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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 Posts: 11,391

    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: 3,530

    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 Posts: 5,038

    Would they suit a water feature?

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 86,875

    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. 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,998

    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.

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
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