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  • Writer's pictureBecca

Cheap (Or Free!) Container Ideas

A continuation of last weeks post!

art of plants growing in converted plastic bottles
Cheap or free container ideas

Have you ever been shopping for planters and looked at the price and thought "40 freaking dollars for this tiny thing??" Yeah, me too. Don't get me wrong. If there are the coolest/cutest pots that perfectly fit your aesthetic and you've got the money then go for it. Planters that fit a look in or around your house always look good and your HOA will be less likely to complain. But if you are broke or just have a goblin garden aesthetic like me where it truly doesn't matter what your plants are in, just that you have the plants... then read this.


1. Nursery pots.

In my last post, I mentioned that you can reuse containers like sour cream containers and just poke a few holes in the bottom. I've got several plants in these recycled tubs! Check with your local hardware store like Home Depot, some have the program and some don't. I got a bunch of BIG nursery pots from my local Walmart after the last batch of plants were sold out before fall hit! Huge Score! (Seriously, you go to Home Depot to buy nursery pots, they're like $10 a piece. Not too expensive, but still adds up)

2. Cans

Regular old food cans work too! Just poke holes in the bottom and keep on either grass or a tray that you are ok with rust stains on (DO NOT PUT ON CONCRETE) What you could do is spray it with an anti-rust coat to prevent that part but if I remember right (don't quote me on this my memory isn't the best right now) Rust is actually good for plants. An Old Wives Tale, I believe. Something about keeping nails in the watering can so the water has a good iron source for the plants...

3. Buckets

Did you know you can get free buckets from a bunch of different places?? Check out a local bakery (even the ones in Walmart and such) and you can get the old food-safe buckets for either free or $1 a piece! Buckets work fantastically for your garden! Any bucket will do fine for a year but food safe ones won't start leaching chemicals after a while so be safe and stick with those.

buckets from a store with plants growing in them
Bucket garden

4. Craigslist or Facebook Free section

Just about any empty container can be reused, and these two places are the easiest to find free containers. (sometimes even cute planters!)

5. Takeout containers

These work great for germinating seeds or using as trays to catch runoff water during watering! Don't throw these away, reuse them!

6. Recycling Centers

You can go to recycling centers and see if they've gotten pots or cans delivered. Chances are they do, and chances are they'll give you them if you let them know you are reusing them for your garden! Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

7. Dumpsters

Bruh, time for some dumpster diving. Be sure to check local laws concerning it and respect any no trespassing signs. But you can score big time in dumpsters or even on the side of the road that people are throwing away!

8. Eggshells

You heard me. Instead of throwing out your eggshells, you can use the bigger half as a little seed starter container! After a while, the eggshell breaks down and provides calcium for the plant too.

9. toilet paper Rolls

Cut these babies in half and fold the bottom in. These also make perfect seed starter containers and will break down so you don't even need to take the starter out of it, just pop the whole thing in the ground.

small paint buckets turned into hanging garden
Paint buckets converted to hanging garden

10. Milk Jugs and 2 Liter Bottles

These make great containers as well. Milk jugs can be cut in half and used as mini greenhouses in the spring! Get creative and bottles can make a cool wall of planters!

And so many more ideas!! Send pics of your makeshift containers!

(The majority of these pictures are NOT mine. They are merely examples I've found of what I am talking about. If they belong to you or someone you know and you do not want them on this site please email us and we will respect your wishes)

If you still want pretty ones, check these out!

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