One-stop Guide About Filling Large Planters | From Potting Soil To Drainage Holes

When it comes to creating stunning container gardens, whether you’re sprucing up your home or enhancing your business, there’s nothing quite like the charm of a sizable planter. Large planters are versatile, making them ideal for elevating your space’s aesthetics, dividing areas effectively, and creating a captivating focal point.

Imagine walking into a café adorned with lush greenery in impressive large plant pots – it’s an inviting sight for anyone! That’s why incorporating tall and large planters is a trend that’s taking the design world by storm, adding a touch of contemporary elegance to both indoor and outdoor spaces.

Before we start, let’s learn a bit about plant pot sizes.

The Importance Of Proper Planting In Large Planters

Do You Need Filler Material for Your Large Planters?

large round outdoor planters
©Jay Scotts

You might be wondering whether it’s necessary to use filler materials like clay balls or pine cones at the bottom of your large planter. While it’s not a strict requirement, there are some essential factors to consider when dealing with substantial planters.

Some gardeners prefer filling their large planters entirely with potting soil, believing that ample space promotes optimal root growth for their plants. They have a point – more soil often translates to healthier growth, whether it’s succulents or towering trees.

From a practical perspective, using pot fillers and ensuring proper drainage is crucial. Firstly, it saves you money since high-quality potting soil can be expensive, and most plants don’t require that much of it. Additionally, using different fillers allows you to adjust the planter’s weight based on your needs and the size of the drainage holes. Proper drainage is vital for preventing waterlogging, especially in tall planters where soil compression can impede water drainage and lead to root rot.

So, while it’s not mandatory to use fillers in large planters, it’s certainly a smart choice!

Choosing The Best Pot Fillers for Your Potted Plant

Now, let’s delve into the types of fillers you can use to optimize your large planters, depending on your specific needs.

©The Gates / Jay Scotts

Lightweight Pot Fillers

Consider the mobility of your container garden. If you plan to move your large planters around, lightweight fillers are your best bet. This is particularly important if you use large planters as temporary dividers, or if you like to change your garden layout frequently.

Even materials like clay, ceramic, and porcelain pots can become heavy, especially when filled with potting soil. To keep things light, here are some lightweight pot filler options:

  • Coconut fiber
  • Paper cups
  • Wood chips
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Recycled cardboard pieces
  • Pinecones

Non-Biodegradable Materials

If you prefer fillers that won’t decompose over time, you can choose from various non-biodegradable options:

  • Styrofoam peanuts/ packing peanuts
  • Crushed soda cans
  • Foam blocks
  • Empty potting soil bag
  • Plastic milk jugs
  • Plastic bottles/ plastic containers
  • Bubble wrap
  • Empty potting soil bags
  • Empty plastic containers

Heavy Pot Fillers

On the other hand, there are situations where you’ll want heavy containers for your garden or landscaping needs. If you’re planting trees or larger plants in tall planters, they require a stable and secure base to support the weight of the plant without toppling over.

Other scenarios that might call for heavy, immovable containers include using them as property fences, parking area dividers, or in high-traffic areas where security is a concern. Here are some heavy pot filler options:

Compostable Materials

  • Broken ceramic
  • Wood logs
  • Tree branches

Non-Biodegradable Materials

  • Large rocks
  • Broken pieces of concrete
  • Gravel
  • Sand
  • Glass pebbles
  • Empty beer or wine bottles
  • Old golf balls

Compostable vs. Non-Biodegradable Pot Fillers

We’ve categorized these heavy pot fillers into two groups: compostable and non-biodegradable materials. Your choice depends on your specific gardening needs and the type of plants you intend to grow.

Compostable fillers break down over time, which can benefit plant growth by providing natural nutrients to the soil. However, they will need replenishing as they decompose.

Non-biodegradable options, like plastic bottles and styrofoam, won’t break down in your lifetime and are environmentally friendly for repurposing old items. However, they may collect water, which can introduce bacteria to your plants.

If you’re growing edible plants, be extra cautious about filler materials, as they can affect the plants’ health. In such cases, it’s better to use pure potting soil.

Ultimately, the choice of filler material should align with the specific needs of your plants and the best soil for large planters.

Related article: How To Plant Flowers In Large Planters & Bulk Flower Arrangement Ideas

Steps to Prepare Your Large Planter for Planting

  1. Select Your Large Planter: Choose a durable planter material that suits your plant’s needs, and you can explore a range of options at your local garden center. Plastic plant pots, appreciated for their versatility and durability, are a popular choice, making them a great option for small gardening projects. However, fiberglass planters are highly recommended for their sturdiness and versatility when it comes to bigger projects.
  2. Ensure Adequate Drainage: Ensure your large planter has at least one drainage hole at the bottom to prevent root rot. You can always opt to install your drainage holes with a masonry drill bit to avoid any inconvenience.
  3. Add the Pot Filler: Based on your space requirements, add the appropriate filler material to the bottom of your large planter. Light or heavy fillers can be used as needed, but don’t overfill, leaving room for root growth.
  4. Place Landscape Fabric: Prevent soil from sifting through the gaps between fillers by layering landscape fabric, plastic screen, mesh, cheesecloth, or newspaper. Ensure proper water flow for drainage.
  5. Fill with Potting Soil: Fill the large planter with potting soil, leaving about two inches of space below the rim to prevent water overflow. Avoid using garden soil, as it may contain weed seeds and lack sufficient nutrients.
  6. Plant Your Choice of Plants: Plant your desired greenery in the center of the large container, ensuring that no roots are exposed. Water thoroughly until excess water drains from the bottom.

See the most popular 9 types of plant pots and make the right investment for your garden!

How Much Filler to Use for Your Large Container?

large round outdoor planters
©THE PLANT GUY / Jay Scotts

Optimal root growth is crucial for the health of your plants. In general, bigger is better, as a larger planter reduces the need for repotting and provides ample space for plants to thrive.

Herbs and Vegetables: Most herbs can grow well with 6 to 8 inches of depth, while vegetables like Beans, Beets, Cucumbers, Garlic, Peppers, Lettuce, Kale, and Spinach require a minimum depth of around 8 to 10 inches. Large planters are perfect for growing vegetables and offer easy management and an eye-catching look.

Annuals: These plants have shallow root systems and typically require 4 to 8 inches of depth.

Perennials: Perennials need a planting depth of 8 inches, while trees require a depth at least twice that of their root ball. When in doubt, speak to your landscape professional about the exact needs of your perennial plant.

Your container garden can feature a mix of the above plants for year-round beauty. Round planters are particularly suitable for flowering plants and are available in various shapes and styles to enhance your business or home environment.

For more large plant pots inspiration, check out these 4 Inexpensive Large Planter Ideas.

Why Is Fiberglass the Best Material for Big Planters?

filling large planters
©Plant Parents FL / Jay Scotts

Selecting the right material for your large planters is a pivotal decision, especially when you’re dealing with substantial planters. When it comes to large planters, you need a container that’s not only durable but also reliable and capable of withstanding the test of time.

Your options include terracotta, metal, plastic, wood, and more. Among these choices, fiberglass stands out as the preferred material within the commercial gardening community, and for good reason.

Landscape professionals favor fiberglass for its outstanding qualities. Here’s why fiberglass is the top choice for large planters:

  • Lightweight: Fiberglass planters are known for their lightweight nature, making them easy to move and install, even in larger sizes.
  • Durable: Fiberglass is a highly durable material, ensuring that your planters can withstand the elements and remain in excellent condition over time.
  • Weather-Resistant: Unlike clay or terracotta planters, which are typically seasonal and can’t endure harsh weather conditions, fiberglass planters can remain outdoors year-round, maintaining their pristine appearance.
  • Versatile: Fiberglass planters come in a wide variety of colors, shapes, and textures. They can even be customized to suit your project’s specific requirements and complement your business branding style.

Fiberglass planters offer the best of both worlds: a sturdy and dependable container that’s also versatile and visually appealing.

Learn Why Fiberglass Planters Are Preferred By Landscapers And Homeowners

Fill It Up

Round planters with different sizes
©Residence San Jose Michigan / Jay Scotts

For tall and large planters, fiberglass continues to be the top choice material for landscapers, as they can be produced in huge sizes while still remaining lightweight.

Versatile, sturdy, and long-lasting, the best part about our products is that our fiberglass planters are basically zero-maintenance. They do well in restaurants, outdoor decks, campuses, and car parks, with unmatched professional design exterior and flexible style.

The quality of the planter is especially important when it comes to larger planters, as the stability and sturdiness of the container must not be compromised.

To underscore our commitment to quality and performance, all our planters come with an industry-leading warranty.

With that in mind, whether you are using a large planter to grow an indoor tree or an herb garden project, we hope this guide will show you the best method to fill the container to suit your needs and to ensure that your plants grow happily and healthy.

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