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Make a Tall Planter

Perfect for small spaces or a space where you need a bit of drama, this three-tier clay pot planter is full of floral style

Make an entry more welcoming or wake up a lackluster corner of your patio with this clay pot tower. Easy-to-find and inexpensive, clay pots are stacked together to create color on high. Fill the planters with your favorite container plants. Trailing selections such as calibrachoa are especially striking as they spill over the edges of the pots.

Use a slow-release liquid fertilizer weekly when you water to keep the plants blooming and growing all season. If plants begin to grow spindly by later summer, cut them back by one-third to encourage new, lush growth. After the first frost, remove the plants and fill the planting spaces with mini pumpkins and gourds. Remove the pumpkins and gourds for the winter season and fill the planting spaces with evergreen branches, dried hydrangea blooms, and other texture-rich garden clippings.

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What You Will Need

One 16-inch clay pot

One 12-inch clay pot

One 10-inch clay pot

One 8-inch clay pot

Quality potting soil

Assortment of container-garden plants

Step 1

Gather all your materials together where you intend to place the tower. Once planted, the tower is challenging to move. Begin by placing the smallest clay pot upside down in the base of the largest clay pot. The small clay pot will provide solid support for the two containers above it.

Step 2

Fill the large container with soil until the soil level is even with the base of the upside-down pot. Set the 12-inch clay pot in place, positioning it on top of the base of the 6-inch pot.

Step 3

Continue adding soil to the base pot until the soil is ½ inch below the pot rim. 

Step 4

Fill the 12-inch clay pot with potting soil to within 1 inch of the rim of the pot. Use your hand to gently pat the soil to dislodge large air pockets. Set the 10-inch clay pot, final tier, in place.

Step 5

Fill the uppermost clay pot with soil and plants. The pot pictured here is filled with yellow daisy-flower melampodium, trailing white-and-green 'Variegata' vinca, and a clump of chartreuse sweet flag.

A host of wonderful trailing plants will work very well in a pot tower like this one. When shopping for plants for your container, consider snowy white flowered bacopa; calibrachoa, which is available in a rainbow of colors; lime-green drought-tolerant licorice plant is always a good choice; and equally easy-to-grow dichondra. For colorful accent plants, look for flowering annuals that mature at 6 to 12 inches tall so they don't overwhelm the tower and mask the tiers above. Ageratum, begonias, bidens, impatiens, and geraniums are all long-flowering, low-growing annuals that are excellent for tower gardens like this one.

After planting, water each pot thoroughly. Start at the top of the tower so you can wash off any soil that spills over the rims.

Container Gardening How-To: Design a Container


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