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Transform an Old Tin into a Recycled Succulent Planter

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Transform an oil tin into an attractive recycled succulent planter. An inexpensive and creative gardening project for succulent lovers.

There’s a lot of trash that can be converted into planters, and large metal tins are one of them. To build this recycled succulent planter all you need is the can, a few tools, spray paint, and the plants to fill it up with. It’s a great project for giving old containers new life and looks great, especially when the sun hits the metallic surface.

The idea behind this project came from some small succulents that I’d recently picked up. I also had two metal oil containers knocking around so I came up with the idea of using them to display small clumps of many of the succulents I have in the garden. They’ll grow in the planter over time and the ‘babies’ will need replanting but it shouldn’t be too much work. With succulents, usually, all you need to do is pull the extra growth off and set it on the soil to form its own roots.

How to make a recycled succulent planter from an old olive oil tin. This project shows how to create the holes in the tin, and plant it up with a variety of succulents #gardening #diygarden #succulents

 

Recycled Succulent Planter

Many restaurants buy oils and other liquid foods in large metal containers. They can come in 5L (1 gallon) sizes like the one in this project or even larger or in different shapes. You can often get these tins for free if you ask but you can also find them at a recycling center or a food wholesaler. I buy them sometimes for soapmaking, especially my 100% olive oil soap recipe.

Succulents are a wide and varied group of plants that seem to thrive pretty much anywhere they’re thrown. In my garden, they tend to naturally grow on rock walls or in the cracks between paving stones. Yet when I plant them in decent soil they do even better. If you don’t have succulents at home, you can get them from friends, a garden center, or order them from an online retailer.

How to make a recycled succulent planter from an old olive oil tin. This project shows how to create the holes in the tin, and plant it up with a variety of succulents #gardening #diygarden #succulents
If you don’t have succulents on hand, you can get them from garden centers, online retailers, and sometimes farmers markets

Tools needed to make a Recycled Succulent Planter

How to make a recycled succulent planter from an old olive oil tin. This project shows how to create the holes in the tin, and plant it up with a variety of succulents #gardening #diygarden #succulents
The hole is easy to cut once the holes are drilled

Begin cutting the tin to create planting areas

The top of the can should be easy to remove with an ordinary can opener. Making the holes on the front of the planter is more involved. There will be other ways to make the holes, no doubt, but this is how I did it. First mark where you’d like the holes with a marker along the front of your container. Next drill holes all around the hole you’ve marked and then snip the metal disc out with the tin snippers. My holes are about two inches in diameter.

If you have good enough tin snippers then you could probably snip the entire hole out once you’ve made the first hole or two with the drill. There are round hole cutters that can attach to your electric drill to create perfect holes but the ones I have are only for wood. If you’d like to invest in metal hole cutters it might make this step easier.

How to make a recycled succulent planter from an old olive oil tin. This project shows how to create the holes in the tin, and plant it up with a variety of succulents #gardening #diygarden #succulents
The bottom needs holes to allow water to drain through

The Finishing touches

While you’re drilling, make sure to make holes in the bottom of your planter for drainage. Ten or so holes should be fine. If your holes have jagged edges then it’s probably best to smooth them down and inwards with a file. Make sure to wear gloves.

The last step to creating the recycled succulent planter is optional but it makes the tin more attractive. Turn the planter upside down on a piece of cardboard and spray as directed with metallic spray paint. Leave to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

How to make a recycled succulent planter from an old olive oil tin. This project shows how to create the holes in the tin, and plant it up with a variety of succulents #gardening #diygarden #succulents
Keep the planter on its side so that it doesn’t fall out of the holes.

Filling the planter with Potting mix

Fill the recycled succulent planter with a free-draining potting mix and firm it in gently. A special potting mix for cacti and succulents is best, but you can also use multipurpose. While you’re filling, the compost will want to come out of the holes in the front but keeping the planter at an angle will help.

Press the compost down from the top of the planter and next put a piece of wood over the top opening of the planter. Secure it with sturdy string so that it won’t come off when you lie the planter on its back. Please don’t use tape as you can see in my photo. When I removed it, it took the paint up with it and I had to repaint the planter.

How to make a recycled succulent planter from an old olive oil tin. This project shows how to create the holes in the tin, and plant it up with a variety of succulents #gardening #diygarden #succulents
Keep the planter horizontal until the succulents are well established

Plant the Recycled Succulent Planter

With the planter on its side, fill the holes in with succulent plants. Press them in gently and add more compost to tuck them in. Water them through the holes and now let the plants grow for at least a week, if not two, keeping them moist and in a warm and sheltered place. If you give them that time then they’ll anchor themselves in with roots and won’t fall out when you turn the planter upright.

How to make a recycled succulent planter from an old olive oil tin. This project shows how to create the holes in the tin, and plant it up with a variety of succulents #gardening #diygarden #succulents
The last part to plant up is the top of the recycled succulent planter

Your Recycled Succulent Planter is complete

After the 7-14 days are up, gently turn your planter upright and remove the covering from the top. Plant it up with more succulents and then place your recycled piece of living art somewhere that everyone can enjoy it. Mine brings a smile to my face each time I see it shining in the sun. No doubt the metal will rust over time but I look forward to the visual effect. Eventually, the container will need to be replaced but I expect this one to last at least a couple of years.

How to make a recycled succulent planter from an old olive oil tin. This project shows how to create the holes in the tin, and plant it up with a variety of succulents #gardening #diygarden #succulents

More Succulent Inspiration

If you’re looking for even more succulent ideas, check out these other projects.

3 Comments

  1. Hi Ann Katelyn — If you drill holes for drainage then it will leak when watered. If you don’t, then the bottom might rust? Maybe lining the inside with the bottom with a plastic lining might help though. The best way to find out is to try it and see if it works :)

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