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Succulent plants are some of the easiest plants to grow. And they look pretty good too. They also grow almost anywhere, which makes them great for some creative and attractive upcycle projects.
This is our list of quirky upcycled succulent planter ideas. We’ve gathered some creative ideas for unique succulent planters that won’t cost lots of money as you’ll be using your unwanted junk to make them.
All great DIY Projects to repurpose your ‘stuff’! We’ve got cute planter ideas for small succulents as well as larger plants – Enjoy!
This post was originally published in 2019 and was updated in 2021.
The Importance of Good Drainage for your Planters
Whichever type of planter you choose for your beautiful succulents you need to be mindful of drainage.
Drilling Drainage Holes
For larger succulents its a good idea to think about if the creative container you are planning on using in your upcycle project can easily have drainage holes drilled (or poked) into it.
2 or 3 holes will be sufficient.
Things like boots, tins and pots can usually have drainage holes added fairly easily if you have a drill to hand.
Rocks & Pebbles for Drainage
Clearly however, something like a mason jar, ceramic or any version of concrete planter is going to be much harder to add an actual drainage hole to…but that doesn’t mean you can’t use them.
For containers and pots that can’t be drilled into – because they would break if you did – you can still add drainage by lining the bottom of your container with small pebbles or rocks. Use containers like these for succulents that you don’t water often. What moisture does need to drain off will go down through the pebbles and gather at the bottom.
Depending on the container and the size of your succulents you might consider repotting every so often to ensure excess moisture isn’t building up in the base of your planter.
Natural Drainage Holes
Some upcycled planters will have what I am calling ‘natural’ drainage holes. So for example an old shoe or welly boot that got a hole in the sole and that is why it is being considered for repurposing as a unique planter.
Another example would be wall planters made from pallets or planters made from tires. There are already drainage holes and gaps in planters like these to let any water escape.
For small succulent pots that have holes in the bottom many people like to use a drainage tray. This can be a bamboo tray (see below), a plastic tray or a larger shallow ceramic tray.
Drainage trays can be used on their own with pebbles and stones to make a small table top succulent garden or they can be used as the base for a collection of different sizes of small planters or little succulent pots.
Planter Ideas for Smaller Succulents
With some fast draining potting soil and a a few pebbles to provide some drainage you can plant a succulent in any old mug, teacup or jug that might otherwise find its way to the thrift shop.
Mugs, old soup bowls or small ceramic pots can make a cute succulent pot.
Suddenly that not so attractive mug looks super trendy.
If you can use a ceramic planter that has a drainage hole in it (like a repurposed toothbrush mug for example!) or you are confident about drilling holes in ceramic then a good tip for a set of mini pots is to place them on a bamboo tray (sometimes called a bamboo saucer) to act as a drainage tray.
These kind of mini arrangements also make the perfect home decor touch for shelves & countertops.
Picture Frame Planters
This is an easy diy project for making a succulent garden with lots of little succulent plants hung vertically just like a picture.
These picture frame planters are a great idea to use as a wall planter in small spaces like a balcony, small patio or small urban garden where you don’t have ground level planting space.
You will need chicken wire and a backing board to keep the potting soil in place and it is best to let your succulents establish horizontally before you attempt to hang this but it really doesn’t take that much more effort than planting in a raised bed and the effect is much more dramatic.
DIY Geometric Design Planter
We love this DIY idea of using straws and wire to create an Upcycled version of the popular Himmeli hanging planters (you know the geometric hexagonal planter things! – usually they are gold or copper in colour). This one can actually be a hanging planter or a table top planter.
You can find the How to Guide from Crafty Girl Life Hacks here.
Kid’s Toy Planters
Kids grown out of their old toys?
Are you a sentimental so and so who can’t even part with them to pass them on to another child?
Well why not Upcycle them and keep them in your garden so you and your children can point at them and remark – do you remember when we got you that one? You were so excited! Plus this idea will add a spot of colour and whimsy to your garden.
Be prepared that if you plant these outside rather than inside they will likely rust and grow faded over time, so if you really are very sentimentally attached to your old toys I suggest keeping this idea for some inside planting.
Tin Can Planters
This isn’t an original idea at all, but its still a good one. We all have more tin cans than we know what to do with.
Obviously they can be recycled but recycling isn’t environmentally neutral either, so if we can why not reuse them?
These examples involve different ways you can dress up your tin can succulent planters using other old bits and bobs you might have lying around form left over paint to bits of fabric, lace or ribbon.
Spray paint them in different colors to match your home decor or garden decorating theme.
You could also try decoupaging your cans with newspaper, old magazines, or napkins.
Tin can’s are also relatively easy to poke a whole in for drainage so this is an easy beginners project or one to do with the kids (the decorating and planting bit – not the skewering a hole bit!).
You’ll find even more tin can planter ideas in this post.
Unique Planter Ideas for Larger Succulents
Boots &….Roller Skate Planters!
We’ve all seen old boots as planters, a Roller Skate, an Ice Skate or a pair of ballet shoes would make an original take on this classic succulent planter.
Seriously though, old boots, shoes and similar often already have drainage (a hole in the bottom of your shoe?) and if they don’t they are a much easier material to poke a whole in than something hard or ceramic.
A fabulous beginners project.
Check out our quick how to Guide for making your own boot planter that has been updated to include an option to make a four in one stabilised (and fox proof! – don’t ask!) planter.
With some chicken wire and patience small succulents can be grown vertically and on pretty much anything.
This home in Edinburgh, Scotland has a living lounge set up outside the front door with succulents growing out of a wingback chair, a vintage lampshade and teapot and of course the classic pair of boots! Imagine how fab this chair will look when the succulents have spread all over it!.
I’ve not managed anything on quite this scale but I have done two chair planters of my own and you can find the tutorial here.
Anything Goes Typewriter Planter
Lets face it not many people use typewriters anymore.
If you have one kicking about from back in the day you could try to revive the art of a typewritten letter, but our guess is you’ll get fed up with the stuck keys and mis-types requiring tipex (white out) before you’ve finished your first epistle.
We love this cute idea to make a feature out of a forgotten bit of technology.
Even better would be to remove all or some of the keys and put a base underneath the typewriter for more potting soil so you can have succulents growing out in between the keys (or remove them completely and use the keys themselves for another project!).
Petrol Can Planter
I like this idea because it almost looks like the plants are taking over and ‘winning’ in the war against pollution causing automobiles.
If your petrol can has truly seen better days it might have a rusty hole at the bottom to provide the needed drainage, if not you can use a drill with a special bit for use on metal to create one.
In this example a side of the can has been cut out, it really depends on how old and battered your can is as to how much playing about you will have to do to provide enough space for your succulents.
This idea would sit nicely with the Kid’s Trucks idea above – maybe a succulent garden outside a mechanics garage – planting some greenery as reparations?
Make it your own!
In truth you can repurpose almost anything into a cute succulent planter. Make it fun and see how many creative containers you can make out of the junk lying around your garage or cupboards.
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