The common or garden plant pot: fill it with potting compost, sow or plant into it, and when you're done - throw it away. But not so fast! Here are six of our favourite ways to reuse plant pots...
1. Make a Plant Halo
Tomato plants are thirsty plants. They need regular watering, which can lead to the soil becoming compacted and water running off before it’s had a chance to be absorbed. The solution? Make your own water reservoir ‘halos’.
Simply take an old plastic pot and cut off the bottom with a sharp knife or scissors. You now have your halo.
Push it halfway into the soil, then plant your tomato plant. Now when you water your tomatoes the walls of the pot will contain the water and allow it to gradually soak into the soil.
You can add more potting compost or high quality garden compost into the halo at planting time, leaving enough space to water into it. This encourages roots to grow from the buried part of the stem, which will provide more support and nutrients for the plant. This also works for some other crops in the same family, such as peppers.
You can also reuse old plastic pots to help water other thirsty plants such as squash. In this case there’s no need to cut off the bottom. Just dig a hole next to the plant for your pot reservoir. Bury the pot almost up to the rim, then fill with water. The water will gradually seep out into the root zone of the plant, right where it’s needed.
2. Use a Pot as a Planting Guide
Need to pot on a plant into a larger container? Then use an empty pot as a planting guide.
Add some potting compost to the new container. Place an empty pot the same size as the original one into the middle of the container then continue to fill around it. Remove the pot to leave a ready-made hole. Take your plant out of its old pot, tease out the roots if necessary, then plant into position. Firm it in and water it.
3. Build a Bug Hotel
Beneficial bugs such as bees and lacewings are a boon to the gardener because they pollinate our crops and eat pests. Encourage them to stick around by making a home for them out of an old pot.
Stuff the pot with a selection of bamboo cane pieces, hollow stems, twigs or corrugated cardboard then perch the hotel on its side in a sheltered position. Or, attach a hook to the pot and hang it from a branch.
4. Make a Twine Dispenser
Garden twine is very handy around the garden – but the trouble is, it’s always getting tangled up!
This idea is simple yet ingenious. Pop your ball of twine into a pot then feed the end through one of the drainage holes. Stretch duct tape over the top of the pot to stop the spool falling out. You now have a ready-to-use twine dispenser. Just pull from the bottom and cut off what you need.
5. Get Crafty
Thoroughly scrub old pots clean then leave them to dry. They’re now ready to paint or decorate.
You can paint pots using non-toxic paints to prevent tainting any crops you plan to grow in them, or add textures by gluing on materials such as burlap or hessian, rope, or cloth. You can theme your pots to suit your taste. Add shells, beads or even mosaic pieces to create a snazzy pot that’s unique to you.
6. Use a Pot as a Harvesting Trug
Large pots make a handy container for harvesting vegetables. The drainage holes at the base of the pot allow for quick and easy cleaning of your fresh produce. Just place the vegetables into the container then blast them with a jet of water to loosen and remove engrained dirt. They’re now ready for the kitchen.
Pots have a multitude of uses beyond the obvious. If you have any more ideas, let us know about it by dropping us a comment below.