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Upper Midwest Gardening: Turn a Watering Can into a Planter

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Every gardener has her favorite gardening tool. Mine is a galvanized red-tipped watering can.

watering can
hand dirt

My watering can was a gift from my grandfather, who taught me the joys of gardening. The can has been around the country, worked a lot of gardens and saved me in a pinch on summer's sizzling-hot days. Unfortunately, time took its toll, and rust chewed through the bottom, turning the water-carrying vessel into a sieve.

I couldn't trash this keepsake, so I turned it into a blooming heirloom treasure. And that's the beauty of container gardening: If it holds soil, it can house plants! Just about any container will do, as long as there are drainage holes.

The success of a potted garden starts with soil. I always start with a new batch and prefer using a mix enhanced with water polymers (they retain water and help keep the plant hydrated) and timed-released fertilizer, which feeds the plants when I forget.

white leaves

I selected a variety of white and purple plants: geraniums, Angelonia, ageratum and dusty miller. All of these plants are annuals, which mean they will bloom continuously all summer long. And they all need the same sun requirement - full sun.



Often, plants will have overgrown their pots. Roots are encircled at the base. When I see this, I always gently tear the root ball. This helps the plant spread its feet and get established. And because of our short growing season, I pack in as many plants as the pot can hold. Sure it's tight, but that way I get colorful drama quickly!?? Watering will be crucial here, since there isn't a lot of soil. So I will babysit it all summer long while thinking good thoughts of my grandfather, and the wonderful times we shared getting our hands dirty together.

See more Midwest Gardening Articles.

Watch how I did it.