By Parinatha Sampath
Just because you live in an apartment doesn’t mean you have to go without a garden. DIY container gardening provides many options for people with limited gardening space.
Planters and pots can be expensive, but here are some frugal and environmentally-friendly ways to create your own plant containers.
1. Tin Cans
Instead of throwing tin cans away, you can use them for your garden. Empty and dry your cans, and then paint them whatever color you want, or paint them to complement your existing décor’s color palette.
Once the paint dries, you can plant herbs such as parsley, basil, rosemary and mint, among others, in the cans. You may also want to paint the name of the herb on the side of the can, or write it with a permanent marker.
2. Wok & Bowl
Most kitchenware is suitable to pot plants, however, the-best looking container among them has to be a wok. Woks have handles that you can easily attach a rope to. You can then hang your wok planter from a hook or a railing on your balcony.
You could also turn your larger woks into fish bowls and grow aquatic plants in them. Some common aquatic plants are eel grass (Vallisneria), hornwort (Ceratophyllum demersum), and American Waterweed (Elodea canadensis). But beware: Many non-aquatic plants are often falsely-advertised as being aquatic in stores. These false aquatic plants will grow poorly or not at all, and die prematurely, if kept in water. Do your research.
If you want to have a container garden that's out of the ordinary, use an old car tire as a plant container. But if you don’t want a black pot, you can simply paint it another color.
You could either place the tire flat on the ground over a base of your choice, or hang it vertically off the side of your roof. If you place it horizontally, the tire can accommodate either many little plants or one big one.
If you choose to hang them on the wall or off the roof, only a portion of the tire will serve as a pot. In this case, opt for flowering plants or asparagus ferns.
You’re likely to have shoeboxes, takeout boxes, chocolate tin boxes, and gift boxes at home. Repurpose them as DIY planters!
Before using a box as a planter, reinforce it with duct tape on the bottom, along all the seams, and on the folds. Then place a plastic bag inside and fold it over the edge of the box to enclose it. We want to limit the box’s vulnerability to water, but you should poke a few holes through the bottom of the bag and the base of the box so excess water can drain away.
Since most of the other containers mentioned in this article are best suited for leafy plants, it's important to mention that you could use boxes for flowering plants, too. The drawback, though, is that boxes are best utilized outdoors, such as on a balcony, opposed to indoors.
No matter how much you try, it’s almost impossible to avoid accumulating bottles. A nice way to put them to use is by turning them into plant containers. While wide-mouth glass bottles make for pretty plant holders, plastic bottles are just as useful.
Before using a plastic bottle as a planter, cut out a rectangular hole in the side. Then, tie the ends of your bottle with a rope and hang it from your balcony railing.
You could also slice the base of the bottles and hang them upside-down to use as pots.
As you can see, even if your living space is limited, there are almost infinite possibilities when it comes gardening if you use DIY plant containers!
Images used with permission, courtesy of www.dreamstime.com, www.bigstock.com, and www.themindfulword.org