Big flower pots can eat bag after bag of soil. Soil expenses aside, your pot can also become a burden to move. What’s more, compacted soil in your pot won’t allow water to drain freely and plant growth may suffer.
But don’t worry. You can fill huge flower pots without too much trouble. What you put in the bottom of your flower pot makes all the difference.
How to fill a big flower pot step by step
Start by choosing a pot, make sure it has adequate drainage holes. Then clean your pot and line it with a plastic sheet. Once ready for filling, add light-weight filler materials to it. Consider plastic waste like milk jugs and water bottles. Next, add soil to your pot, and finally, start planting.
Take a closer look at each of these steps to fill a big flower pot.
Step 1 – Choose your pot
Start by picking your flower pot. Big pots come in a range of different shapes. Pots that taper to a very narrow bottom may limit your choice of filler materials.
Consider the material too. Ceramic and clay pots are attractive to look at but can break easily. Plastic and fibreglass planters are often more durable and they’re lightweight and easy to move.
You can find a wide selection of pots of all sizes at YouGarden.
Step 2 – Check for drainage
Next, check your pot for drainage holes. Overwatering is bad for your plants, particularly if your pot is big as the more soil it contains, the longer it takes to dry. You can read more about the importance of well-draining soil here.
If the pot doesn’t have drainage holes, you can easily drill some before you fill the pot.
Step 3 – Clean and line it
Make sure that your pot is clean. If you’re reusing an old pot, remove all past debris and dirt. A clean pot means no fear of pests, diseases, or mould.
Line your pot with a sheet of plastic or fabric. This will prevent minerals from depositing on the inner surface of your pot. What’s more, if you’re using a ceramic or clay pot, a sturdy lining will keep it from cracking in winter.
Step 4 – Add filler material
Fill the bottom half of your pot with filler materials. As well as making your big pot lighter, it will reduce your potting soil budget by half.
You can be creative and use filler materials like plastic milk jugs, water bottles, laundry detergent containers, drinks cans and take-away packaging. It’s not just practical but helps to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the environment.
You can also use polystyrene peanuts and blocks to fill your pot. Or choose organic matter like coconut fibre, mulch leaves, small branches and pinecones.
If you’re planting a large tree in a lightweight pot, make sure to add heavy filler material. For this, use broken ceramic pieces, bricks, or large rocks.
Tip: You can also separate the filler material from the soil with a piece of cheesecloth or fabric. This will keep the soil in place and prevent it from falling into your filler material.
Step 5 – Fill with soil
Now, fill your pot to the top with soil. Use soil that meets the specific needs of your plant. If you’re not sure, opt for an all-purpose potting soil. It’s pre-fertilised, rich in nutrients, and sterile.
You can also use a lightweight, soilless mix for your pot but opt for a peat-free version. These usually contain a mix of coco coir, pine bark, vermiculite, and perlite or sand.
Tip: Don’t use garden soil for your planter. It may contain pests that can harm your plants.
Step 6 – Start planting
Time to pop your plants right in. Once you have covered the plant roots with soil, firmly press the soil down around them. Water your pot and keep it in a sunny area.
You may have to change the topsoil in the pot each year and you’ll also need to check the filler material. If you’ve filled your planter with organic matter like branches and coconut fibre, you will have to replace it periodically.
What to put in the bottom of a flower pot
It’s best to put lightweight materials in the bottom of a large flower pot. It will make drainage more efficient and the pot will be much easier to move around.
You can re-use old plastic containers for this purpose or choose heavier filler materials if your tall plant is tipping over the planter. Read our list of pot filler ideas below:
Flower pot filler ideas
Fillers are great for taking up space in large pots. You can put lightweight or heavy fillers in your pot, depending on whether you want to make your pot more portable or keep it from tipping over.
Lightweight pot fillers
- Plastic containers
- Take-away boxes
- Single-use plastic bottles
- Drinks cans
- Packing peanuts
- Twigs and wood chips
- Egg cartons
- Old plastic planters
- Laundry detergent containers
- Polystyrene blocks
Heavy pot fillers
- Broken ceramic and clay pots
- Stones and gravel
- River rocks
- Wooden logs
- Breeze blocks
Filling a big flowerpot FAQs
Before filling a big flower pot, take a look at these commonly asked questions.
How can I plant a large flower pot the easy way?
Start by choosing the size and material of your flower pot. Make sure it’s sturdy and lightweight. Next, check for drainage holes. If the holes are missing, quickly drill some at the base.
Clean your pot and add fillers, like old plastic containers. You can then pour quality potting soil into the pot and finish off with plants of your choice.
How can I fill a flower pot fast?
To fill a flower pot fast, you’ll need filler material and potting soil. Take your pot and ensure it’s clean and has proper drainage. Next, add a layer of filler material to it. Opt for large plastic containers and bottles instead of smaller cans and boxes.
Large fillers will be faster and easier to arrange in your pot. Once done, pour in the soil directly from the bag. Leave a few inches from the top for planting and watering.
What are some cheap flower pot fillers?
Cheap flower pot fillers include waste materials like take-away containers, milk jugs, plastic water bottles and drinks cans.
You can also use natural materials like pinecones, twigs and wood chips to fill your flower pot, but being organic, they will decay in a year or so and need to be replaced.