Galvanized Bucket Planter
When the weather is warm, and I can get outside to put my hands in the dirt I love having lots of plants and flowers all around me. My patio and front door must have potted plants because it makes it feel so inviting with its colours and fragrant. However, what’s up with all the outdoor pots you buy at the store being so crazy expensive? I mean, am I the only one who notices this? I know I’m not, because y’all are sitting there reading this and shaking your heads in agreement. Seriously, it’s cray-cray! So, I got to thinking about this and tried to figure out another way I could have lots of beautiful potted plants without all the crazy expensive pots. I was in Peavy Mart one day (one of those farm-based stores) and they had big galvanized buckets for like, $15-$20. Insane! Then I thought, “why couldn’t you use those as a planter?” You totally can! Why I love this idea is because it’s affordable and its got that farmhouse inspired look that’s totally in right now.
Most people are daunted by the task of picking out the right plants because there are so many to choose from so, they usually end up with whatever catches their eye, looks pretty, or plunking a bunch of the same plants together. But, don’t you want to be able to create a designer planter that you can be proud to set in front of your front door and “awe” over? I went to my favourite garden centre, Country Blooms, and wrangled a little help from Eric who is the plant guru out there. He’s absolutely amazing in his knowledge of plants both in how to care for and how to arrange them beautifully. I wanted him to share his expertise with you so that you can go and confidently create your own beautiful planters and you can say, “Oh, yeah! I got this!”
He explained that you want to look for something that’s taller for the centre of the planter then plants that will be a filler, and then of course plants that will drape over the edge. He did a three and three combo of each. This will give you multi layers within the bucket, so your eye is drawn all over rather than just in one place. As far as textures, you always want to have some variety, so we went with a beautiful grass and then different varieties of succulents which are popular right now. Succulents are a great plant to work with because they are easy to take care of making it a great plant for a beginner gardener. They don’t require a lot of water and can tolerate drying out because they hold water within their own leaves that they draw from when they need it; but, take care not to totally dry them out as they do like a little bit of water. If you do forget to water them for a few days, they are still going to love you. The colours you choose shouldn’t be all matchy, matchy; but, rather have hints from the same colour family. You can see on the plants he chose that they all have a slight pinky tone to them and similar elements that will pull them all together in unity.
Before you start filling the bucket with soil, make sure that you drill a few holes in the bottom to help with drainage so you don’t end up getting stagnant water in the bottom which can create root rot.
The grass, like Eric mentioned, goes in the centre. To remove the plant from it’s container, grasp it at it’s base with your thumb and finger, invert the container and give it a few gentle squeezes to loosen it out, then carefully pull the container off. Never pull the plant straight out of the container, that’s like getting your hair pulled by someone and no one likes that feeling, not even sweet little plants! You should be looking for a nice white and healthy root system like this one has. If the roots are bound, just loosen them up a bit before planting them.
Dig yourself a nice little hole in the soil. Place the plant in the hole, then push the dirt up around it and give it a couple firm presses into the soil. This helps get rid of any air trapped when the plant was placed in that can actually dry out the roots. Be careful as you are pressing not to compact the soil too hard around the plant that it can’t get any aeration; all you want is root to soil contact.
Next, Eric plants the filler plants working in thirds around the bucket planting the same way as the grass. Occasionally, he will bang the sides of the pot after placing a plant. He says this has just become a habit for his when he plants as this also helps settle the soil, levels it out, and removes any trapped air.
Finally, the draping plants go in the bucket, again, working in thirds.
We did have a couple of the succulent stems break off as we were working with them; but, the cool thing Eric says is when this happens you pluck those into the dirt as well and they will eventually grow roots and propagate. Love that!
To keep a reminder of the plants you have, you can stick their tags into the soil beside them, way down low. Just don’t be tacky and let them hang out too far, just daintily hidden away!
For watering care of succulents, always water around the plants into the soil. Watering over the plants can leave water pooled into the leaves and create rot which will ruin the plant; but you don’t need to water too often, actually the less the better. Every 2-3 days should do it. To know if it needs watering, stick your finger into the soil up to your knuckle, if it feels moist (I know we hate that word!) then you are ok. If it feels dry, then give it some water.
Sadly, every summer will come to an end, but you can still enjoy your planter indoors during the winter as you care for it till warm weather returns. Just check it for insects first before bringing it indoors and keep it placed in a south/southwest window of the house so it can still get lots of sunshine and heat. Also, you water a whole lot less indoors, I’m talking like, probably only once a month. Which means you don’t need a plant sitter while you are heading to a sunny south destination escaping winter weather.
I admit, the plants Eric chose for this bucket I would have never chosen on my own but after seeing them all together and seeing the vision though his eyes, he was spot on! That’s why he is the master plant guru! Thank you Eric and Country Blooms for helping us all have a little more knowledge and understanding of how to choose and properly plant the right plants to create the perfect planter to enjoy all summer long, and then some!