When I made a bunch of cement planters last year, I knew right off the bat that they weren’t going to be a long term success. Hell, there was e-6000 involved. No, I didn’t think that glue would cure cracked cement, but it was enough to allow this planter to outlived anyone’s wildest expectations despite it looking like the San Andreas fault: August 25th, 2011 – April 4th, 2012, may it RIP.
Side note 1: The portland cement planters I’ve seen executed well are quite nice, but most are tiny. In hindsight, where I know I went wrong was making them too big when I didn’t have a bucket/container that would easily tear away from the cement itself. Tear away is key, think thin plastics like you’d find encasing your morning yogurt. Don’t even try and use 5-gallon rigid buckets.
In that crack-infested planter, the Umbrella Tree that I bought last summer thrived surprisingly well, despite it not having a lot of room for its roots to move about. The planter even lasted long enough to get its portandish face on my Apartment Therapy home tour, go figure, exposed cracks and all.
The planter’s cracks itself have been widening every time I watered the plant, and even though I wisely started to look for replacement planters around August 28th, 2011, I didn’t find one that I liked until this spring. Good planters are hard to find on a budget. And that’s why what I bought isn’t your traditional planter:
Meet my West Elm Cara Basket. And a suitable plastic liner. And Cody, for scaling purposes. And yes, that’s my Christmas tree in the background, still wrapped in lights, it’s April, it’s still alive, what’s it to ya?
The planter itself was on sale when I bought it (and still is, you can buy it here!). At $39.99, it’s a lot more than I tend to spend on anything home decor-ish, but discounted from $59.99, it’s also handwoven (I can support that), huge (I bought the larger size, 16″x16″), and the perfect rich color to sit in the dining room against the dark brown shiplap wall.
Of course, it’s not your traditional planter. It’s not something you’d want water draining into, and it’s not something you’d want soil sitting within. Really, I could see it equally as awesome next to the couch in the living room holding extra blankets; maybe in its planter-retirement, but for now, it had another purpose.
To protect the woven basket, I also bought that liner you saw in one of the previous pictures. The green plastic planter with a built in drainage tray cost me $9.97 at Home Depot, sold as a 16″ classic planter (you can see it and buy for yourself here if you’d like). As you head out to buy liners/plastic planters, keep in mind that the 16″ refers to the width of the top of the hole, not the total width of the planter with rolled edges (they size them for the most part like plumbing, by measuring the opening). Because the roll on the top caused it to be a little wider than 16″, it sat in my Cara basket like so, overhangin’ all over the place:
But that’s an easy fix.
Flip the bucket over, and with a utility knife, carefully cut into the rolled over area and slice around the circumfrence of the planter. You’ll find that the plastic’s soft enough that this isn’t hard (especially if the planter has been sitting in the sun for a little while); the thicker plastic reinforcements that you can see in this picture are easily severed too.
It might look a little rough along the edge based on your hand steadiness, but you can razor off any unevenness once the rolled edge is removed completely. I was left with this:
Filled with potting soil, I transplanted the Umbrella tree into its new home (the roots couldn’t be more relieved). I soaked the soil well and (important) left it to dry up a little bit overnight. That’s an important step because if you water it as much as me, the built-in drainage tray is going to be filled to the max; you can tilt the planter a little bit and let it flow out onto the deck, but I suggest just leaving it to evaporate and absorb a little before you drop it into your totally-not-compatible-with-moisture woven basket planter.
Despite having sat to dry out a little overnight, I still laid a small towel in the base of the basket before I dropped the Umbrella Tree in place yesterday afternoon, a just-in-case precautionary measure. As expected, the Cara Basket looks divine against the shiplap, and the tree looks so much better, healthier, well-proportioned in the larger planter.
Speaking of planters and general outdoor gardening, I’m in the market for some larger planting pots for my deck. I’ve been to the local big boxes and can’t find anything I like. Any online recommendations for amazing outdoor home decor?