It’s often difficult to throw out a much-loved chair and usually, it only happens after attempts at upholstering or DIY fixes go badly wrong. When somebody sits on one of your old favourites and causes mirth by going through the seat, maybe it’s time to accept it’s destined for another purpose. Here are some fun and creative ideas for how to use an old chair as a flower pot.
1. Use the back of a chair as a trellis or a support system
Some plants need a trellis or support to clamber up and an old chair can do just that. Remove the central seat, find a flower pot that fits and get planting.
Annual ideas: try sweet peas, nasturtiums and lavender at the back, and plant herbs in front. All of these will bring pollinators, butterflies and sweet scents. Sweet peas will climb around any structure and you can guide nasturtiums to do the same.
Perennial ideas: clematis will grow well in a pot. After flowering, you can replace it with something else and put the clematis back when it returns after the winter. Prune back the growth and compost the cuttings.
2. Repurpose a chair as a young tree support
Young trees need a lot of support and protection which a chair frame can provide. Remove the chair seat, put a potted tree in the gap and place it in a sheltered area. Make sure you can remove the chair if the tree grows very large but it is such an unusual sight in a garden you may decide to keep it as part of the scenery.
Suitable trees are ones you prune annually like willow or purple hazel. The chair will help to keep the tree to a defined size and allow for easy pruning. Make sure you prune the tree hard in the autumn or the spring.
3. Upcycle a child’s high chair or a play chair
An old play chair makes a great planter and the plant it holds can easily be tended to by children. You can get little ones to help with painting the chair in a bright colour while you fill the seating area with plants.
Choose pretty annuals, tasty herbs or even tomatoes for tea-time picking. The colour will add some character in winter and you can move the chair to catch the sun in shadier gardens. In winter, add brightly coloured cyclamen or pansies.
4. Grow a moss or succulent seat
Turn an old chair into an attractive succulent planter in a few simple steps:
- Remove the old seat first. Then use some architectural fabric to make a fine gauze over the empty seat. This can be strengthened by fixing some scrap wood underneath or some twigs and string if you like. Make sure there are gaps between the twigs so you can add leaf mould, leftover soil from pots and some compost.
- This “flower seat” needs plenty of watering to encourage moss or other hardy succulents to naturalise. You can remove moss from buildings or your lawn and add it to the seat. After a few weeks, a new planter will be evident. At this stage, you can scatter poppy seeds and try your luck. Stick any extra cuttings into the moss and see if they take. Moss and grape hyacinths, crocus, snow flowers, snowflakes or ixia bulbs look very attractive.
- Once established, the rainwater should maintain the green cushion all year round. The colour is gorgeous in winter and tempting to sit on. Children will love sitting on a furry moss seat. Your cats may also take up residence!
5. Make a chair hydroponic support system.
Hydroponics allows the gardener to use water and nutrients to grow plants and you can position this in your chair. So what will bloom in your chair?
- Use the seating area of the chair as a space for the watering system.
- Place a container the size of the seating area in there, and then fill it with water and nutrients.
- You can buy supplies of nutrients from a supplier and try planting whatever takes your fancy.
- If you prefer to grow several plants in this area, just keep the planting mediums separate. Use the container to hold different glass jars with chillies, herbs, cucumbers, tomatoes or flowers.
- Make sure you put climbing plants by the back of the chair so they can use it as a support.
In winter, you may need to design a bubble wrap cover to keep frost at bay but there are hardy plants like cabbages or other brassicas, which are frost tolerant. Keep the taller ones at the back and enjoy your produce.
6. Grow a person for your chair!
A topiary shrub will happily grow through the seating area of an old chair and you can train it onto wire supports.
- To make a head and shoulders from the foliage and branches you will need to allow this masterpiece a few seasons of growth.
- Box (Buxus sempervirens) is a good choice as it is compact and grows a lot of dense foliage which can be pruned easily. You may want to plant two shrubs for different coloured foliage.
- Be artistic! You need to be handy with making the wire structure to support it. Fix supports into the wood of the chair and then prune the foliage to create the shape you’re after.
- If you want different colours for eyes, plant two pots with the same coloured flower and position them in the eye area. You can place some chives in a pot, supported on the back of the chair as edible hair.
- At night, in a shady light, this can surprise any burglars too!
Look at this chair as a planter that can hold annuals or perennials and provide you with greenery through the seasons. Once the flowering stops with one plant, you can cut it back and then move in another pot to fill the gap.