Thursday, June 5, 2014

How to Use Cast Iron Urns as Planters

Every antique shop and garden center has cast iron urns for sale because they make amazing and uniquely stylish planters! As we move from spring to summer, it's time to think about what planters you want around your property, and there is nothing more beautiful and classy than using cast iron urns. But how do you make the most of them as planters? Here are four guidelines to help make yours perfect:


  1. Protect your urn – Cast iron is famed for staying rust-free much longer than other iron objects, and many urns have a protective coat applied over them. However, if your urn is going to be used as a planter, it will be exposed to a lot of water and the elements – meaning it may oxidize over time. Unless you don't mind it changing color and possibly deteriorating, you should get a rust-proofing spray that is meant for cast iron and apply it to the outside and inside of your urn. If your urn has a patina, make sure the spray will not affect it and try a test spot on the bottom first!
  2. Pot or no pot? – In general, gardeners tend to put the soil in a pot that fits inside the urn, rather than the urn itself—but this isn't always necessary. If you want to be able to trade out the flowers regularly, or want a lighter urn that is easier to move, then using a pot is a good idea. But if you are making a long-term planter, then filling the whole urn with soil allows the plants to develop more roots and ultimately grow bigger and healthier.
  3. Water retention – Iron warms quickly in the sun or even the shade on a hot summer day. This can "bake" the water out of the soil inside the urn, leading to dead plants, even if you're water them daily. To prevent this, use a layer of water-retaining gel crystals underneath the roots of the plant, or even just peat moss. This may be wise even if you are using a pot inside your urn.
  4. Drainage holes – Many cast iron urns for sale for gardening use have large drainage holes on the bottom to let out excess water so that the plant isn't oversaturated or start to mold. If your urn doesn't have one of these, you'll need to be very careful about how much water you give the plant or, if it's outside, how much rainfall it gets. Put plants on a covered porch or in a garage during rainstorms outside. Make sure that the soil beneath the plant is kept somewhat moist, but never sopping.
When you find cast iron urns for sale, how do you put them to use in your garden or home?

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