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Old metal items for planters - plant ideas please

a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 951
Hi, I have rescued some old metal stuff from the husband/the scrap man, and now have a wheelbarrow (just the bucket bit) I was going to try bulbs and primula.

A watering can (no bottom, see pic)

For the can I was going to plant a small tree through it, but the hole in the top is not wide, I think the tree will outgrow it quickly.  What else could I consider? 

a dustbin, not full size about 2/3 size, see pic. I have some bamboo cuttings, it’s sasa palmata. I’m quite fond of this plant and I thought that by the time the roots burst out of the bin, it will probably have rusted through anyway. 



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,422
    I wouldn't plant anything except small perennials or similar in the can. They'd need to be in the shade too because of the metal. Even up here.  :)
    Maybe succulents would be ok though. 
    If you're putting primulas into a metal container, the same would apply - shade. They'd prefer that anyway. Bulbs [I presume you mean spring bulbs? ] would be ok too, but you'd have to be aware of the soil mix, and the whole thing heating up on hotter days, which is why a shadier spot is better, and plants that suit that. You could line it though. I've done that in the past with large metal containers if they're in a sunnier site.

    Bamboo runners are quite shallow, so that bin might be ok for it.
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,269
    I used a metal dustbin for bamboo a while back, must have been for a good 2 to 3 years if not more. It meant the bamboo was a good 2-3 ft higher than it would have been planted in the ground and successfully gave us privacy from a neighbouring new window. I bought it with us when we moved (the removal men were brilliant!) and I later split it into 4-5 chunks.
  • a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 951
    Shade is no problem! (I have moved from a south facing slope garden to a woodland garden).
    I was hoping to get more than a few years for the bamboo. Hmm. The height would be good.
    A smaller type geranium then for the watering can? 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,422
    I expect that would be fine. It's more about any greenery trailing over the edges and being against the metal, so shade is always going to be better   :)
    I'd use a decent soil in it though, because it won't be easy replacing, or adding to, the top layer, and it might be worth using something else to half fill it, rather than using all soil, unless you have plenty of spare soil to use  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,269
    @a1154, sorry, I didn't mean to mislead you, my bamboo was only in the dustbin for 2-3 years (can't remember exactly) because we then moved house. I had intended it to be a permanent home. In fact the same bamboo is now 15 years older and squashed into a tiny 3ft x 2ft concrete planter on top of our terrace on an undercroft. At least I think it is, for all I know, the bamboo roots are swinging around in the space underneath!
  • a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 951
    Ah ok, thanks Lizzie.
  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,157

    I grow annuals (lobelia, isotoma, nemesia etc) out of old watering cans and kettles …. See can on far left, barrow at the back, old walls ice cream carton back left and old kettle in the middle.  They don’t seem to mind the heat of the metal - although they do get watered every evening.  But then so do all my summer pot plants.
    The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page  - St Augustine
  • a1154a1154 Sunny South Scotland Posts: 951
    That’s really pretty.  :)
  • joanna65joanna65 Posts: 16
    @chicky that is a lovely display. I am always on the lookout for old metal containers that can be used in the garden, so far have an old fire bucket planted with ferns and primulas but it's a start. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,422
    That's good to know @chicky. I'm always aware of the fact that we don't have the same level of heat here, or for such long periods, so I tend to err on the side of caution.  :)

    My metal containers are also quite big, and I don't usually grow anything too 'floppy' in them - mainly shrubs or Phormiums - more upright plants which don't touch the metal.
    I have a spare one - I may throw caution to the winds this year and put some of my annuals in it  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

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