Tutorial: A mossy flower planter

    Every spring I think, “I’m going to take it easy on the flowers. I’m just going to do mostly perennials and only a few annuals…I don’t need to buy a ton of flowers….Oh who am I KIDDING!?”

   And, so it begins. The flowers are now in the plant nurseries and my hands are itching to get into the garden soil. I love flowers. I come from a long line of ‘ladies who dig in the dirt.’ I also spent four years working in a plant nursery where I learned a lot about flowers there and got a lot of opportunity to play around with planting and learning what goes where and what does best where.

   In the trial and error experiences of having my own yard and flowers, I’ve had some issues with beautiful iron baskets that look oh so pretty when first planted, but then dry out or fall apart in the elements. This year i got an idea that I saw at a local plant shop, and so I’ve rigged up some of my wire baskets in this new way, and I hope it does the trick in staying beautiful all spring and summer long.

    The biggest problem I’ve had with my wire baskets (and other planters that traditionally use a coco moss liner or spagnum moss) is that they dry out super quick, turn the dirt hard as a rock, and kill the flowers. So I’ve decided to go into my planting with a battle plan!
   To do this, I got some chicken wire and lined my basket with it. Then I took an old terra cotta pot and put it inside the basket. If you don’t have a terra cotta pot to put in your planter, you could use an even cheaper method and line the wire with the plastic from a trash bag with a drain hole (a small one, just like you’d see in a flower pot) cut into the bottom. The idea is that the terra cotta or the plastic will keep the wind from blowing through your planter or basket and drying out the pot before the water has had a chance to get to the plants.

   To make your basket look cute from the outside, you can line the basket with mulch or you could line it with moss. I’ve lined this wire basket with some moss because that worked best with this particular basket, but on a couple of others I used some mulch I had on hand.
   What’s fun about this part is that you can make it as wild and unique as you’d like. You could even plant some trailing vines, or strawberries into the sides of the planter (just make sure it has some soil). I like things a little wild and wispy, so I didn’t worry about being too neat with the moss.

  I planted this pot with the new house in mind, and I know it will sit on the front porch with East light that is filtered. I am so enthused about this light! My front yard now faces west and gets the brutal, baking afternoon sun. After two years of drought and weeks of triple digit temps, I am so tired of just trying to keep plants alive, forget about even looking nice, in a west facing yard. Bring on the dappled morning light!

  Since eastern light is pretty much the ideal light, I picked an assortment of half sun/shade plants like coleus, impatiens, trailing petunias, bacopa and sweet little button-faced ageratum. I want these baskets to get big and overflowing, and I know given some time and care, these plants will do the job. I also pulled up some creeping jenny and rabbit’s ear (some call it lamb’s ear) that grows each year in my flower bed and put them in the planter for good measure.
  I used Miracle Grow potting soil that already has fertilizer in it, but you might want to add some fertilizer to your pot if you’re using plain soil. I figured if I’m going to make the investment in buying each of the flowers for these arrangements, I might as well get the good quality base material in the soil. My hope is that we get a more mild summer than we’ve had the past couple of years so that the baskets get a chance to thrive and in a couple of months, they’re huge and gorgeous! But even ‘huge and gorgeous’ starts out modestly.

   Here’s the finished project:

   It’ll be a bit before all the plants mature, but I’m hopeful that with good moisture retention and rich soil, the planters I put together will thrive and become gorgeous. I’m excited to think that the next time I show them to you, they’ll be all grown up and sitting on my new front porch! I am SO so excited. About so many things. What a fun summer it’s going to be!~

   Well, I hope you enjoyed this little break from art to dig in the dirt. Gardening to me is like making art though, and it’s growing art that is always fun to watch and enjoy.

  Hope all is well with you & yours!~

6 thoughts on “Tutorial: A mossy flower planter

  1. What a clever idea! For those of us who battle days of unforgiving heat in the South, your solution might just be the answer. My front porch has a southern exposure and it literally bakes all afternoon for 5 months of the year and nothing can survive very well. Your basket is going to look perfect on your new front porch. I love the way you mixed the plant colors together too. When it all fills out, it is going to be so pretty and colorful. Thanks for the great tutorial!


  2. Pretty! I've got lots of ideas in mind for our garden this year, and I might need to add this one to the list. Thanks for the fun project!


  3. Great idea for baskets:) I'm so hoping it warms up soon so we can get into the garden. Right now the ground is too wet and soggy to walk on after the snow has melted.


  4. I'm going to copy this! Brilliant idea 😀 (Not that it's anywhere near summery enough here yet to be planting baskets!)Heather, I don't know if it's just me, but although your blog is fine your new website landing page is playing havoc with my PC … maybe a script you're running there, just thought I should mention it 🙂


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