How To Re-Use Plants For Container Gardening

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A few years ago, my husband and I went to several nurseries in the Spring and were shocked at how much we had to pay for perennial vines and plants that filled our hanging baskets. We’re a little obsessed with hanging baskets (my smart hubby even installed a handy dripper system in all fifteen hanging baskets we have around our home because he knows I’m awful about remembering to water things.) But, the cost of filling those baskets with plants can add up quickly.


That fall, on a whim we decided to try re-planting a few of the trailing vines that we’d paid $3-$5 for in the ground, and see what happened. Guess what? They grew like crazy, and now we never have to re-purchase several of the plants we need to get started in the Spring!  Here are a few tips to get you started if you’d like to try it out with what you already have this fall:


When your planters begin to wear out in the fall, remove them and place them in the ground. We’ve had great luck with vinca vine, “spikes” (those tall spikey plants that look pretty in the middle of container gardens), and low growing succulents or creepers (I’m not sure what else to call them, but they look kind of like this ~ I wish I knew more of the accurate names for plants!)

(This picture is so blurry, but all of that came from one plant that we started with a few years ago)


Literally, I pop them out of the container they’re in and plant them in the ground near our deck.  If they’re going to require a bunch of care I’m not up for the effort, but it’s easy to dig a few holes and see what happens!

In the Spring, just dig a hole about 3″ inches around any of the plants you’d like to re-use. Take as much care as possible to keep the root in tact, then plant them in good soil in your container and be sure to fertilize it (we use Miracle Gro) regularly.
While our flowers are looking a little leggy at the end of the summer (I haven’t been home in forever to keep up with things on the weekends!), the Vinca Vine has grown like crazy.  That little plant that my daughter Caroline is holding in the picture above, turned into this after just over a month ~ I’m always amazed by that!

Do you have any tips for re-using plants or other flower or vegetable gardening ideas? I’d love to hear them (I’m always looking for ways to save on a silly hobby that I love!), so leave any suggestions in the comments section.  You can also check out my gardening board over on Pinterest (I love that place!)



You may also want to see how we started a few of our baskets this summer. . . 

And here’s a peek at my husband’s handy watering system (one of these days I promise to post directions on how to do this yourself, it’s by far my favorite honeydew project he’s ever completed!)


See previous Friday Fluff Up projects and ideas . . . and Happy Fluffing!



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  1. Your pretty red geranium – in the fifth photo from the top – makes a great houseplant and will live and bloom so happily all winter if you re-pot it. Your grandmother may have referred to these as pelargoniums (which is the correct genus of this plant). Give it a window that gets at fairly good light if possible.
    Over the late fall and winter months, my beautiful coral-colored one brightens my breakfast room window and grows so much that there are many long stems. Usually, stems will also root easily by just breaking off and sticking them in the dirt (keep moist for a while). I crowd the plant pretty mercilessly to get as much in there as possible, then pull apart and divide to replant outside in the spring. Always do like to keep one pot there inside, though. Only downside is that you do have to pick the spent blooms and any yellowing leaves off or that becomes unsightly.
    It is very unlikely to make it outdoors through a frost.

    • Laurie says:

      I didn’t know you could keep geraniums inside through the winter – that would help so much! We don’t have much room for them, but I actually have a small bench in the guest bedroom where I may try it out (I’ve also thought since we live in Alabama where it doesn’t get too cool that they might even work out okay in the garage….)

      I have several Boston Ferns that we replace each year, and I keep thinking we should try to pull those inside and for the following winter (but they’re HUGE, and with five of them they’d be the size of our entire guest bedroom!) I did a terrible job of keeping up with my geraniums this year, but will definitely try to stick them in the ground. Thanks for the tips!

      • Lynda says:

        Good luck! They do need some light and do not like to get too cold, so the guest room may be perfect. You can crowd up the roots in a single largish pot (with saucer!!) but they will dry out quickly and need to be watered well at least once or twice a week; it is fine to leave some water standing in the saucer and they will even appreciate that.

        Those Boston ferns are gorgeous but a little trickier both because of their size and because they grow so much in the summer that they tend to get pot-bound (pots get filled up with roots leaving little room for soil). They are fairly cold-hardy, though, and you just might be able to sit them outside on the ground in a sheltered area near the house and give them a little cover for frost protection. For example, rake leaves up all around them and throw a clear plastic sheet over them – even a used painting dropcloth will do, secured with a couple of rocks or bricks to keep from blowing off. Then in the early spring see if they need to be pulled apart and re-potted.
        Some kinds of ferns and ivy are very cold-hardy and will live in the ground and some are not. So you have little to lose by putting a few in the dirt and see if they survive the winter unprotected………….P.S. I live in a Birmingham suburb so I think we have similar conditions.

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