UpCycled Pot to Planter

We meet again!

Spring cleaning is coming and we’ve all got things laying around that we simply don’t use anymore but can’t seem to part with. For me, it was the curious case of the family chili pot that met the family’s worst cook. It only took one failed attempt for me to permanently fuse burnt turkey and chill bits to the bottom. I soaked it in Bronner’s, then vinegar, then finally bleach and nothing. Turns out, I am the undisputed master of burning food.

So, since it was doomed to never make a stew in this pot again, and I refused to throw it out, I thought I’d repurpose it into a beautiful planter for the generations to come. Here is what I used to turn this blunder into a wonder.


You will need:

– however many succulents you desire –

potting mix for arid plants –

– an old pot, cake pan, or other decommissioned cooking vessel –

– potting soil for arid plants 

– a power drill and metal drill bit (1/4″ or larger) –

– not pictured – fine gravel or rocks –

– not pictured – burlap or other water permeable material – 


Stay on the lookout for deals when plant shopping, I found my succulents at my local hardware store for $1 a piece! If they look a bit banged up, (like mine did) check for firm and properly colored leaves. These are both indications of healthy succulents.

Now that you’ve found your new friends, let’s give them a new home.

First and most difficult step, flip over your pot and drill your holes. Most people skip this because they believe succulents are indestructible but it is very very VERY important for your plants in the long run. Succulents hate wet feet, so allowing for proper drainage will keep them from meeting an early doom.

holesWhen drilling through metal always….

  • make a pilot hole before you start drilling. You can do this by firmly tapping a nail into the metal with a hammer or drilling in reverse onto the surface. It just needs to be deep enough so that the point of the drill bit can sit inside. I was more successful with the reverse drilling method, because every and all attempts I made at hammering this pot were deemed hilariously useless.
  • clean away metal shavings as you go, especially if you have pets or little ones around. Just keep a couple of wet paper towels near, and stop to wipe them away as the pile up, being sure to not come into direct contact with them.
  • wear safety glasses. Like I said, metal shavings are nasty business and we don’t want those getting in your lovely eyes.
  • ask for help if you need it. If you’ve never used a drill before DO NOT START NOW. I’m pretty well versed with power tools and this was a lot more work then I anticipated. It took me over an hour to make these 5 holes. If you know someone whom you can bribe with food and succulents, have them help you.


Phew! Now that that’s all done, let start potting.

Start by cutting out a piece of fabric that is large enough cover all of the new holes you’ve created, and lay it in the bottom of the pot. This will keep your gravel from falling through and making a mess. (However, if you gravel isn’t large enough to fit through your holes then you can skip this step.)


Next, pour in a 1/2 inch layer of your gravel and place another piece of fabric over that. This is to ensure that the soil doesn’t settle between your gravel and prevent proper drainage. Remember, the key to happy succulents is all in the drainage.

gravel  Finally, pour in you soil and get to planting! I topped my soil with a thin layer of gravel just to give it a more polished look but you could leave it au natural or add some color with neon aquarium gravel. You can even use a bundt cake pan as a planter. The choice is all yours!


If you try this on your own be sure to post a photo below. Especially with the weather being so chilly all over the county, a little planting might help brighten up the icy days. Rest assured, spring is on it’s way my friends.

Happy planting!



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