Containers forum: What filler at the bottom of large pots do you use?

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Region: California
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UndertheSun
Sep 16, 2013 5:44 PM CST
Hi,

I have two very large pots that I plan on planting over the next day or two. So I was wondering, what filler at the bottom of the pot do some of you use so you use less soil?

I have heard of packaging peanuts (styrofoam). I'm not a fan of this method.
Empty plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
Upside down empty plant containers.
Sticks, twigs and leaves.

Any other good ideas?

Thanks I tip my hat to you.
[Last edited by UndertheSun - Sep 16, 2013 5:45 PM (+)]
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Name: David Paul
(Zone 9b)
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DavidofDeLand
Sep 16, 2013 5:55 PM CST
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springcolor
Sep 16, 2013 6:19 PM CST
I have used these. ups-a-daisy I like them.
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Name: Debra
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lovemyhouse
Sep 16, 2013 7:15 PM CST
agree on avoiding the peanuts, they might be the biodegradable kind and then where would you be? Big Grin

have used empty 4-inch pots, empty gatorade and powerade bottles, and soda cans. did not like the results with the cans when i emptied the pot later. the pots seemed to work best for me.

do you want to keep the pot lightweight? maybe folded up bubble wrap? would leave space along the sides for drainage. have any flat volleyballs, beach balls, or basketballs? recycling is good.
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Sep 16, 2013 9:30 PM CST
Hmm, I like the idea of the bottles ... Rolling my eyes.

But I have used the styro blocks that are used to sandwich flat screen TV's or new ceiling lamps or plumbing fixtures into their packing boxes. These are not taken for recycling at mail stores so I just cut them up into pieces and try to fit them like pieces into a puzzle into the lower part of my big pots. I do this to minimize the amount of space that the wet soil can fall into. After fitting in the styro, I place a sheet of soft window screen or weed barrier fabric on top of the styro to keep soil from dropping down.
Whatever you do/use, the huge pots can be moved more easily if need be and less soil can be used if the plants don't have deep roots and if one needs the depth of the large pots to keep garden design to scale...
[Last edited by webesemps - Sep 16, 2013 9:33 PM (+)]
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Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
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bitbit
Sep 16, 2013 10:39 PM CST
Pine cones and sweet gum pods, but only because my trees produce them in such huge quantities that they're never in short supply. They aren't as light as styrofoam, but since I grow edibles in my containers, I prefer something that I know won't leach any strange chemicals into my plants' roots.
Name: Caroline Scott
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CarolineScott
Sep 17, 2013 4:54 AM CST
Vermiculite is light. So is perlite.
Name: Debra
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lovemyhouse
Sep 17, 2013 7:17 AM CST
Never thought of the screening, Bev. *Blush* Good idea. Thumbs up
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Sep 17, 2013 9:49 AM CST
Thanks, Debra. If you have ever had to dig styro peanuts out of the dirt, you think "how do I avoid this?". I've tried burlap and found that it falls apart pretty fast so now I'm trying the screen and then I will try the weed barrier cloth to see which lasts longer. The blocks are easier and faster to remove if need be.

Region: California
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UndertheSun
Sep 17, 2013 2:01 PM CST
Thank you for all the great suggestions. Thumbs up

What do you think about using wood chips?

I know they'll break down in time, but I like that it's natural. (and I have plenty to use)
Name: Debra
Garland, TX (NE Dallas suburb) (Zone 8a)
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lovemyhouse
Sep 17, 2013 2:02 PM CST
I think that is a great idea. Will take them some time to break down, won't it? So the plants should be fine for a good period?
If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.'
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Sep 17, 2013 2:07 PM CST
I agree Wood Chips...especially if you already have them. Great to use stuff one already has so as to recycle...
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Cinta
Sep 17, 2013 3:25 PM CST
Leaves, and tree limbs, cardboard torn up in pieces, and newspaper.
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bitbit
Sep 17, 2013 4:41 PM CST
Bev, I sometimes put a layer of weed block fabric between my filler and soil. I've dug it out, intact, from containers that grew veggies for three years (six or more crops, we garden 12 months here), so it holds up pretty well. Not sure about any of the other options.
Name: Bev
Salem OR (Zone 8a)
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webesemps
Sep 17, 2013 5:28 PM CST
Thanks for the tip, Bit! Smiling
Name: Ginger
Fountain, Florida (Zone 8b)
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gingin
Sep 21, 2013 6:15 PM CST
Rob... love your avatar. He/she looks so sweet Lovey dubby Lovey dubby Lovey dubby I use leaves, pine cones and sand, all of which I have in abundance here. I add the sand last as the leaves and pine cones will break down. I have also put screen in first to cover the holes to keep the dirt from going right out of the holes. And sometimes if screen isn't handy I cover the holes with BIG leaves...keeps the dirt in long enough for the plant to get established
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chelle
Sep 21, 2013 7:29 PM CST
All great ideas for bottom filler materials -especially for ornamental plantings. Thumbs up

I usually use empty bottles or cans and crushed nursery pots in mine; however, this year I added one more item. I saved both halves of my winter sowing jugs and used them as well.
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Name: Jo Ann Gentle
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ge1836
Sep 22, 2013 2:38 AM CST
We bought a new gas grill.I hope there are big pices of solid plastic fill inside the box.I'll cut it up for planter fill.
Chelle! great idea wintersow jugs.I will keep my milk containers for fill too. I think this year the containers will get a re new of soil.
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
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valleylynn
Sep 22, 2013 8:53 AM CST

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I love the idea of milk jugs, almost everyone has those.
Name: Susan
Zone 5b (Zone 5b)

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gardenersdetective
Sep 22, 2013 9:32 PM CST
Milk jugs, coffee creamer containers (dh must have his hazelnut creamer), plastic bags from grocery store, empty 4" pots and six packs from annuals fill the bottom of my containers. One of the worst filling I ever used was packing popcorn. When I decided to empty it out to replenish with fresh potting medium and forgot the Styrofoam popcorn was at the bottom I think it took me a year to finally pick it all out of the garden. Hilarious!

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