Container planting with a twist


Save old items from landfill and make something quirky for your outside space.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Art&DT

Learning objectives

  • Understand the conditions required for growing plants
  • Use problem solving to garden on a budget


Ask your child/group what they would like to grow in their container. It could be a flowering plant, an edible plant or something sensory.

Look around your school, home or meeting place for items that are old or no longer needed that could make great containers. Be creative, you can grow in all sorts of containers from worn out wellies to your old kitchen sink!


  • A selection of containers. They must be sturdy enough to hold compost and have drainage holes added to their base
  • Paints, pens or chalk to decorate
  • Drill or other appropriate tool 
  • Compost
  • Seeds, seedlings or plant of choice
  • Watering can 

Step by step

  1. Gather your containers and make sure they are clean and dry.
  2. Ask your child to pick a container and decorate it.
  3. Drill or punch drainage holes into the base of the container - an adult will need to do this.
  4. If you are using a large container, now is the time to move it into place. It will be heavy once full of compost!
  5. Fill your container with the appropriate compost. This is a great opportunity to explain growing conditions such as drainage and nutrients with your child or group. 
  6. Sow your seeds, as instructed on the seed packet, or plant up your seedlings or plants in the container.
  7. Give everything a good water, use a fine rose or spray so you don't disurb your seeds or seedlings.
  8. Voila! Place on a sunny windowsill or in the garden and watch your plants grow.

Hints & tips

  • If you don't have anything around the house, check in with your local charity shops. They may have items that aren't suitable for general sale but are great for planting!
  • If you're growing at school, why not make it a competition? The most inventive container wins. 
  • Pots and containers dry out quickly in warm weather, make sure to keep them well watered.
  • New to the growing game? Check out our resource on sowing in pots.

We've won awards!

Winner of the Drum Marketing Awards 2017
Winner of the ERA 2017 awards
Winner of the Third Sector 2017 awards