The old expression says, “Don’t cry over spilled milk,” but the same is true of broken pots. It’s too bad they won’t work as containers anymore, but the shards can be turned into treasure. If you have broken containers, don’t throw them out! You can upcycle them in your garden.
1. Turn The Old Pot Into A New Planter
When a rounded ceramic pot or vase gets a hole in the side, expand on the idea. Gently tap the sides of the opening with a small hammer or another blunt instrument to create a hole big enough to plant a few small succulents or a trailing vine.
Then nestle the pot into the soil in your garden with the broken side facing the sun. Add soil and plants. Voila! A new planter from an old pot.
2. Make Shards Into Mulch
It costs money to replace broken garden pots, but you’ll gain a bit of your investment back if you recycle the pieces as mulch. This garden superstar prevents weeds, evens out soil temperatures and helps retain moisture.
To make a broken clay pot into valuable mulching material, place the broken pot into a reusable shopping bag or old pillowcase. Pound it into coin-size pieces using a brick or hammer. Pour the pieces from the bag to the garden border.
3. Corral An Invasive Plant
If you break the bottom of a pot, no problem. Just use the new configuration to corral invasive plants like mint within your garden.
Ideally, you’ll be able to “plant” the broken pot a few inches deep into cultivated soil early in the season and then insert the invasive seedling inside.
When a plant like lemon balm is already taking over, clip it back and dig a 2-inch deep trench around it. Then place the broken pot around the plant and tamp it into the trench.
4. Build A House That Appeals To Toads
Even the squeamish want as many toads as possible in the garden to keep the pest population under control (slugs and mosquitos, for example,) The nice thing is, a broken pot suits toads looking for housing just fine.
Upend a pot that has a chip or chunk out of the rim area to form the base of the house. If you want to get fancy, paint a welcome sign or add other adornments. If you offer a little water in a dish, toads have extra incentive to seek shelter there.
5. Do Drainage With Salvage
Indoor and container plants both benefit from a layer of drainage materials that help keep water from pooling around the roots.
Instead of trashing broken ceramic or clay pots, save them for potting plants. Use a rolling pin or brick to crush them into postage stamp-size pieces and store them in a pot or box.
When your plants graduate to new pots or you’re ready to plant patio tomatoes, you’ll be glad you already have drainage materials at the ready.