How to Make a Planter Out of Tree Stump


Transforming an old tree stump into a planter requires little work and creates a focal point for your yard. Filled with trailing flowers or sprouting delicate ferns that appear to have sprung from nature, planters made from tree stumps create a natural environment for small wildlife and supports a backyard sanctuary for birds and butterflies. When combined with other natural features, like stones and hillsides, it creates the perfect setting for hummingbird feeders and birdhouses.

Step 1

Hollow out one end of the tree stump with a chisel. Partially rotted stumps are ideal as the insides can be removed easily and the rotted material provides organic matter for amending the soil. Leave a 3-to-4 inch section of the stump intact to serve as the bottom of the planter. Drill several ½-inch holes in the bottom of the planter for drainage.

Step 2

Place the planter in the desired location and note the lighting. Many brightly colored annuals require six or more hours of sunlight a day, but there are many that thrive in shade or partial shade.

Step 3

Select plants that meet the lighting requirements and have similar watering needs. For a sunny location, consider brilliant cosmos, nasturtiums, daisies, coneflowers or even miniature sunflowers. Add cascading waves of color with wave petunias or vining flowers. A shaded location supports brightly colored coleus, delicate impatiens or rich green ferns.

Step 4

Place several stones in the bottom of the planter to assist in drainage. Fill the planter with soil. A mixture of equal parts all-purpose potting soil, peat moss and perlite makes a porous soil that provides aeration for roots and promotes good drainage.

Step 5

Plant seedlings to their original depth and firm the soil down to secure the plants. Water thoroughly. Water when soil dries.

Things You'll Need

  • Chisel
  • Drill
  • Soil mixture
  • Seedlings
  • Water-soluble fertilizer


  • Penn State Master Gardener
  • Texas A&M University Extension
  • University of Illinois Extension

Who Can Help

  • West Virginia University Extension: Container Gardening
  • University of Minnesota Extension: Container Gardens
Keywords: tree stump planter, plant in tree stump, hollow tree stump

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.