What to Put in the Bottom of a Large Planter

pot plant image by Gina Smith from Fotolia.com

Potted plants are a way to bring nature indoors or to organise an outdoor garden. Extra-large containers are decorative and many larger plants with heavy trunks or expansive root systems require larger planters to provide adequate support.

Fillers at the bottoms of large planters are used for promoting proper drainage and reducing the weight of the pot if soil alone would be too heavy.


Before you line the bottom of your planter with a filler material, consider the needs of your plant. If the filler material covers the holes at the bottom of the planter, your plant won't be able to drain properly and you may end up causing a root rot or even drown your plant. If you need to reduce the weight of your plant so the container can be easily moved, stick to lightweight fillers that replace heavier soil materials. If you want to make your plant bottom heavy so it is less prone to tipping, opt for filler materials that are heavier than the top soil.

Natural Fillers

If you want to avoid using synthetic materials in your planters, natural fillers made from all-natural or organic materials are options for lining the bottom of your planters. The same bark mulch that lines your outdoor shrubs is a suitable option for filling the bottom of your planters; mulch is natural and won't interfere with the regular drainage of your soil. If you have a yard full of evergreen trees, collect a bucket of pine cones for a simple, effective option for naturally filling the bottom of your planters.

Recycled Materials

Several household items in your home are suitable for reuse as planter fillers. Packing peanuts are a preferred option for lining large planters. Packing peanuts are nearly weightless and provide ample draining space for your soil. To avoid hassle during replanting, keep the peanuts in a mesh bag so they don't mix in with your soil. If you regularly recycle cans, keep seven to 10 out and cut them into thirds to line the bottom of your planters without adding any weight to the containers.

Weighted Fillers

If you are worried about your large containers tipping, weighing the bottom of your containers is a way to avoid messy spills. Rocks or pebbles are a natural option for the bottom of large planters; they add weight without interfering with drainage or introducing unnatural materials into your planters. Old bricks broken into large chunks are also an option for weighing down the bottom of containers and keeping soil drainage effective.