How to Plant Large Containers With Less Potting Soil


To create a container garden on a patio, deck or balcony, a gardener often uses planting containers in varying sizes and shapes. Filling numerous planting containers with potting soil can utilize a large amount of planting medium, especially if the containers are large. Reduce the amount of potting soil you require to fill you containers by planting large containers with less potting soil. Once you learn this old gardener's trick, you can reduce your expenses and still fill your containers effectively.

Step 1

Gather the large planting containers you intend to fill with plants.

Step 2

Place filler materials in the bottom of the large planting containers. Depending on the size of the container, strive to fill the bottom one-third to one-half of each container with filler materials. Place upside-down smaller planting containers into the bottom of the large planting containers. Use two or three small containers to fill up the bottom of the large planting container (using several smaller containers will prevent you from blocking the drainage holes). Alternatively, place empty aluminum cans sideways into the bottom of the planting container, stacking them on top of each other to fill the space (and placing them away from drainage holes). Another option is to fill the bottom one-third to one-half of the large container with packing foam.

Step 3

Add potting soil to the large containers, spreading it over the filler materials. Pour the potting soil into the containers, allowing it to fill in around the filler materials until you fill the large planting container approximately three-quarters full.

Step 4

Place the plants into the planting containers, arranging them in whatever design or placement you desire to create pleasing arrangements.

Step 5

Add additional potting soil to the planting containers until the potting soil covers the roots of the plants. Firm the potting soil down around the plants with your hands gently to finish planting.

Things You'll Need

  • Large planting containers (with drainage holes)
  • Smaller planting containers
  • Recyclable aluminum cans
  • Packing medium
  • Potting soil
  • Plants


  • University of Illinois Extension: Role of Container Planting
Keywords: container garden, less potting soil, planting large containers

About this Author

Kathryn Hatter is a 42-year-old veteran homeschool educator and regular contributor to Natural News. She is an accomplished gardener, seamstress, quilter, painter, cook, decorator, digital graphics creator and she enjoys technical and computer gadgets. She began writing for Internet publications in 2007. She is interested in natural health and hopes to continue her formal education in the health field (nursing) when family commitments will allow.