Photo by Melody

Creating a "Trash to Treasure" Many Holed Coleus Cutting Planter

By Janet Colvin (UniQueTreasuresJune 26, 2008

Yeah, I'm cheap. What can I say? When I read about this cool idea of side planting in special pots, I just knew I was going to have to have me one of these incredible planters. I received some wonderful coleus cuttings in the mail from a special Dave's Garden friend and I needed to plant them soon. Let me show you how I created my very own side planter from things I had around the house.

Gardening picture
How to Create a
"Trash to Treasure"
Many Holed Coleus Cutting Planter

One of my friends, Phughes, from the Coleus Forum, sent me a gift of love recently. In this box were 2-3 cuttings each of about a dozen different kinds of coleus. She was helping me to adhere to my self-imposed challenge this year of not buying any plants.

These beautiful coleus cuttings deserve a very special planter.



I have several waybigo black pots that I picked up behind a nursery that was going out of business. They've been wonderful for waybigo plants that needed transplanting. But they are quite ugly. Hey, Dumpster Divers can't be choosy!


I'd seen a thread started by Onewish1 in the Container Gardening Forum about some planters called Master Bloom. Those planters had numerous holes in the sides of the planter for planting cuttings and plugs, making the whole planter practically disappear with gorgeous blooms. Onewish1 showed how her combination of plants grew into each other just making that pot a real eye-catcher. I was having major pot envy!

I really, really wanted one of those pots. Now, being the cheap, but ingenious gardener that I am, I really didn't want to spend that much money on a planter, but I did love the way they looked. I started thinking how I could create one of my own from one of the hundreds of nursery pots that are parked behind my back yard shed. I decided to create my own using my trusty drill and a hole saw bit.



Here's the 7/8" hole saw bit.



Because I'm planting coleus cuttings, the holes don't need to be quite as big as they would have had I been using rooted plants. There is still plenty of room for the stems to come out and expand a bit without losing too much soil.I staggered the holes around the lower part of the pot, leaving plenty of room for plants to grow between them. Then I did the same thing a few inches above that, staggering each of the holes so that once planted, the sides would be covered. I couldn't take photos as I was drilling, so you'll have to use your imagination on this part.

Something I should divulge here is that this is very messy, leaving little shavings of plastic everywhere. I had to put a drill bit into the hole saw bit so the hole saw bit wouldn't "walk" all over the planter. I used cutters to remove the plastic plugs from the drill bit after each drilling. Time consuming, but like giving birth, soon forgotten.

The holes have been drilled and now it's time to paint that pot. I used Copper, Silver and Bronze Hammered Metal paint on my plastic pot to create a camouflage look. This helps the pot to disappear also when planted. I love this Hammered Metallic paint. I've painted many of those ugly black pots to save money on planters. I went to buy more of this paint today and they've changed the packaging. Instead of coming in a spray button top, it now had what looks like a trigger top. The paint was almost $8 per can now. The good thing is though, that this paint can now be used on all types of materials, whereas before it was supposed to be for metal only. I've used it on many different types of materials. I bought all of the cans of the old style I could at $6 because I know I'll be using it on many more pots and other items around my garden.



Here is the finished many holed pot.



Close up of the paint job.


I only painted so far inside because the rest will be covered by soil. I'll rub those little bits of plastic off before I do the actual planting. I was in a hurry to get the paint on it so I could get those cuttings planted.


I will use Miracle Grow potting soil with fertilizer already in it. It's a bit more expensive, but for the cost I have in the pots and plants, I figured I could splurge a bit on the soil. Now it's time to plant this Many Holed Coleus Planter. I bought 3 bags of MG Garden Soil at 1 Cubic Ft Each.
Since this article appeared, it's been brought to my attention that the soil is actually GARDEN SOIL and not POTTING SOIL as stated above. 



These babies ought to grow twice as big. It says so right on the package!!!


PERLITE is the secret ingredient to successful growing of coleus cuttings. I always add it to any soil I use. It helps to retain moisture in the soil. A little goes a long way.


I added about a third of a bag of Perlite to all three bags of Miracle Grow Potting Soil to make the soil lighter. I mix my soil in a big bathtub outside. Here is the new soil, with the Perlite mixed in.




I filled up the container to the first set of holes with the mixed potting soil. Then dipped the coleus cuttings into the rooting hormone and placed them into the holes, gently covering them up with more soil. I kept adding soil until I reached the next layer of holes, patting the soil ever so gently. I continued this process until I got to within 1 ½" of the top of the planter. This space in the top will allow the planter to collect water. I was unable to take photos of the planting while my hands were covered in soil.

I wanted to put something spectacular in the top of this planter, but after looking around the yard, I chose some pretty caladiums that were in various pots. It will be easy to remember they are in this planter when next spring rolls around. I added 4 little sprigs of bright yellow portulaca also to the center of this pot. Then I took some cuttings of white polka dot splash and put those into the top also.


Once the planting was finished, I gently watered the entire pot, making sure the water ran out the bottom holes. It took several times watering, letting the water collect in the top of the container before the water started coming from the bottom.


Image Image
Day 2 - The coleus are a bit droopy this morning.
ImageI know they look terrible today. But they WILL fluff back up and be beautiful. First though, they will get worse before they get better, so have patience. I can't wait to see this planter all filled in with an explosion of coleus color!
Now is the time to park them in the shadiest spot in your yard to let them recuperate from the shock of being transported and planted.
My planter still looks pretty shabby, doesn't it? Caladiums still look good though. Polka Dot Splash cuttings don't look so hot. Have faith in your efforts. The coleus will perk back up in no time. They will persevere. Don't panic!
Day 3 - Looking better
Day 4 - Perking up even more
Day 5 - Things are looking better.
Day 6 - Coleus are over the shock
Day 7 - Looking good!
Day 8 - Everything is growing very nicely!
Image Image
In honor of PHughes' generosity, I've called this planter, "Patty's Pot".
I've created a slide show, which can be viewed here, with full size photos and includes the above instructions.
I hope you enjoy the show.












  About Janet Colvin  
Janet ColvinLiving in Southeast Texas, I have always enjoyed tropical plants and warm sunny weather. My gardening has become much more diverse and my plant collection has rapidly multiplied since joining the great folks at Dave's Garden. Working with my sister, we create unique copper garden art. I love to think outside of the box and can be found in the Coleus and Artisans Forum.

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