What can I place inside this planter in order to use less soil?

Cornelia Schott
by Cornelia Schott
This planter is 18" wide and 32" high. What do you put inside this container so you do not have to use so much soil? Empty water bottles?
  32 answers
  • Donna J Donna J on May 03, 2015
    I am in Georgia where we have lots of pine cones. They come in handy for filling up the bottoms of my hanging baskets. I think it would work well for you too.
  • Lee Cunningham Green Lee Cunningham Green on May 03, 2015
    Well you could use rocks, pebbles, marbles, glass beads, seashells, and if not of that then mulch, broken twigs, or sand all of them work, to save on the amount of soil, they also help to make the planter bottom heavy keeping the plant from tipping over. However if you are planting a longer term plant they may need that extra room for their rooting system.
  • Tracey Tracey on May 03, 2015
    I agree any type of rock for good drainage and on top of that rolled up newspapers,,,anything organic really that will decompose
  • Mari Dots Mari Dots on May 03, 2015
    Invert another pot inside it to fill up the space. If that isn't enough do any of the other suggestions also. Great ideas were posted here.
  • Capernius Capernius on May 03, 2015
    here's my take on this: #1) take a piece of screening material, like what is used in house windows. Your local hardware shop should have some scrap laying around in the back... Use that screen to cover the hole(if there is one) at the bottom of the pot. what you can use to hold it in place until you get some dirt in there, can be just about anything. #2) gravel is usually very cheap....now I'm not talking about the fancy decorative gravel, I'm talking about gravel like what is used for rebuilding roads/highways/drive ways, etc. this stuff will never win a beauty contest, but that doesn't matter because nobody is gonna see it any how. put about 1/3 of the pot with nothing but gravel. On top of that gravel, add some more screening or landscape fabric..preferably landscape fabric. this will allow the excess water to drain out, yet keep the dirt where it belongs. #3) OK, here where yo get to choose what you want to do... do you fill the rest of the pot with dirt? or do you add compost for your second layer? you're the boss, it's your pot & plant(s). Personally, I'd fill the second third of the pot with compost....OR... #4) to finish off the pot so that you can plant your Blue Ribbon begonias or whatever, you can fill this up with dirt, or mix a wee bit of dirt with a healthy dosage of compost. My vote is for mixing the dirt with the compost & filling the rest of the pot with this mixture. Doing this, you have good drainage, you have a healthy soil mixture, & if you are only putting one plant in this pot, some coffee grounds and/or 1 or 2 teabags will give a plant the boost it needs to get it settled in, in its new home. the coffee & tea bags are optional. Another thing that will help your plants to thrive, is the water that comes out of Home aquariums... I'm told that every so often, a certain amount of the aquarium's water has to be removed....why? I have no idea, I do not have an aquarium, no time & no money for one. but anyway, that water contains all the manure of the fish & other living creatures that are living in the Aquarium from where this water came.... it's kind of like fertilizing your plants without actually fertilizing them....
  • Victoria Victoria on May 03, 2015
    I use Styrofoam peanuts, they are lightweight and help with drainage. They never decompose so you can use them forever...
  • Jean Vercler Jean Vercler on May 03, 2015
    I have used empty water bottles, pop cans, even the little plastic squares the plants come in!
  • Swan Road Designs Swan Road Designs on May 03, 2015
    I, too, use styrofoam packing peanuts. One of the nice things about them is that you can pack a boatload of them into a space without adding any weight. Your pot is heavy enough on its own, then adding potting medium only makes it heavier. I'd stay away from any organic materials because they will decompose and you'll be right back where you started when that happens. I'm of the "do it once" school of thought when tackling a dilemma like this.
  • Marlene Haigh Marlene Haigh on May 03, 2015
    I used bricks to give it extra weight also
  • Kathleen Reno Kathleen Reno on May 03, 2015
    I like to add rocks for extra drainage. I had some old bricks that were broken and broke them up. It also helped getting rid of them. Recycle!
  • Heliane Ripley Heliane Ripley on May 03, 2015
    I use packing peanuts, both for making the big pots lighter to move around and for preventing soil to leak out of the water holes.
  • I use the plastic containers that the flowers come in!
    • Julie Parker Julie Parker on May 04, 2015
      Same here. Empty them, place them in the pot upside-down, then add the soil. If I don't have any at the time, I use stones. @
  • Jan Jan on May 03, 2015
    I've used water bottles, broken clay pots
  • Cathey DeRosa Cathey DeRosa on May 04, 2015
    Packing peanuts. They also help with water absorption. Read it somewhere and it works. Have had plants for a long time using them. Good luck. I would paint and stencil the planter. It has an interesting shape. Good for a Palm Tree or Scheflera.
  • Patti @Hearth and Vine Patti @Hearth and Vine on May 04, 2015
    As stated above, I have been using empty aluminum cans slightly crushed, and the plastic nursery 6 or 8 pack containers upside down for years.
  • Jan Goodin Jan Goodin on May 04, 2015
    Use an upside down plastic pot in the bottom, surround it with packing peanuts.
  • Barbara Dean Dahlbach Barbara Dean Dahlbach on May 04, 2015
    I teach many classes on container gardening, If using packing peanuts make sure they are not bio degradable and put in somekind of bag so they do not mix in with the soil when you do decide that it has to be replaced. Other Ideas to put on bottom are water bottles, cans, broken pots, rocks (which make very heavy) small milk jugs, Also cover with old t-shirt or material before putting in soil so it does not keep adjusting the soil and falling into cracks. Just make sure not to use plastic that water cannot go through. Just a short note to make sure you have some weight on the bottom so the container is not top heavy and will get blown over in the wind
  • Barbara Dean Dahlbach Barbara Dean Dahlbach on May 04, 2015
    Also you can use potting soil for more than one year if you fertilize your soil
  • Marla Marla on May 04, 2015
    Small drink bottles, with the cap put back on, layered in the bottom. Don't forget to lay a coffee filter on the bottom first - covering the drainage holes - so dirt doesn't find it's way out.
  • Dottie Mooney Dottie Mooney on May 04, 2015
    Just did this and it solved the problem....take your urn with you to the garden center and buy a more shallow pot that fits exactly and sits on the rim. Then you just plant the shallow container. I have black urns and found shallow black plastic containers. You can't even see the smaller pots.
  • Tegma Tegma on May 04, 2015
    Buy a bag of small stones at Lowes. It will not only help weigh down the pot and keep it from tipping, but it will give excellent drainage to any plants you put in the pot.
  • Sara Sara on May 04, 2015
    I use old plastic grocery bags tied in knots.
    • Jnet Jnet on May 07, 2015
      @Sara I just asked this same question, was afraid it would block the holes but if tied in knots this may not happen. Thanks
  • Elizabeth Elizabeth on May 04, 2015
    A bag of plastic peanuts (used for packing material when shipping). Fill up 2/3 of the vase with them. If you need some weight on the bottom, add a few rocks in the bottom and then fill up with the peanuts. Add your dirt and plants. I have used them for the past 2-3 years and have been very happy with the results.
  • Teresa Schroepfer Teresa Schroepfer on May 04, 2015
    I just put Styrofoam in the bottom and put a small pot that come to the top of this one and put moss around the edges so it doesn't show. It's not as heavy to move then.
  • Linda Tatom Peterson Linda Tatom Peterson on May 04, 2015
    An empty milk jug....
  • MaryAnn B MaryAnn B on May 04, 2015
    I've used all of the above. Packing peanuts are a pain when you want to change the plant. One idea is to put in the packing peanuts or other items and place some landscape fabric over them before filling with soil. this does work.
  • Betsy Steckel Betsy Steckel on May 04, 2015
    You can take an plastic flower planter from a plant purchase and turn it upside down the will reduce soil use and help with drainage. Easy to clean up when you want to use your planter again.
  • Shirley Joyner Shirley Joyner on May 05, 2015
    I use water bottles..
  • Billie Jo Brown Billie Jo Brown on May 06, 2015
    Pine ones they are biodegradable and add to the soil
  • BEV BEV on Jul 07, 2015
    Strew a single layer marble chips (come in bag & cheap)on bottom, then cut hard foam used for packing breakables to go across urn , put soil. (i have no rocks,etc)so easy just my ability& this works
  • Empty plastic bottle and/or packing peanuts.

  • Mogie Mogie on Mar 06, 2023

    I live in Oregon and use local stuff. Here pinecones litter the ground and they work great. Fill up the container nicely without adding weight.