How to Plant in Garden Tub Planters

Learn how to plant in vintage galvanized garden tub planters of any kind. Here are simple steps to planting in washtubs, old buckets and even troughs.

I love to add a bit of character and farmhouse charm to the vegetable, herb or flower garden by using vintage galvanized garden tub planters. It’s easy to turn anything into a planter with just a few tips.

Vintage Garden Tub Planters

Galvanized Tubs and Buckets as Garden Container Planters

I have long had a love for old galvanized buckets, washtubs, enamel buckets and a wide variety of what others might consider junk. Where some see pieces that need to be discarded, I see pieces that can be reused or up-cycled into something else.

Where to Find Vintage Galvanized Tubs Gardening

You can find containers for planting in a lot of places. Most hardware stores or feed stores will sell them brand new but I personally love to search through flea markets, vintage shops and garage sales.

The majority of my buckets, I purchased for just a few dollars. If the buckets already have holes, go ahead and purchase them because they are just what you need for using in the flower garden.

Vintage Garden Tub Planters for Flowers and Vegetables

How to Use a Galvanized Metal Garden Tub Planters

You can literally turn just about anything into a planter. The old metal milk crate shown above, belonged to my grandparents. I loved the character of the piece and the uniqueness that it added to the grouping on my stairs.

To turn it into a planter, I simply used garden landscape fabric to create a barrier to keep the soil inside the milk crate. Once the landscape fabric was in place, I added the dirt and then the plants. The landscape fabric provided drainage for water so that the roots of the plants were never sitting in water. Adequate drainage is always the first essential step when planting in containers.

Vintage Front Porch Galvanized Garden Tub Planters

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Vintage Farmhouse Style Planters

Galvanized Garden Planting Containers

Even an old oil pan that I found at a junk yard can be used a vintage galvanized garden tub planter. For this vintage container, I screwed it to the door of my rustic garden shed and added a plant.

DIY Galvanized Planter

There are so many pieces that you can combine to create a visual height using vintage garden tub galvanized planters. When I plant in the flower garden, I try to add a variety of elements at different heights. This helps to create a visual interest and keeps the eyes moving.

Sometimes, I like to take two separate galvanized pieces, and create one garden planter. In the photo below, I used landscape fabric on the inside of the top piece to hold dirt and yet still provide water drainage. I then added the dirt and plants.

Vintage Garden Tub Planters
Vintage Garden Tub Planters

Can You Plant in Vintage Galvanized Containers

Galvanized buckets make great planters. Not only do they look beautiful but they last for a long time and can be used year after year. There are a few steps to take before you plant in galvanized tubs and buckets.

How to Plant in Vintage Galvanized Planters

  1. Drill drainage holes. This is the most important step when planting in any type of container. There has to be adequate drainage for the water to escape. I have used a drill to drill holes in the bottom of the buckets, tubs or pails, and I have also used a large nail that I hammered into the bottom of my container to make a hole. After I hammered the nail into the bottom of the bucket, I just pulled the nail back out and then continued to add more holes around the bottom.
  2. Place the container and fill with dirt. Decide where you want the container to be and then fill with good quality dirt, and some compost.
  3. Start planting. This is always my favorite part and last year I planted with all white and green flowers. I love the beauty of the white flowers against the galvanized containers and the texture of the various green leaves.
Vintage Garden Tub Planters

Growing Perennials in Vintage Galvanized Bucket Planters

I have had great success with planting Hostas in containers. We are located in Missouri and each year they return after the winter season. There is such a wide assortment of Hostas and each one is different which means that they add a great visual interest to the flower garden.

So, don’t be afraid to try growing some perennials in containers. If you live in an area with bitterly cold temperatures, try adding a layer of mulch to the top of the bucket and placing it under a porch or in a building. Generally, the plant will return when the weather warms up.

Vintage Garden Trough Planters

Large Galvanized Washtub Planter With Stand for Gardening

Washtubs are a great place to plant herbs or flowers. They have a lot of depth and can support taller flowers or herbs. If you are limited on space they are the perfect option for using on a porch or patio. Just be sure to provide a lot of sunshine and again have adequate water drainage.

Vintage Galvanized Washtub with Stand

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Vintage Garden Tub Planters

Do you use galvanized buckets, pails, washtubs or other vintage pieces in your garden? I would love to know if you do and if you have any tips to share. What are some of your favorite flowers to grown in containers?

Thanks so much for taking the stop and visit today!

Thank you for sharing!

11 thoughts on “How to Plant in Garden Tub Planters”

  1. I place pieces of styrofoam or packing peanuts in the bottom of my large planters before adding dirt and plants. By doing this the planters are much lighter and easier to move. It also helps with drainage.

  2. I’ve heard that they can get very hot in the summer and that insulation may be required. I wonder if you have any thoughts?
    Thank you, Debra

  3. Years ago I found a galvanized mop bucket. I like to plant white alyssum around the edges so it looks like soap bubbles spilling out. Love your site!!


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