I make the rounds in my neighborhood during the change of the seasons. This year, I picked up a 24″ wide clay flowerpot that in the store would cost nearly $75 for free. It was set out for garbage pickup. I knocked on the door and asked- the owner said to take it.
I got it home, scrubbed it clean, filled and planted a miniature fruit tree in it. It will last a good long time. It did have a crack in the side, though. A quick search of the internet revealed using silicone caulk to seal the crack. It works fine.
Over the years, I have learned more than a little about recycling. Here are some things you can do with old flowerpots. You’d be amazed how much money you’ll save.
Paint them and use on a desk. Any size of flowerpot that can handle pens, pencils, scissors and more is welcome on my desk. Paint the pot with any design you choose and store far more than the plastic tubes or squares purchased at office supply stores.
Turn interesting pots into lamps. Clean and paint the pots. Smaller pots can sit on a nightstand, while large pots can sit on the floor. Insert a painted PVC pipe and glue in place over the drain hole. Using a lamp kit, run the wire up through the bottom of the pot (you can also drill an additional hole in the side of the pot if needed), to the light socket which will be attached to the top of the pipe. Top with a lampshade. Fill the pot with silk flowers, fake moss, etc., to create a unique look.
If the pot is pretty, but too badly damaged to use again, break it up and keep the pieces. Use bits of broken colored pottery and tiles to adorn other flowerpots, say around the rims. Use general tiling techniques and grout from the local DIY store to apply the bits in a mosaic pattern, or general abstract pattern. You now have a pot others buy in exclusive stores.
Use broken bits in your other garden pots. This is well known among gardeners, but new gardeners may not have learned the secret yet. Use bits of broken clay pots to cover the drainage holes in other pots. This keeps the potting soil from running out of the pot or blocking the drainage and drowning the plant’s roots.
Use it as a centerpiece. Paint the pot bright, festive colors, fill with fruits, candies, nuts or a fake (or real) topiary and use as a table or mantel centerpiece. If the pot is cracked, just turn the crack to the backside, or paint the crack to make it look fake.
Use a cracked pot as a toad house. Toads feast on the bugs that feast on your garden. Encourage them by turning an old pot upside down and leaving a space for them to enter and leave by. Chip out an entrance, if necessary. Set it in a shady, undisturbed spot. Paint for interest, although toads don’t seem to care about decorating.
For pot drainage dishes, if the pot is gone, fill with water and use as a bird bath. Set the dish (12″ diameter or more), on the ground, patio, or set atop a stand. Make certain it can’t be tipped over if a large number of birds shows up to use it at the same time. I get a scene from Alfred Hitchcock in my yard every season- my cats love to watch from behind the patio door. The birds know the cats can’t get to them.
Make garden critters, angels and more. Check out All Free Crafts for dozens of designs you can use to turn old flowerpots into custom garden and home decorations.
Turn old clay pots into a water fountain. Click on the link at Helium for instructions on how to build a water fountain from old clay pots. Ingenious.
Make pilgrims, mummies, reindeer and more at About.com. This link has over a dozen cute crafts the whole family can participate in, using old clay pots for decorating all year long.
Instead of throwing away clay pots, hang on to them. If a friend doesn’t want theirs, snap it up. Let old clay have new life in your home and garden. Your garden and your wallet will thank you.
Source: Linette (no last name given), “Make a Recycled Toad House From an Old Clay Pot,” Home and Garden Café website, 5 April, 2010
Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects and more.