How to make a planter from a crate

You don't need to purchase flower pots if you want to plant in containers. Recycle old wooden or plastic crates, such as milk crates, into planters. Wooden crates are an attractive choice, but plastic crates provide a durable if utilitarian choice. The crates must be prepared for planting because most have slats or holes in the side and bottom, which must be blocked so that they can hold the soil while providing drainage.

Wash crates in soapy water then rinse in clear water. Use two to three squirts of dish soap in the water. Allow wooden crates to dry completely before using.

Paint the outside of the crate with latex paint that's rated for outdoor use, if desired. Let the paint dry before planting.

Line the interior of the crate with landscaping fabric. Staple the edges of the fabric to the rim of the crate to hold it in place with a heavy duty stapler. The fabric keeps the soil in place while allowing water drainage.

Fill the crate with soil to within 2 inches of the rim. Place your plants in the soil, planting them at the same depth they were growing in their previous pot.


Line the crate with a coconut fibre or sphagnum moss mat instead of using landscape fabric. Plant trailing plants, such as ivy, between the side slats on the crate so that the plants trail down the side. Cut a slit through the landscape fabric to plant through.


The soil in crates dries out quickly because moisture is lost through the side slats. These planters require more frequent watering.

Things You'll Need

  • Dish soap
  • Latex paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Landscaping fabric
  • Heavy-duty stapler
  • Potting soil
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About the Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.