Extra large planters are an amazing accent to plant designs. However, depending on the plant varieties you want to use and their root spread, it may not be necessary to completely fill a large planter with potting soil to keep a plant happy and healthy. Potting soil in large quantities is expensive, and a large planter fully filled with dirt can be extremely heavy. To save space, weight, money, and recycle materials, consider these top tricks to fill large planters.
Proper Drainage is Key
Before putting anything into a planter, make sure it is equipped to allow for proper drainage so plants don’t suffer from excess water and root rot. If your planter is going outdoors, you’ll want to make sure the bottom of the planter has holes to allow moisture to drain.
If using an indoor planter, consider using the cache pot method to keep floors water free.
Research Your Plant
Before choosing a filler material, it would be wise to consider where the large planter pot is going to be placed. For planters that are hanging, that will be moved, or placed on railings or balconies where overall weight is an issue, light fillers are an ideal option.
For extra large planter boxes that are meant to be more permanent fixtures and secured against theft or intense weather conditions, heavy fillers are probably the best choice.
Lightweight Planter Filler Materials
Some of the easiest lightweight fillers are items you may already have on-hand.
- Plastic water and soda bottles
- Unused nursery pots
- Non-dissolvable packing peanuts
- Old pool noodles
- Clean foam take-out containers
- Styrofoam packing materials
- Aluminum soda cans
- Pine Cones
- Sticks and branches
- Recycled cardboard
Heavy Planter Filler Materials
Though some of these materials may be easily accessible, it may be necessary to purchase these items if they aren’t readily available.
- Landscaping rocks
- Broken pottery or tiles
- Large logs and branches
After filling the bottom of your planter with any of these materials, consider placing a landscaping barrier fabric between the filler and soil. This keeps the dirt and filler separate, and makes potential removal and transplants easier.
Gardening and horticultural circles offer a variety of opinions on the different materials used as tricks to fill large planters. Some say you should fill planters with soil only to give plants all the room they need for roots. Sand sometimes is said to create an unsuitable soil environment for optimal plant growth. Organic matter may break down over time and become soil rather than stay as a filler.
Carefully consider what type of plant, planter, and filler combination works best for your usage. Check with your local garden center or nursery for any concerns using these materials to fill your planters.
Ultimately, plants need light, water, and a growing medium to thrive. No matter what material you use to help fill extra space, your plants can be happy and healthy without your extra large planter being totally filled with potting soil.