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Outdoor Planter Tip + Easy Succulent Planters

Today I’m sharing my favorite outdoor planter tip and some easy succulent planters.

My Favorite Outdoor Planter Tip

What’s this groundbreaking tip, you ask? It’s filling the bottom of medium to large sized planters with things. (Click here to find out where I buy all my outdoor planters.) You can use empty plastic containers, packaging pillows, bubble wrap, Styrofoam, etc. I’m going to talk about plastic products in this post because I know most people always have used/empty plastic containers they need to recycle.

How to fill outdoor planters inexpensively

Why Fill the Bottom?

Here are the benefits of filling the bottom of your planters with used plastic products:

1. You’re saving money on potting mix because the plastic products are filling space.

2. The planter will have better drainage, which results in healthier plants.

3. Your planter will be much lighter and easier to move.

4. You’re reusing plastic products.


potting soil

empty plastic containers, packaging pillows, Styrofoam, etc.


plant(s) or flowers

slow release fertilizer (optional)

planter potting supplies

Assemble the Planter

Start by placing the plastic containers in the bottom of the planter, slightly covering the drainage hole so dirt doesn’t pour out whenever you water the planter.

Make sure there are lids on the containers. If not, turn them upside down. You can also use the plastic pots the flowers or plants come in from the store. But again, you have to turn them upside down so they don’t fill with dirt.

I try to fill up the bottom half of the planter with objects.

outdoor planter tip

Add the dirt. Make sure you press down to seal any air pockets between the containers.

outdoor planter tips

I like to shake in some time released fertilizer, which helps feed the plant over time. The fertilizer is a ‘set it and forget it’ type of thing.

dirt in white planter with time released fertilizer

Plant the plant(s) or flowers. You can use individual plants and flowers from a nursery or home improvement store to make your own plant combination, or you can use pre-made planters.

Since I was using a pre-made planter of succulents, I carefully removed it from the original container by squeezing the sides and tipping it out. I loosened the roots with my hands, and then placed it in the planter. Finally, I filled in any empty spots with potting mix.


I’ve heard some people say that their plastic containers floated to the top when the planter was heavily watered. This has never happened to me. If you have enough potting mix on top of the containers, they shouldn’t float up. I’ve also heard of people putting packing peanuts in their pots. My only advice with using packing peanuts, is to make sure they’re not the biodegradable kind that dissolves when wet. (Although I wish all packing peanuts were biodegradable.)

I used the same outdoor planter tip for this succulent hanging basket. Even though the planter isn’t huge, I still put a couple empty plastic bottles in the bottom of the it, filled it with dirt, and planted the mixed succulents in the planter.

two white planters and a hanging basket of succulents

Easy Succulent Planters

All three planter pots are from HomeGoods, and they cost less than $20 each. A few weeks ago, I shared where I buy my favorite planters and one thing you should always look for when shopping for planters.

I got both of the mixed succulents planters from Kroger. The large planter was $16.99 and the hanging basket was $12.99. And I got an awesome amount of succulents for those prices. Had I bought all the succulents individually, it would’ve cost much more and they wouldn’t be nearly as big and mature as the ones I got. This just goes to show that you should always scope out your local grocery store’s plant section. My tallest fiddle leaf fig also came from Kroger.

If you follow me on Instagram and watch my Stories, you know I’m in the midst of a succulent obsession and quickly turning into a full-blown crazy plant lady. But can you blame me? These planters will look this gorgeous throughout summer. And they’re perennials so if I can flex my green thumb and keep them alive throughout winter, I can use them again next year.

outdoor planter tip

Succulent Care

The deck gets full sun so the succulents should do great out there. Most succulents need 6+ hours of sun per day. They’re drought tolerant so they can go without water for longer periods of time. So if you have a sunny spot and forget to water plants, succulents are perfect for you. Just be careful if you get a bunch of rain in a short period of time because too much watering is bad for them, and they’ll die from root rot. When we had a ton of rain during May and June, I’d cluster my succulent planters together and cover them with a plastic drop cloth.

Check out more of my outdoor and gardening posts, like my colander flower planter!

The best outdoor planter tip

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  1. Love the planters! I never thought about adding those things to the bottom. I always use shells from the beach at the bottom for better drainage and then sometimes to the top for decoration.

  2. Patricia Schroll says:

    I love your planters and what you put in them. They are a big hit this year. Wish I had the sunlight for those planters. They are beautiful.

  3. Jennifer Robinson says:

    Great idea! I had used wiffle balls before but this is a much better idea since it uses up things you already have!! Love it!

  4. I am from the PNW I bought outdoor pots for my plants. We do not get sever winter cold/snow. But we do get off and on freezing. My pots cracked during the winter….So for me I try to find on sale pots good for freezing temps. I have purchased faux terra cotta and they look nice. If you have an area in your garden where you want a pot over plants I would recommend the larger pot. Sun Autumn Joy Shade Hosta You can add a sedum plants that cascade down. Thanks for your post Pots look great and like the idea of saving on soil !

  5. Those pots are amazing!!! What a great idea to use plastic containers in big pots – I would have never thought of that!

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