If you are using a large planter, chances are you are not going to want to fill the entire pot with potting soil and in most cases, it's not necessary. Below are some ideas on materials to use to fill the bottom of a large planter.
Do Some Research
First, look up the plant online or ask a local garden store how much depth the roots of your plant or tree need. This information will let you know how much potting soil you will need. Using high-quality potting soil is recommended since outdoor soil can be contaminated with weeds or other unhealthy substances for your plant.
For the space left over, you will need to choose an appropriate filler.
Lightweight Filler for Pots
When working with large planters that tend to be heavier, chances are you will want to go with a lightweight filler. If you are going to display the planter in a permanent spot, this may not be as important. A lightweight filler will help if you plan to move the plant occasionally.
Options for Lightweight Pot Fillers
- Recycle Plastics
- Plastic Water/Soda Bottles
- Plastic Milk Jugs
- Plastic Grocery Store Bags
- Reuse Packing Materials
- Packing Peanuts (You can put the peanuts in an empty potting soil bag to keep them more secure and better contained if you decided to repot. Also make sure they aren’t the kind that dissolve when wet.)
- Styrofoam Blocks
- Unused Plastic Pots Turned Upside Down
- Recycled Crushed Cans
- Natural Materials
- Wood Chips, Pine Cones, Leaves, Sticks (These materials will break down over time but work fine for seasonal planters.)
- Recycled Cardboard, Newspaper (Also for short term use only.)
Heavy Pot Fillers
There are a number of reasons you might want to use a heavier filler for your planter. For example, if you are using a tall lightweight planter with a large tree that needs some extra stability.
- Broken Pieces of Ceramic, Brick, etc.
- Large Rocks
- Wood Logs
The filler material you use should be sturdy enough to hold the potting soil so it won't sink down over time. Adding a piece of landscaping fabric on top of the filler will also help, ensuing the soil will not fall through any cracks.
These are just a few ideas, but you can get creative with other fillers, just use whatever you have lying around. Usually, there is no need to go buy a filler, chances are you already have items you can recycle.
Have you used other materials you liked? Let us know in the comments.