Alternative to Coir Basket Liners

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Posted by @rosesse on
Trish said in a recent podcast that she dislikes coir liners for baskets. So do I!

I don't like the look of coir liners and, for me, they were a constant watering challenge. I tried plastic liners, drip irrigation, even disposable diapers under the potting soil, but nothing worked.

At the same frustrating time, I discovered the worthlessness of black landscape fabric under mulch, and I still had a big roll of the stuff in the shed. One gardening day, the chore of pulling up old fabric and the chore of dumping the hanging baskets into the compost bin coincided.

Now I use black landscape fabric to line my wire baskets. For the round ones, start with a square of fabric that will overlap all the basket edges. On top of the fabric, place a piece of plastic cut from a black trash liner (or a potting soil bag or a plastic shopping bag, anything will work). The plastic doesn't need to line the whole basket, just about midway. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the plastic. Fill with potting soil to about 1" from the top of the basket, place the plants, and water well. Then trim the fabric even with the top of the basket. It's important to have the full weight of the soil and plants in the basket before trimming. The fabric will sag a bit.

Thumb of 2015-04-26/rosesse/a0c361 This is a round basket just planted with a Boston fern. In a few weeks, the fern will grow over the edge, and the liner will settle into the bottom of the basket. You can see that I didn't water thoroughly enough before trimming and my liner will be a bit below the basket when it fully settles. It won't matter; the soil holds together after a few waterings and won't trickle out.

Thumb of 2015-04-26/rosesse/86f547 This is a wire trough basket with last year's fabric and this year's impatiens seedlings. You can see how the fabric has molded itself to the basket. Last fall, I pulled out the dead plants and left the old potting soil in place to protect the fabric and plastic from the weather. This spring, I refreshed the soil and planted. The impatiens will spread to completely cover the soil by early June. Although the fabric has faded a bit, there was no deterioration.

You can see from the pictures that the landscape fabric blends with the wire baskets. I think that looks better than the contrast of the tan coir.

I garden in the middle of Kansas, with many June, July, August, September, and even October days over 100°. The black fabric doesn't hold the heat at all. The baskets are on the same watering schedule as the rest of my containers.

Another alternative: If you don't have a roll of black landscape fabric handy and you have just a few planters to fill, you can use black fabric fleece from the fabric store. It's 58" wide, polyester (won't rot), and often goes on sale for less than $5 a yard. And if you are more adventurous than I, you can buy neon green or hot pink or camo or animal prints or sports teams. Hmmm, Boston fern in a Boston Bruins pot?

Comments and Discussion
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Just what I needed! by slywlf Sep 4, 2016 3:09 PM 0
Great idea! by dmurray407 Apr 14, 2016 3:03 PM 0
Untitled by KurtMN Jun 20, 2015 9:56 AM 0
Wonderful idea! by plantladylin Jun 20, 2015 9:34 AM 1
Fleece by faithsewin Jun 20, 2015 9:33 AM 1
A Word in Season by tabbycat Jun 16, 2015 9:08 AM 4
Excellent idea, and timely! by woofie Jun 15, 2015 9:19 PM 0
Zip ties by Bubbles Jun 15, 2015 8:16 PM 0
Steeler pots.... by klc Jun 15, 2015 7:56 PM 0

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