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11 Surprisingly cool ways to dress up potted plants

Something’s missing in your garden — you just don’t know it yet. There’s one sure way to make an average garden stand out: Revamp drab terra cotta planters with a few creative hacks.

The good thing about flower pots is that they’re easy to come by. You can get a terra cotta pot for 77 cents at Walmart. They also sell mini clay pots at the dollar store for — you guessed it — a dollar. A larger terra cotta window box may run you $60.

So the good news is that terra cotta pots are cheap. The bad news is that they are as basic as a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte. Meaning, it’s going to take a little creativity and elbow grease to reinvent the wheel here.

You’re in luck because I’ve done your homework for you. Here are 11 impressive ways to give your potted plant an upgrade:

1. Chalkboard


Chalkboard paint, where have you been all my life? Turn an old flower pot into a personalized chalkboard for a teacher gift, or leave it on your doorstep with a creepy message to scare off neighborhood children.

2. Decoupage


Image: Dena Designs

Dena Designs, a lifestyle designer with product lines found in stores like Bed Bath & Beyond and Nordstrom, makes slapping fabric on a pot look easy. She tells SheKnows, “Decoupage pots with fabric designs bring you happiness and inspiration. Finish it off by adding your favorite bright flowers. The combination makes for such a bold, stylish pop that will be authentically you.”

3. Gems


Image: Busy Hands Art

A bag of craft gems, a blank pot and a hot glue gun — now this is a project I can get behind. Rachel Ruppel, florist on BloomNation and owner of Rachel’s Rose Garden in Wilmore, Kentucky, says, “Another artsy DIY option is to collect stones or other small, relatively flat objects to glue around the side of the pot.”

4. Lace and spray paint


Image: Debra, Flickr

Instead of paying a whole dollar for a terra cotta pot, take your thrifting to the next level, like Lindsay Neff of Larkspur Botanicals does. Neff says that she scores free pots (not to be confused with “free pot”) on Craigslist and then dresses them up with lace-inspired graffiti, “If you have some scrap lace lying around, place it against your pot and hold it firmly in place with tape. Spray paint the pot and let it sit for a minute. Remove the lace, be careful not to smudge while the paint is still slightly wet (so that it doesn’t adhere to the pot) and behold your design.”

5. Mosaic


Creating a mosaic on a flower pot is a brilliant idea that can go one of two ways: You cut to the chase and buy a mosaic flower pot for 50 bucks, or you make your own with a few broken dishes and pieces of ceramic tile. (, $50)

6. Moss


Image: smackfu, Flickr

Filed under “cool things I didn’t know until today,” Neff shares that you can grow moss both inside and outside of a pot. She tells SheKnows, “Moss-covered pots are great for the warmer months but could also be transferred indoors. In order to achieve this look, you will need to start with terra cotta pots. Terra cotta holds moisture and will act as a great host to the moss. First, buy sheet moss from your local gardening center. Put two handfuls of live moss in a blender, add one cup buttermilk (it is food for the moss) and one cup water. Blend the mixture until smooth. Take a paintbrush and paint the outside of your terra cotta pot. Mist the pot every day or so, and it will begin to grow moss on the sides. I use this look for events that want a lived in and rustic vibe.”

7. Paint


Image: Nerissa Alford, Flickr

As the saying goes: If the barn needs painting, paint it! Ruppel continues, “If you’re feeling artsy and brave, spruce up plain clay pot covers with your own painted designs to fit your personal home decor. This could be an intricate pattern or as simple as dabbing polka dots in a band around the top of the pot. Let your creative juices flow on this one.”

8. Puff paint


Image: Apartment Therapy

I may have spent way too much time puff painting my Keds in the ’80s, but this project is right up my alley. Apartment Therapy breaks down the incredibly simple process of using puff paint to jazz up a ho-hum planter.

9. Solar lights


There are still plenty of potted plant hacks, even if you don’t consider yourself the crafty type. Carrie Aulenbacher, author and gardening enthusiast, says, “I’ve been looking at fiber optic solar lights as a fun way to dress up my potted plants this summer. That way they can offer entertainment 24/7.” (, $14)

10. Stencils


Damn that Martha Stewart if she doesn’t know everything. Martha Stewart’s terra cotta pot stencil tutorial for Michaels is surprisingly easy and can be used to personalize pots in under 30 minutes. (, $18)

11. Vintage books



Though not technically a potted plant upgrade, this vintage book planter is too irresistible to leave off the list. Trisha Antonsen of explains how to make your own hipster-inspired planter at home in just three steps: “Be sure to start with a book that’s at least three inches thick. Step one: Glue the edges of the book pages together to secure. Step two: Open up the book and cut out a rectangular section inside about 1-1/2 inches down with a craft knife. Cut holes all the way through for drainage. Step three: Line the inside with parchment paper and add the plant. Finish the look by keeping the edges of the parchment paper visible.”

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7 Trendy garden ideas for the hipster gardener
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