tips + how-tos

my favorite potting tricks

Ryan’s time working in one of Knoxville’s local plant nurseries has proven to be handy every now and again. The experience he gained working at Thress Nursery is something his degrees couldn’t provide. Among many other things, he learned all kinds of great potting tricks. They are too good not to share, and who better to share with than you all.


It always seems to happen. You bring new plants home to be potted in a container that you already have on hand, but the container swallows the plant up. You can choose to use a lot more soil and deal giving you a super heavy pot or you can use one of the tricks Ryan taught me.

My favorite potting tricks

If you are a lady like me, you want to keep an already heavy flower pot from gaining even more with all of the potting soil. In reality most plants doesn’t even tap into all that soil. So why not use different things to take up space in the pot to save soil and keep the pot light? Here are some easy ways to do just that:

Reuse packing peanuts.
Filling the bottom of the pot with packing peanuts (the non-biodegradable kind) is an easy way to take up space and keep the pot lighter than it otherwise would be if packed with soil. Packing peanuts drain well, they are reusable, and it keeps them out of the trash.

Container products.
While we always prefer to reuse what we can, there are products like Packing Pearls and Ups-a-Daisy that do exactly what our hacks do. Even if you opt for the store bought products, it’s still a great way to save your back and ultimately money on potting soil.

Reuse a nursery pot.
Our favorite trick is using a cheap plastic container and placing it upside down in the bottom of the large planter. You may even be able to use the container your new plant came in.


If possible, choose a plastic container with small or no holes in the bottom so soil doesn’t slip through. If the container used has holes, you cover them up with landscape fabric or scrap wood to cover them. We ended up using a scrap piece of cedar wood in our green pot from The Barn.

To hold the upside down pot in place and aid in drainage, we added a small amount of gravel around the base.


Then, we started adding the potting soil mix leaving room for the plant.


There’s all kinds of inventive ways to fill up some space in a pot. Just be sure to leave plenty of room for your plants roots to develop. You (and your back) will be thankful you made things lighter on yourself when you carrying your plants back in forth from inside and outside. I feel like we will be back to another seasonal transition in no time- this summer is flying by.

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