Forum home Plants

Wooden planters for the winter

I’ve just bought these two wooden planters, look like they were barrels at some point. They are 30 inches across and 26 inches, inside measurement. They stand 9 inches off the ground, the internal depth is 6 inches. There are no drainage holes. What can I plant them with pls? I’d like alpines or bulbs but again, no drainage! Thank you 😀


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,289
    You'll need to make holes in them. Plants -and especially alpines -  won't grow without drainage. Even bog plants need drainage.
    Only pond plants can stay permanently in wet conditions, and even then, that would become stagnant. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Oh heck! Think that might be a problem as they seem very thick! Thanks 😀
  • didywdidyw East SuffolkPosts: 1,725
    They are lovely!  I have an old wooden pail that has the same problem - no drainage and because it is so old I am reluctant to drill holes in the bottom.  In fact the chap who sold it to me forbade me from doing that!  So I plant things into a plastic container and sit that inside the bucket.  I think with those shallow planters I'd put a layer of grit on the bottom, and sit smaller terracotta pots on top, with alpines for the summer and crocus, iris reticulata or something similar for spring. 
  • Thank you so much! That’s def something I can try! Love this idea 😀
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,289
    A decent spade bit and an average drill/driver will make holes in that no bother   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Thanks, I value your input as last autumn you advised me to have castors put under big raised beds. They are now easily moved around!😀
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,730
    edited October 2021
    If you go down the route of putting pots inside them without drainage holes,you will have to empty rain water out of them frequently if it does rain. As Fairy says,easy enough. You can always keep the "plugs" and silicon them back in.You could even put neat little holes round the sides at the bottom. Where did you find them?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,289
    I don't what your climate is like where you live, but here, those would be full to the brim with water by next month, so you'd be constantly removing pots and tipping them over if you're in a wet area. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Yes, they each have an inch or so in them this morning, from rain yesterday. 🥲🥲
    Think I know a guy who might be able to drill with a spade bit. I found them on Facebook marketplace and paid ten pounds for each. Did I get a bargain, or would you have left them alone?
    if I do manage to put holes in, what would you suggest for planting over the winter please?😀
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,289
    I can't comment on whether they're a bargain or not - I make all my wooden containers and raised beds.  :)
    It depends what you like. They're very shallow, so that limits you to small bulbs, sempervivums  or alpines etc. Vital to have loads of holes in the bottom for those two - they need very sharp drainage. Pulsatillas will grow there quite happily - spring flowering.

    You could add a few bits of evergreen ground cover - Saxifrages, Heucheras, Ajugas etc, and even a couple of bigger things which would only be there short term. I use divisions of Phormiums for winter containers, but they wouldn't be happy for long in such a shallow space.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

Sign In or Register to comment.