13 Creative Succulent Containers From Upcycled Thrift Store & Salvaged Finds

vintage typewriter succulent planter
Succulents are unique and eye-catching plants that deserve a vessel that matches their interesting charm. Transform flea market or antiques shop finds, like thermoses, light fixtures, and broken typewriters, into vintage planters to create creative succulent container gardens like these.

Metal Tin Succulent Container Garden

Eric Pedley, owner of East Austin Succulents in Austin, Texas, loves turning castoff items one-of-a-kind showcases for his favorite plants. Here, a vintage Canadian Mountie cookie tin contains a sweet assortment of succulents, including string-of-pearls (Senecio rowleyanus), 'Neon' stonecrop (Sedum spectabile), string-of-buttons (Crassula perforata), and beautiful Graptopetalum superbum. Tucked in back, the tin lid adds color and kitschy style.

Beer Can Cactus Planter

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp.) sprouting from an empty beer can shows that anything can become a potential planter. Pick up interesting cans of all sorts for pennies at flea markets, thrift shops and junk stores and use tin scissors to carefully cut away the can top to make it plant-ready, sanding the edges of the metal with a sanding block to remove any sharp slivers.

Metal Cart Succulent Garden

Filled to the brim with bristly and sculptural plants, a rusty metal cart contains golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii), Texas sotol (Dasylirion texanum), prickly pearagave, and ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense). Old carts and wheelbarrows and can be unique planters for outdoor succulent displays, creating levels of interest in your garden.teres

Metal Desk Caddy Planter

The cubbies and drawers of old metal filing bins hold succulents instead of office supplies. Moss and wood add texture to the Zen-style arrangement on the right in this upcycled planter.

Vintage Coffee Urn Planter

The 1970s design definitely says flower power, but today this vintage coffee urn serves up red-tip fleshy-leaf paddle plant (Kalanchoe 'Fantastic'), Rhipsalis sp., rainbow bush (Portulacaria afra 'Variegata'), 'Quadricolor' agave, and Graptoveria'Fred Ives'.

Ammunition Box Succulent Container

An ammunition box displays a miniature landscape planted with Echeveria 'Black Prince', Madagascar senecio (Senecio decaryi), and jade plant (Crassula ovata), and accented with a sparkling stone.

Meat Grinder Planter

This proves that even the most unexpected items can become succulent gardens! Echeveria subsessilis, its dusty blue leaves rimmed with pink, sprouts whimsically from a vintage hand-crank meat grinder clamped to a table.

Vintage Radio Garden

Once a countertop essential, a turn-dial radio makes a groovy home for a succulent garden. Using a tiny screwdriver, remove the radio's back panel. With the help of wire cutters, pull out as much of the inner workings of the radio as possible. To make room for a planting vessel—a loaf pan works well—cut a rectangle opening out of the plastic top of the radio using a stencil cutter. Slip the container inside, replace the back panel, and plant.

Typewriter Garden

Celebrate a portable typewriter's years of service by bringing it to life with succulents. Using pliers, wire cutters, and a small screwdriver, remove all the typewriter's interior mechanisms. After the cavity is clean, nestle a small planting container—such as a disposable food storage bin—inside the typewriter. Fill the bin with cactus potting mix, and plant with a variety of succulents boasting unique textures, shapes, and colors. 

Thermos Succulent Garden

Cylindrical and sleek, retro thermoses with metallic sheens offer a fun contrast to the various fleshy, spiky, and curvy leaves of succulents. Fill each thermos and its lid with cactus potting mix. Add plants, firming the potting mix around the root zones. Water plants when the soil is dry to the touch.

Light Fixture Succulent Planter

Turn the cone-shape metal shades of a desk lamp into a wall planter. Start by removing the lightbulbs from the shades and disconnecting all wiring. Fill any holes in the bases of the shades with silicone caulk to prepare them for planting. Drill two holes in the lamp's base plate and insert screws to attach the lamp to the wall, keeping the shades in an upright position. Fill the shades with potting mix and add succulents.

Upcycled Sign Letter Planter

Turn a salvaged metal sign letter into a gorgeous, green monogram for your front porch by filling with succulents and mosses. You can pick up letters of all shapes, sizes and colors at antiques stores, salvage stores and online. To take this project to the next level, spell out a full word for a stunning piece of living art.

Vintage Plastic Toy Garden Accents

A tiny menagerie of plastic animals traipses through a trio of potted succulent cuttings: Graptopetalum superbum, coppertone stonecrop (Sedum nussbaumerianum), and blue chalk sticks (Senecio mandraliscae). Colorful gravel adds a fun accent.

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