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Reusing Broken Ceramic Planting Pots

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Reusing Broken Ceramic Planting Pots
Photo credit: Yuya Tamai / Flickr

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Ceramic planting pots come in all shapes and sizes. Simple terracotta designs have a rustic look that make them perfect for the unpretentious container garden. These inexpensive pots can be painted and stenciled for a custom look. More elegant ceramics come finished in a variety of colors and textures, and these stately landscaping accents can cost hundreds of dollars.

Unfortunately, there is one thing ceramic planting pots have in common, and that is their capacity to break. Changes in weather, accidents and simple wear and tear all lead to cracks and broken pieces. There’s no need to throw these pots away, though. Some simple solutions let you incorporate broken ceramics into your home and landscape decor that can add beauty and interest.

Minimize Evaporation

According to this University of Nebraska, Lincoln article, clay pottery is breathable, allowing air and moisture to permeate when small roots make contact with the sides of the pot. A boon for those who over water, this can also be excessively drying in some climates. Fortunately, pieces of broken terracotta pots can be used to slow down the evaporation process.

Simply break a cracked pot into small pieces and place them at the bottom of a plastic or glazed ceramic pot to create a block that will slow the rate of evaporation, as a recent BBC News Article explains.

You can also use glazed ceramic pieces of a broken pot to cover the exposed soil at the top of a potted plant. This, too, will prevent quick evaporation and protect roots close to the surface. If you intermingle the shards of pottery with attractive stones and shells, you can create beautiful mosaic-like surfaces for large potted trees and cacti.

Create a Unique Wall, Path or Border

Yard sales are a great place to pick up ceramic pots that are less than perfect for very little money. Depending on the codes governing your neighborhood, people may also leave broken pots right on the street for others to pick up. With a little hunting around, you can find enough matching rims of broken pots to create a scalloped edge for a garden plot for a look that is both practical and appealing.

Likewise, shards from broken ceramic pots can add appeal to a gravel walkway or be cemented into the finish of a patio section to create a Southwestern accent.

You can also incorporate broken pots right into a low brick retaining wall, as this article on Examiner website demonstrates. The crockery becomes a great place to nest moss or succulents, and the terracotta pieces will age and weather along with the brick, further enhancing the beauty of the design.

Make a Vertical Garden

According to the DIY Network, vertical gardens are a great way to create more space for gardening on a small terrace. Because the containers are mounted directly to the wall, you free up floor space for living; in some cases, plants may be able to access sunlight that only strikes higher up on the wall. As certain Pinterest examples of vertical gardens illustrate, the displays become living works of art that beautify your living space.

Ceramic pots that have a large piece missing from one side are perfect candidates for vertical gardens. Individual broken pots can be mounted on the wall in whatever design you want. As an article in The Micro Gardener demonstrates, small broken pots can also be stacked inside larger broken pots for a small vertical garden that has a lot of visual appeal.


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