I have long been so inspired by those people who can look at a discarded something and reimagine it into something special. The essence of upcycling is to see the beauty in what others term trash, and to find a way to showcase that beauty, turning it into treasure. I do not have this particular talent, but I believe it is something we can all learn to do better, for the sake of our planet. So, I challenged my Facebook group of succulent enthusiasts to come up with upcycled planters for succulents. The response was incredible! They shared so many cool upcycling ideas with clever twists on so many otherwise ordinary objects, I couldn’t wait to share them with you!
Upcycled Planters for Succulents!
The grater at the top is my own upcycled planter. It must be over 40 years old and the handle is broken. It was the inspiration for my challenge to the group when I decided rather than throwing it away, I would make it into an upcycled planter. I’ll show you step-by-step exactly how I did this. Then, let’s take a look at just some of the awesome upcycling ideas the community members shared with me.
Supplies for Upcycled Grater Planter
The details of this upcycling challenge were to take just the things you have on hand to create an upcycled planter for succulents. Sometimes, it’s the mechanics of the project that hold people up, so it was SO fun that we all shared our ideas and asked for help where we needed up. A couple of extraordinary upcycling artists were on hand for guidance. I hope you’ll be inspired to create your own upcycled planters!
To make my grater into a succulent planter, I used:
- a grater
- window screen
- hot glue
- short piece of 2×4
- succulent soil
- succulent clippers
- floral wire
- succulent cuttings
Adding Screen to Grater
What makes a grater such a natural to become an upcycled planter is alllll those holes! Amazing drainage, right? But I was concerned that the succulent soil would come out the larger cheese grating holes. So, I took some left over window screen and lined the inside of the grater. I secured the screen in place with a dab of hot glue at each corner. When I filled the grater with soil, you couldn’t ever really see the screen. Perfect!
Adding Bottom to Upcycled Planter
Now, to make a bottom for my upcycled planter, so it could hold the soil. I considered just using a terracotta catch tray. That would certainly work, but I wanted the grater to be able to be displayed on its own, once it was planted. So I decided to cut a piece of 2×4 to fit. It doesn’t seal the bottom, in fact, there are gaps on two sides. But the window screen served to block the gaps nicely.
The other issue was that the cut size of the wood was a very light color and it showed through the holes. I didn’t like that, so I used a dark wood stain on that side. Between the dark stain and the window screen, you don’t see the wood. Perfect! Now, for the fun part!
Planting the Upcycled Planter
Succulents are the perfect plants to work with for upcycled planters! I used stem cuttings from my garden for planting my grater. I wanted to make it pretty dramatic, so I used tall, straight Portulacaria afra cuttings in the back left. I inserted them into dry succulent soil. In time, they will root into position, and I expect my planted grater arrangement to thrive!
I had this beautiful Aeonium ‘Zwartkop’ cutting that I decided to use. Because it is so dark it is nearly black, it is difficult for this gorgeous succulent to show up well in an arrangement, so I decided to use bright and colorful succulents to frame it. My Sedum nussbaumerianum is in fabulous color in response to the cold of winter, and I loved including its pretty blooms. I also tucked in a few bright green Aeonium ‘Kiwi’ to fill out the arrangement.
Remember to turn your upcycled planter as you create your design, so it looks good from all angles.
I added another long stem of Portulacaria afra low and to the right, to balance the height of the branches back and left. I wound up having to wire it into place with the floral wire. I’m sorry, I didn’t get a shot of this step, but the wire doesn’t show, and in time, the Portulacaria will root into place.
Completed Upcycled Planter
What do you think? I’m pretty pleased! Don’t you think this looks so much better as an upcycled succulent planter than as an addition to a land fill? Yep, me too!
I took care to plant my grater so it would look attractive from every angle.
But this is not a DIY to show you how to make your own Grater Succulent Planter. Instead, I wanted to show you how I solved some of the issues that came up in turning a discard into an upcycled planter. What ever discarded item you use, you’ll have different challenges, but I promise you — they can be solved!
More Upcycling Ideas for Succulent Planters
Let’s take a look at just some of the awesome upcycling ideas the members of my Facebook community shared. (Why not join us? We’ll be happy to help you solve your challenges, too!)
Garden Hose Baskets
Kim Pearson has a seemingly limitless number of amazing upcycling ideas, and this one is just so cool! What would you do with a garden hose that has outlived its usefulness? Kim turns it into this crazy cool planter basket!
Door Knob and Faux Apple
I told you the group was inventive! Check out this doorknob turned into a cool, upcycled planter by Renee Ishisaka. And Maya Xavier Nathaniel turned a faux apple into a beautiful succulent planter!
Whiskey Barrel Wedding Centerpiece
When upcycling ideas lead to something so exquisite as this wedding centerpiece, it is magnificent! Patsi Parra Smith took a broken whiskey barrel and some wine glasses and created this gorgeous upcycled planter. She used the iron band from the barrel to form a handle for the planter, made from the slats of the barrel. Extraordinary!
A Wooden CD Holder
When you clear out the CDs and change your music collection over to digital, don’t throw away the CD holder! Do what Trish Swiderski did, and plant it, instead!
Sizzling Succulent Baking Dish
Pamela Walton Hicks converted her baking dish to a stylish succulent planter. If you’re worried about drainage, don’t be! You can learn to drill your own!
Upcycled Fashion is Fabulous
Sophia BP Concepcion displayed her own, fabulous fashion sense with an upcycled lumang bag and her beloved and blinged ballet shoes.
One of my favorite upcycling ideas was Nanda Groenewold’s birdcage planted with succulents. Isn’t this gorgeous?
Upcycled Bread Pans and Bread Board
On the left, Kim Pearson has created an amazing wall planter for succulents using industrial bread pans. On the right, Fulvia Curtis uses an old bread board as a handsome plaque to mount her stag horn ferns. SO clever!
Succulents Gone Wild
There is nothing Kim Pearson cannot make beautiful with succulents! Check out these awesome upcycling ideas! She turned an old garden hose into an upcycled planter. She potted up a silver tea kettle, dinosaur and a carousel from an old slide projector! And she fashioned old computer discs into a planter. SO inspirational!
Ships Ahoy with Succulents
You know that cute container that came with a gift of cookies or chocolates? You always kept it, meaning to do something with it, right? That’s why Pamela Walton Hicks saved her Ghirardelli Chocolates schooner ship until she made it fabulous with succulents!
Tea Time for Succulents
I find it fascinating that two different members had the same tin from the same flavor of tea and turned it into an upcycled planter for succulents! Monica McMillen Cooper used popsicle sticks to attach the lid to her planter on the left. Rachel Kuypers planted hers with Sedum in a color just perfect for the tin.
Festive Upcycled Cookie Tin
Vic Vasallo Villacorta of Succulent Cravings turned a pretty cookie tin into a festive succulent arrangement. I love his creative use of top dressings to compliment the tin! Vic has any number of fun upcycling ideas!
From Auto Discard to Living Art
This gorgeous piece of living art began life as a brake disc. Once it gave out, it was saved from a scrap yard or a landfill by Kim Pearson’s creativity. This is the essence of what appeals to me most about upcycling ideas. Taking a seemingly useless item and reimagining it into something magical!
Morning Cuppa Succulents
So inventive! When coffee makers quit, don’t throw them out! Make them into upcycled planters! Angee Chase turned her drip coffee maker into a multi-level succulent planter. And MaryJo Franks gave a similar treatment to her coffee brewer. Beautiful!
Where a neighbor saw just a broken lamp, Khun Anne saw a chance to create something special. She turned it into a gorgeous hanging planter for succulents!
Loaded Up with Succulents
As much as I truly love all of these upcycling ideas, there’s just something about a toy dump truck planted with succulents that always stops me mid-scroll. Once again, Kim Pearson saw an opportunity for an upcycled planter where most would see trash. I love this!
From Trash to Treasure
Even lowly soup cans become chic, upcycles planters with a bit of imagination. Fulvia Curtis plants up tin cans as small gifts. I particularly love that she sometimes leaves the lid attached. And the jaunty bow of twine really is the perfect touch.
Fine Silver Gets Daily Use
While not exactly an illustration of upcycling ideas, I do love how Melodie Diamond puts her good silver coffee service to daily use. So incredibly elegant! And her choice to use just Haworthia fasciata is so sophisticated.
Them’s the Breaks
When something breaks, it’s easy to write it off as trash. But Nanda Groenewold reimagined her broken coffee mug into an ingenious, multilevel succulent planter. And when Yixin Wang’s kitchen utensil holder cracked, she decided it would work better with succulents. (That’s pretty much my motto for everything!)
Tea Pot in Pot Planting
It seems like some of the best upcycling ideas come from breakage. When Pamela Walton Hicks’ husband broke her favorite tea set, things were tense. But she found a way to incorporate the broken pottery into a clever, upcycled planter. Beautiful!
When Prime Packaging Meets Succulents
Before you decide you have nothing you could possibly use to join in with these upcycling ideas, take a look at this. Sophia BP Concepcion turned an Amazon Prime bubble envelope into a simple, upcycled planter! She cut in a few drainage holes and filled it up with succulent soil. Clever!
Upcycled Planters from Kitchenware
I’ve always loved the look of a ewer pitcher and bowl, but never more so than when it is planted by beautiful succulents as Sharon Lewis Vella has done here. And while you might think there could be nothing so useless as a rusted out ladle with a hole in it, Kimberly Ann sees them as upcycled planters.
Upcycled Milk Jugs
Can you believe these fabulous faces were made from empty milk jugs? These fashionable ladies are from one of the most inventive upcycling ideas I have ever seen! With a bit of paint, a scarf and a pair of glasses, Linda Diaz turned trash into absolute treasure! She plans to plant trailing succulents in these fabulous upcycled planters. Wow!
Tea Pots are Perfect Upcycled Planters
For some reason, I have always loved tea pots as upcycled planters. These two really cement that feeling! Con Chie Supnet’s charming strawberry pot has a whimsical stream of Senecio String of Pearls pouring from the spout. Genius! And Kimberly Ann chose the perfect Graptosedum ‘California Sunset’ to complement her tea pot. Beautiful!
Fountain of Succulents
Some upcycling ideas are small and cute, but some go all out on a big scale. Larry Naty Dela Rosa created a stunning display when he transformed a dry, multi-tier fountain into a living work of art.
Khun Anne turned the other half of her neighbor’s discarded lamp into another upcycled planter. So handsome! And when Sophie Nguyen’s glass-topped table broke, she turned it into an awesome planter and plant stand!
Upcycled Pipe End
The last, but certainly not least entry into our list of fun upcycling ideas comes from Mindy Scott Koval. She turned this 4-inch, iron pipe end into a chic, upcycled planter! Her Aeonium Kiwi looks perfectly at home.
Wow! What do you think of these 42 upcycling ideas for succulent planters? I didn’t even use all the projects shared in our group. Now tell me, are you inspired to make your own upcycled planters? What will you use? I would love to know! Please take a moment and leave me a comment. I’ll get right back to you!
Because life is just better with succulents!
P.S. For more fun DIY projects with succulents, subscribe to The Succulent Eclectic! I’ll send you my FREE e-course, 7 Steps to Succulent Success. Thanks!