Vine Trellis in a Pot

Coat hangers anchor a tomato cage for this useful and pretty trellis.


What You Need:

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  • Terra-cotta pot
  • White oil-base paint diluted with paint thinner
  • Rubber gloves
  • Rag
  • 2 wire-coat hangers
  • Purchased potting soil
  • 2 conical tomato cages (green or silver)
  • Pliers
  • 2 golden hops plants
  • 2 blue morning-glory seedlings
  • Small topiary wire form to use as a finial (optional)

Instructions:

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1. Age the pot. Buy the most expensive terra-cotta pot you can afford -- it will last longer. Wearing gloves, apply white paint diluted to a milky consistency to the entire exterior of the pot using a rag. Rub it in like you're polishing a car; use inconsistent strokes for a mottled effect. Repeat process once more on pot rim.

Find more fun ideas for window boxes and planters.

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2. Secure with hangers. Bend both coat hangers into L shapes; place in pot, leaving hook even with the eventual level of the soil. Fill pot with purchased potting soil.

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3. Plant hops. Plant golden hops plants, one on each side of the pot.

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4. Secure tomato cages. Position one cage directly over the other. Hold top cage and make a 1/4 turn. Using two cages instead of one makes a tighter grid for the plants to climb. Place cages wide end down in pot, catching the coat hanger hooks.

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5. Hook cage in place. Use pliers to squeeze hooks shut over cage frame, pushing frame into soil. Reach through tomato cage to plant seedlings.

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6. Secure finial. Secure the small topiary form at the top of the tomato cages using small-gauge wire or twine. Or, use wire or twine to bring the tomato cage spikes to a point.

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7. Take care. Be sure to pinch back and wind plants around the cage so foliage fills in at the bottom before moving up. Use time-release granular fertilizer. Water daily in the summer.

Other Plants That Work:

Good substitutes for golden hops are ivy and Virginia creeper. Morning-glory substitutes include nasturtiums, passionflowers, and Dutchman's-pipe. For a fetching edible topiary, substitute Malabar spinach for the golden hops and scarlet runner beans for the morning-glories.

Opt for plants that grow fast but won't outgrow the container during the growing season. In this topiary, golden hops provide pyramidal architecture, while morning-glories shoot out colorful blooming runners. This plant combination works best if you plant after the first frost; expect foliage until fall.

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