Wandering through the garden center, looking for pots for a container garden, it’s hard not to be drawn to the largest planters: the cast iron cauldrons, the graceful stone urns, the modern steel planters. How gorgeous they would be, spilling over with flowers and foliage, the centerpiece for other potted plants. But too often reason prevails: How in the world could you move those behemoths around your front porch or deck?
The answer doesn’t involve weight training before outdoor gardening season begins or investing in your own forklift. Here are four easy hacks that will allow you to incorporate large planters into your container garden plans.
1. Choose Lightweight Materials
Of course, cast iron and stone provide a classic look, but today, there are fiberglass and plastic pots on the market that appear identical to the more traditional materials–and at a fraction of the weight.
2. Use Packing Peanuts
Of course, even a fiberglass planter packed with soil could be too heavy to move. Solve that problem with packing peanuts, the kind that show up in shipped boxes or can be purchased from any office supply store. Fill your large pot to the half-way mark with the peanuts, cover with a single layer of landscape fabric, and top with your usual potting mix. You’ll end up with all the planting area at one-half the weight. And as an added bonus, the packing peanuts will improve the drainage of the soil above, making for plantings that are both healthier and more portable.
Pro Tip: Empty milk jugs with caps can also be used to fill an especially large space in the bottom of your planter.
3. Select a Lightweight Potting Mix
If the idea of treating your potted plants like items to be dropped at the nearest post office doesn’t appeal, you could try a lightweight potting soil mix. This is a potting mix that uses lighter materials such as peat moss, vermiculite and pearlite. Not only do these mixes reduce the weight of your larger containers, they also provide superior drainage, an important asset in all container plantings.
4. Rolling Plant Stands
Plant stands with wheels are available at garden centers, starting at bargain basement prices. Some planters come with wheels discretely built in as well. And when figuring out how to get your heavy containers rolling, think outside the box. Many a gardener has turned wheelbarrows or bicycles into mobile plant displays.
You don’t need to be a circus strongman to incorporate beautiful large planters into your container garden. With new materials on the market and your own ingenuity, you can have big pots without the headaches – and backaches – of moving them around.
Have you run across other plant troubles we can help solve? Let us know what they are in the comments below!