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How to Prepare a Metal Planter for Flowers

Containers full of bright flowers are a welcoming addition to patios, walkways and decks. Container are made of plastic, stone, clay or metal. Metal is a sturdy yet lightweight choice that offers many interesting design choices. Whether you are using copper pots with a nice patina or repurposing galvanized steel buckets as planters, there are special considerations when planting in metal. Preparing the containers prior to planting them with flowers and taking the right care afterward keeps your plants healthy and your planters looking their best.

Check the bottom of the planter for drainage holes. If no holes are supplied, drill half-inch holes in the bottom, spacing them 6 inches apart near the edge of the pot.

Paint the inside of the container with a rust corrosion inhibitor, which is available at hardware and home improvement stores. Paint the outside if rust is a concern on the appearance of the pot.

Fill the container to within 3 inches of the rim with a moist soil-less potting mix. Plant the flower transplants in the soil to the same depth they were growing in their nursery containers.

Place the container on top of a plastic drip tray to prevent rust stains on your decks or pavement. Choose an area that receives enough sun for the flower varieties you have planted.

Check the moisture levels in the pot once a day throughout spring and fall and twice a day during the height of summer. Water as needed to maintain soil moisture as metal containers heat up and dry out faster than other containers.

Lay a 2-inch layer of organic mulch on top the soil and around the plants. This preserves soil moisture and helps keep the roots cool.


Plant heat-loving summer plants in metal containers.

Use a plastic pot liner if you prefer the look of metal but don't want the work of preparation.


Too much direct sun on a metal container may cook plant roots. If possible, choose an area where the container is in shade and the plant is in sun.

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