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Plants for cast iron containers

Hi. I have inherited two cast iron containers from my husband's family which they used as planters. They were originally used to pour the molten metal from in a foundry. However there are no drainage holes and no way to make any. I have placed them near to a pergola and wondered if I could grow some climbers in them - any ideas bearing in mind the lack of drainage holes??


  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 11,336

    A welder with an oxy-acetylene cutting torch would make short work of adding drainage holes,Anne.  Google 'welding' and add your town/city name and I'm sure you'll find someone who can help.  Without drainage holes, you will have trouble growing anything other than bog plants.

    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532

    Are there any of the people still around that used them as planters before?  I'd try to find out what they grew in them.

  • debs64debs64 West Midlands, on the edge of the Black Country Posts: 4,217

    Would they suit a water feature?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,379

    I wouldn't plant directly into them, but place a pot of plants inside then, raised on a half brick or similar, and remember to empty water out after watering of heavy rain. 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,547

    what dove said and use plants suitable for 'bog' conditions (i.e. poorly drained soil).

    How big are they and what sort of shape - straight sides? If they are very large (sounds like they could be?) then a deep layer of gravel at the bottom underneath a much shallower pot-inside-the-pot would help. Getting the water out could be a challenge if they are big and heavy. Could you put them on their sides partly buried so water will not stand in them? 

    Bear in mind the metal will get hotter if it's in sun and colder in winter than other pots but also that you'll probably never have a problem with slugs or mice. I grow hostas (no slugs) and agapanthus (hot roots) in metal pots but they do have drainage.

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
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