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Cheap Plant Containers - Steps to Cheaper Container Gardening

If you love gardening, chances are you'd rather sink your dollars into plants than into plant containers.

For decades, probably centuries, gardeners have created planters out of just about anything that holds soil! In the belief that "the best things in life are free", they've cleverly encouraged their plants to grow in just about every kind of container from empty milk cartons to discarded bathtubs.

Its not that we advise you to dump all garbage in your garden and grow your plants in. Or start a vegetable garden in your old bathtub.  We do supply some tips to re-use, find alternatives and save some dollars to spend on some good structured soil, plants or trees. Especially the importance the  structure of the soil in your containers has can't be over emphasized. The good old Composting Process is a great aid here as well.

What we ourselves like a lot is playing with complementary colored containers and flowers.

Four Simple Rules to Save on Containers

By following a few simple rules, you can also persuade your plants to bloom wherever you plant them!

Sink your dollars into plants -  not containers!
  1. Plants need drainage. If your container doesn't have ready-made holes, you'll need to either make them or leave room at the bottom of your container for drainage.
  2. It's much easier to remove a plant from a perpendicular container (like an aluminum can or milk carton) than it is from one with a narrow top opening. Although containers with wide tops and narrow bottoms make repotting and transplanting easier, do remember to pay attention to the space your plant's roots need.
  3. Know what direction your plant roots will take. Some grow down; some grow out and around. Make sure your container gives your plant enough room to take root.
  4. Dark colored containers soak up heat as well as sunlight. When planting in a dark colored container, be sure to keep a frequent check on moisture levels.

If all else fails, resort to desperate measures

Milk cartons, plastic milk jugs or clear plastic beverage bottles: Saw them off with a sharp knife or scissors. Add a few drainage holes and decorate them with foil.

Buckets: Whether they're made of plastic, metal or wood– buckets and pails are roomy cheap plant containers and a good choice for most types of plants. Use five gallon or larger for large plants like hibiscus, smaller buckets for seedlings and small annuals. Include containers like small wastebaskets in this group.

Baskets: Preserve the appearance of growing baskets by purchasing inexpensive polyurethane liners. You will need to make holes in the liners for drainage. To keep basket fiber from rotting, rather than puncturing the liners, it's a good idea to cut drainage holes in a cross pattern (X), pull the triangular ends through and tape them to the outside of the basket. You can also use this same method to make a grow bag out of heavy-duty fabric like denim, canvas, or burlap.

Old Wide-Mouth Canisters and Cookie Jars: Line the bottoms of these with a layer of stones, topped with some wire mesh to allow for drainage yet keeping soil from leaching into your drainage layer.

Wire mesh or hardware cloth: Attach it to a hoop or square it off by weaving short plant stakes through the holes. Then line it with sphagnum moss to make a great hanging planter.

Ready-Made Cheap Plant Containers

Of course, not everyone is a do-it-yourselfer, but you can still find cheap plant containers in garage sale grab bags and boxes and retail clearance aisles.

Plain plastic containers and foam plant containers are also relatively inexpensive, especially at season's end sales!

Usually sold in bunches, peat pots come in several different sizes and are great for starting seeds.

Many merchants offer beginning season discounts on cheap plant containers as well since like you, they would rather see your gardening dollars invested in plants instead of containers!