plants in them. I.E. to make them less heavy. The pots do have draining holes in bottom. I have heard that pine cones work but I don't have access to them. What else could I use to hold the space and not interfere with growing my plants? Also, what filter mechanisms have people used so the dirt doesn't escape to the bottom. Thanks for any help.
  12 answers
  • Tea21287307 Tea21287307 on Apr 19, 2017
    empty recycled water bottles ! Works fabulous
    • Kay21670338 Kay21670338 on Apr 19, 2017
      I have successfully used empty water bottles or bubble wrap for several years. It helps to reduce the weight of the planter as a bonus.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Apr 19, 2017
    Put coffee filters in the bottom to stop soil loss. I use wine corks in mine.
  • Colleen Sturma Reynolds Colleen Sturma Reynolds on Apr 19, 2017
    I use those pesky packing peanuts, or crushed up cans
  • Judy Judy on Apr 20, 2017
    Elaine, in the bottom, (be sure there is a drainage hole) first, and then use stone, and then use wood bark, and then use good soil. Then, you can begin to plant your produce or flowers. If the pot is too large, then use some bricks first, and the proceed as I said. This will truly help you. If you use brown paper around your plant, this will help keep out the weeds, as well. Best wishes, J.
  • Ida Ida on Apr 20, 2017
    the old type packing peanuts are excellent, not the new type they melt went they get wet.
  • Mur11895127 Mur11895127 on Apr 21, 2017
    Cut pieces of nylon hosiery for bottom. Then break up old terra cotta pots, they are absorbent also.
    • Susan Susan on Apr 21, 2017
      but they make the pot HEAVY... they need a way to fill AND keep it light weight
  • Susan Susan on Apr 21, 2017
    empty bottles WITH the lids on - so they don't collapse... then cover THOSE with any fabric that will let water through but keeps dirt from washing away ( coffee filters if your pot isn't too big - you can tear them apart and layer them - or even a thin layer of newspaper will work) - then just a bit of gravel if you have room - then soil - plants and VOILA
  • Dpbeee2 Dpbeee2 on Apr 21, 2017
    I have used bricks, but styrofoam is better because it weighs nothing and make pots easier to move.
  • Lke4975764 Lke4975764 on Apr 21, 2017
    I have used styrofoam to line the bottom and sides of a large (3 ft. tall_ ceramic planter. I also took packing pellets and put them in a large heavy duty plastic garbage bag and sealed the bag and placed that in the bottom, filling the planter up about half way. Next, I took some of the landscaping cloth that prevents weeds and lined the pot. I cut some holes in the cloth so that water could drain easily though the cloth and filled the pot with potting soil to close to the rim. I found some tulip bulbs on sale in January and planted them in my pot. They are blooming right now. I will replace them with summer annuals at a later date.
  • Mur11895127 Mur11895127 on Apr 21, 2017
    I guess tall pots require a different approach. I am thinking that visiting thrift shops might work and searching for the small plastic beads, blocks ( baby toys) even old tennis balls. Anything that won't mold or smell. Layer with Sphaghum moss from floral departments so water won't just stand in the pot. I have MS, so lifting is more challenging each year. Good luck. I used broken shards for small pots.
  • Elaine Elaine on Apr 22, 2017
    I also have tall containers for my balcony - first of all, for the drainage holes, I'm in a condo and don't have easy access to stones so I tear off pieces of tin foil and scrunch them up into "balls" that fit the drainage holes. I also do that for house plants when transplanting into a larger pot. Then, to fill up the empty space (avoiding a lot of wasted soil), I save my empty yogurt containers and/or smaller plant pots no longer needed. I turn them upside down and between the gaps of the yogurt containers, I insert crumpled-up plastic garbage bags. Lastly, I then add the amount of soil I estimate the plant will need for the Summer/Fall months. Some plants have smaller root systems than others; I gauge the amount of soil accordingly. Hope this helps!
  • Bettie Bettie on Apr 22, 2017
    Try about 8 or 9 pinecones and couple of diapers turned absorbent side up.