How To Plant In Large Planter [ Full Guide ]

Large planters can be a stunning addition to any outdoor space, adding visual interest and allowing for the cultivation of a wide variety of plants. Whether you’re looking to liven up your patio, terrace, or backyard, planting in large planters provides the opportunity to create beautiful, dynamic displays of flowers, herbs, or even small trees.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore everything you need to know about planting in large planters. From choosing the right planter size to selecting the appropriate plants and preparing the planter for planting, we will cover each step in detail to ensure that your planting endeavor is a success.

Quick Answer: How To Plant In Large Planter

If you’re looking for a concise overview of the key steps involved in planting in a large planter, here’s a quick summary:

  1. Choose the right planter size: Ensure that the planter is large enough to accommodate the mature size of the plants you intend to grow.
  2. Select the right location for your planter: Consider factors such as sunlight, wind exposure, and proximity to water sources.
  3. Prepare the planter for planting: Add drainage material, potting mix, and consider adding a water reservoir if necessary.
  4. Choose appropriate plants: Select plants that thrive in the conditions of your chosen location and complement each other in terms of growth habits, colors, and textures.

Now, let’s delve into each of these steps in more detail.

Choosing The Right Planter Size

The first and most crucial step in planting in a large planter is selecting the right size for your intended plants. The size of the planter will directly impact the growth and health of your plants, as well as the overall aesthetic appeal of your outdoor space.

When choosing a planter size, consider the following factors:

Plant Size And Growth Requirements

It’s essential to consider the mature size of the plants you wish to grow in the planter. Select a planter that provides ample room for the roots to spread and accommodate the eventual size of the foliage and flowers. Keep in mind that plants grown in containers often require more space than those planted directly in the ground.

Aesthetic Proportion

The planter should also be in proportion to the surrounding area. A planter that is too small may appear insignificant, while one that is too large can overwhelm the space. Consider the scale of your outdoor area and the visual impact you wish to achieve when choosing a planter size.

Practical Considerations

In addition to aesthetics, consider practical aspects such as ease of maintenance and the weight of the planter. Large planters can be heavy, especially when filled with soil and plants, so ensure that the location you choose can support the weight. Additionally, if you plan to move the planter occasionally, consider opting for a lightweight material such as fiberglass or resin.

Selecting The Right Location For Your Planter

The location of your large planter can significantly influence the success of your plants. Factors such as sunlight exposure, wind conditions, and access to water will all play a role in determining the health and vigor of the plants you choose to cultivate.

Sunlight Exposure

Most plants require a certain amount of sunlight to thrive. Before deciding on a location for your planter, observe the sunlight patterns in different areas of your outdoor space. Take note of how many hours of direct sunlight the area receives, as well as any periods of shade. Choose a location that aligns with the sunlight requirements of the plants you intend to grow.

Wind Exposure

Wind can have a drying or damaging effect on plants, especially those in containers. Consider the wind patterns in your outdoor space and select a location that provides some protection from strong winds. If your chosen location is particularly windy, you may need to provide a windbreak, such as a trellis or decorative fencing, to shield your plants.

Water Access

Consider the proximity of your planter to a water source. While large planters can hold more soil and retain moisture better than smaller containers, it’s still essential to have convenient access to water for regular watering. If your chosen location is far from a water source, consider installing a drip irrigation system or using a long hose to ensure that your plants receive adequate hydration.

Visual Impact

In addition to practical considerations, think about the visual impact of your planter in its chosen location. Consider the surrounding landscape, nearby architectural features, and how the planter will contribute to the overall aesthetics of the space. The planter should complement its surroundings and enhance the beauty of the area.

Preparing The Planter For Planting

Proper preparation of the planter is critical to the success of your planted arrangements. This includes adding drainage material, selecting the right potting mix, and considering the use of a water reservoir to maintain consistent moisture levels.

Drainage Material

Good drainage is essential for the health of plants in containers. Before adding potting mix, place a layer of drainage material, such as gravel, broken pottery shards, or specialized drainage rocks, at the bottom of the planter. This will prevent water from accumulating at the bottom of the container, which can lead to root rot and other moisture-related issues.

Potting Mix

Select a high-quality potting mix that is suitable for the types of plants you intend to grow. Consider factors such as water retention, aeration, and nutrient content when choosing a potting mix. For example, succulents and cacti will require a well-draining mix, while moisture-loving plants such as ferns may benefit from a mix with higher water retention.

Water Reservoir (Optional)

In especially large planters, or in areas with hot, dry climates, you may want to consider adding a water reservoir to help maintain consistent moisture levels. This can be achieved by placing a water reservoir insert, often made of plastic, at the bottom of the planter before adding the potting mix. The reservoir allows excess water to drain away from the roots, while also providing a source of water during drier periods.

Enhancements For Weight And Insulation

In some cases, you may need to consider additional measures to address the weight of the planter or insulation for the roots. For example, adding Styrofoam peanuts to the bottom of the planter can help reduce its weight, while also providing insulation for the plant roots. These enhancements can be particularly useful for large planters made of materials that conduct heat or cold, such as metal or stone.

Choosing The Appropriate Plants For Your Planter

Once the planter is prepared, it’s time to select the plants that will inhabit this new space. When choosing plants for your large planter, consider the following factors to ensure a harmonious and thriving arrangement.

Plant Compatibility

Consider the growth habits, foliage textures, and colors of potential plant combinations to create an aesthetically pleasing display. Pair plants that complement each other in terms of visual appeal, and consider the growth habits of each plant to ensure they won’t compete for space and resources as they mature.

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Light And Water Requirements

Select plants that have similar light and water requirements to simplify maintenance. For example, grouping together plants that prefer full sun or those that thrive in moist soil will make it easier to provide the optimal growing conditions for all the plants in the planter.

Thriller, Filler, Spiller Approach

To create a visually dynamic arrangement, consider using the "thriller, filler, spiller" approach. This entails selecting a focal point plant (the thriller), complementing it with medium-sized plants to fill space (the filler), and adding trailing or cascading plants to spill over the edges of the planter (the spiller). This approach creates a balanced and eye-catching composition.

Mature Plant Size

Be mindful of the mature size of the plants you choose. While a new plant may look small when first installed, it will eventually reach its full size. Ensure that the plants you select have enough space in the planter to reach their mature dimensions without overcrowding each other.

Plant Maintenance

Consider the maintenance requirements of the plants you choose, including their pruning needs, fertilization requirements, and susceptibility to pests or diseases. Select plants that align with the level of care and attention you are willing and able to provide in your outdoor space.

Planting in large planters offers a wealth of creative opportunities to enhance your outdoor environment. By carefully considering the size and location of your planters, preparing them for planting, and choosing the right plants, you can create a visually stunning and thriving display of flora that enriches your outdoor space.

Remember that successful planting in large planters requires attention to detail and ongoing care. Regular watering, monitoring for pests or diseases, and seasonal maintenance will ensure that your planted arrangements continue to flourish and bring beauty to your outdoor surroundings. With careful planning and thoughtful selection of plants and containers, your large planters can become focal points that elevate the aesthetics and appeal of your outdoor oasis.

How To Properly Fill The Planter With Soil

Planting in large planters can be a rewarding and enjoyable way to beautify your outdoor space. Whether you have a spacious garden or a balcony, large planters offer immense potential for creating stunning displays of plants and flowers. However, planting in large containers requires some special considerations to ensure the health and growth of your plants.

Properly filling the planter with soil is crucial for the overall health and growth of your plants. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Choose the right soil: Selecting the appropriate soil mixture is essential for your plants’ success. Use a high-quality potting mix that is specifically formulated for container gardening. These mixes are typically lightweight, well-draining, and nutrient-rich.

  2. Create a drainage layer: Before adding the potting mix, create a drainage layer at the bottom of the planter. This layer can be made of gravel or broken pottery pieces. It helps prevent water from accumulating at the bottom and ensures proper drainage.

  3. Add the potting mix: Fill the planter with the potting mix, leaving around 1-2 inches of space from the top. Gently press the soil down, but avoid compacting it too much. Ensure that the soil is evenly distributed and level across the container.

  4. Incorporate compost or organic matter: To enhance the fertility of the soil, mix in some compost or organic matter. This will provide additional nutrients to the plants and improve the overall soil structure.

  5. Consider adding perlite or vermiculite: Depending on the plants you intend to grow, you may want to add perlite or vermiculite to the potting mix. These materials improve drainage and aeration, which can be particularly beneficial for water-sensitive plants.

Maintaining Proper Drainage In A Large Planter

Proper drainage is essential to prevent waterlogging and root rot in large planters. Here are some methods to ensure good drainage:

  1. Use a planter with drainage holes: When choosing a large planter, make sure it has drainage holes at the bottom. These holes allow excess water to escape and prevent water from pooling at the roots.

  2. Elevate the planter: If your planter is placed directly on the ground, raise it slightly by using pot feet or bricks under the planter. This elevation will create additional airflow and further aid in drainage.

  3. Add a gravel layer: As mentioned earlier, create a drainage layer at the bottom of the planter using gravel or broken pottery. This layer will act as a barrier between the soil and the drainage holes, preventing them from getting blocked.

  4. Use a well-draining potting mix: Ensure that the potting mix you use is formulated for good drainage. Avoid using heavy garden soil or soil mixes that retain too much water, as this can lead to waterlogged conditions.

  5. Monitor soil moisture levels: Regularly check the moisture level of the soil in your planter. Insert your finger into the soil about an inch deep to see if it feels dry. If it does, it’s time to water your plants. Overwatering can cause root damage, so it’s important to strike the right balance.

Arranging Plants For Optimal Growth And Aesthetics

The arrangement of plants in a large planter can greatly contribute to the overall appearance and success of your planting. Here are some tips to consider:

  1. Plan for plant compatibility: Before selecting plants, consider their individual needs in terms of light, water, and temperature. Choose plants that have similar requirements to ensure they thrive together.

  2. Use the thriller, filler, and spiller technique: This popular planting method involves selecting a tall, eye-catching plant (thriller) for the center or back of the planter, complemented by medium-sized plants (fillers) to provide fullness and texture. Finally, choose trailing or cascading plants (spillers) to spill over the edges of the planter, softening its appearance.

  3. Consider color and texture: Mix plants with different colors, leaf shapes, and textures to create an interesting and visually appealing arrangement. Combining contrasting foliage, such as broad leaves with fine, feathery ones, can add depth and dimension to your planter.

  4. Pay attention to plant height: Arrange taller plants towards the center or back of the planter to avoid overshadowing smaller plants. This will allow all plants to receive adequate sunlight.

  5. Introduce variety: Incorporate a mix of annuals, perennials, and evergreen plants to ensure year-round interest in your planter. This will provide ongoing color and visual appeal, even as seasons change.

Watering And Fertilizing Tips For Large Planters

Proper watering and fertilizing are crucial for the health and growth of plants in large planters. Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Watering considerations: Large planters tend to dry out more quickly than smaller containers, so regular watering is essential. Water deeply and thoroughly until you see water coming out of the drainage holes. This ensures that the roots receive sufficient moisture. However, avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.

  2. Monitor moisture levels: Check the moisture level of the soil regularly. Stick your finger 1-2 inches deep into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water. If it’s still moist, hold off on watering for a little longer.

  3. Consider self-watering systems: If you’re concerned about watering consistency, consider investing in self-watering systems or watering spikes. These devices provide a steady supply of moisture to the plants, reducing the risk of over or under watering.

  4. Fertilize regularly: Plants in large containers benefit from regular fertilization. Use a slow-release or controlled-release fertilizer, as they gradually release nutrients over time. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for correct dosage and application frequency.

  5. Foliar feeding: Additionally, consider foliar feeding, which involves spraying a liquid fertilizer directly onto the leaves. This allows the plants to absorb nutrients more rapidly and efficiently.

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Protecting Plants From Extreme Weather And Pests

Large planters may be more exposed to extreme weather conditions and pests compared to in-ground planting. Here are some tips to protect your plants:

  1. Move the planters if necessary: If extreme weather conditions, such as storms or heatwaves, are predicted, move your planters to a more sheltered area. This could be under a covered patio, near a wall, or in a greenhouse. Protecting them from harsh elements will minimize the risk of damage.

  2. Mulch the soil: Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as wood chips or straw, around the base of the plants. Mulching helps retain moisture, regulates soil temperature, and suppresses weed growth. It also acts as a protective barrier against extreme temperature fluctuations.

  3. Monitor and control pests: Large planters may attract pests such as snails, slugs, aphids, or spider mites. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of pest infestations and take appropriate measures to control them. This may include using organic insecticides, handpicking pests, or introducing beneficial insects like ladybugs.

  4. Protect from frost: If you live in an area with frost, protect your plants during winter by covering them with frost blankets or moving them indoors. Frost can damage or kill plants, so taking preventive measures is important for their survival.

  5. Prune and maintain plants: Regularly prune your plants to remove dead or diseased foliage and promote healthy growth. Pruning also helps maintain the aesthetic appeal and overall shape of the plant arrangement in the large planter.

Planting in large planters offers endless possibilities for creating stunning displays of plants and flowers. By following the steps outlined in this article, including properly filling the planter with soil, maintaining proper drainage, arranging plants for optimal growth and aesthetics, watering and fertilizing correctly, and protecting plants from extreme weather and pests, you can ensure the health and success of your plants. So go ahead, unleash your creativity, and enjoy the beauty and tranquility that large planters can bring to your outdoor space.

Tips For Optimal Plant Growth In A Large Planter

Large planters offer a versatile and eye-catching way to showcase your favorite plants and flowers. Whether you have limited garden space, a large outdoor area, or want to add greenery to your patio or balcony, planting in large planters can be a great solution. However, planting in large planters differs from traditional gardening due to unique considerations such as soil drainage, plant selection, and container maintenance.

  1. Select the Right Container: When choosing a large planter, it is essential to consider both aesthetics and functionality. Opt for a container that complements your outdoor space and has adequate drainage holes at the bottom. To prevent waterlogging, it’s beneficial to place the planter on feet or risers to allow excess water to drain away.

  2. Choose Suitable Plants: Selecting the right plants for your large planter is crucial for their success. Consider the specific lighting conditions in your garden or balcony and choose plants that thrive in those conditions. Ensure that the selected plants have compatible growth habits and require similar water and sunlight requirements.

  3. Create a Drainage Layer: To enhance the drainage of your large planter, create a drainage layer at the bottom using materials such as gravel or broken pottery. This layer allows excess water to drain away freely, preventing waterlogging and root rot.

  4. Use High-Quality Potting Soil: The soil you use in your large planter should be well-draining and nutrient-rich. Choose a high-quality potting soil mix that provides good drainage while retaining some moisture. Avoid using regular garden soil, as it may become compacted and hinder proper root growth.

  5. Amend Your Soil: Consider adding soil amendments to improve the quality of your potting soil. Organic matter such as compost, well-rotted manure, or coconut coir can help retain moisture, improve soil structure, and provide essential nutrients to the plants.

  6. Fertilize Regularly: Large planters require regular fertilization to ensure the plants receive adequate nutrients. Use a slow-release fertilizer or organic liquid fertilizer according to the specific requirements of the plants you are growing. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct application rates and frequencies.

  7. Water Properly: Watering is a critical aspect of maintaining healthy plants in large planters. Ensure that the soil is evenly moist, but not waterlogged. Monitor the soil moisture levels by inserting your finger or a moisture meter into the soil to determine when watering is required. Adjust your watering frequency based on the weather conditions and the needs of the plants.

  8. Provide Adequate Sunlight: Most plants require a sufficient amount of sunlight for healthy growth. Ensure that your large planter receives the right amount of sunlight based on the sun requirements of your chosen plants. If your outdoor space has limited sunlight, consider selecting shade-tolerant plants for your large planter.

  9. Monitor Pest and Disease Control: Regularly inspect your plants for any signs of pests or diseases. Intervene at the earliest signs of infestation by using organic pest control methods or appropriate fungicides. Encourage beneficial insects such as ladybugs or lacewings to naturally control pest populations.

  10. Rotate Your Plants: To prevent root congestion and maintain plant health, rotate your plants annually or every few years. This practice ensures that each plant receives optimal space and nutrients, preventing competition and improving overall growth.

Pruning And Trimming Techniques For Large Planters

Pruning and trimming are essential maintenance practices that help to keep your plants healthy and promote bushy growth. In large planters, pruning and trimming techniques need to be adjusted considering the limited space available. Here are some techniques to follow:

  1. Remove Dead or Diseased Growth: Regularly remove any dead, dying, or diseased leaves, stems, or flowers from your plants. These can provide a breeding ground for pests and diseases and hinder overall plant health.

  2. Control Plant Size: In large planters, it’s important to monitor the size of your plants to prevent overcrowding. Trim back any branches or foliage that are encroaching on neighboring plants or taking up too much space. Keeping your plants well-spaced promotes airflow, reduces the risk of diseases, and ensures that each plant receives sufficient light.

  3. Encourage Bushy Growth: Prune your plants to promote bushier growth and prevent legginess. Pinch or trim off the tips of shoots or stems to encourage lateral branching. This technique helps the plant to grow more compactly and produce more foliage or flowers.

  4. Shape and Maintain Plant Form: Depending on your preferred aesthetic, you can shape your plants in large planters. Regularly trim the plants to maintain their desired shape and size. Use appropriate pruning tools such as pruning shears, hedge clippers, or bonsai scissors to achieve clean and precise cuts.

  5. Prune for Maintenance: Prune your plants to remove any crossing or rubbing branches that can damage the plant and create entry points for diseases. If your large planter contains climbing or vining plants, provide them with adequate support, such as trellises or stakes, and prune them to guide their growth and prevent entanglement.

  6. Timing of Pruning: The timing of pruning may vary depending on the types of plants you have in your large planter. Some plants require spring pruning, while others benefit from pruning in the dormant season. Research and understand the specific pruning requirements of your plants and prune accordingly.

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Repotting And Refreshing A Large Planter

Over time, plants in large planters may outgrow their containers or deplete the nutrients in the soil. Repotting your plants and refreshing the planter ensures their continued health and vitality. Follow these steps to repot and refresh your large planter effectively:

  1. Choose the Right Time: The ideal time to repot your plants is during their active growing season or in early spring. Avoid repotting during extreme weather conditions or when the plants are stressed or flowering.

  2. Select a New Planter: If your current planter is no longer suitable for your plant’s size or needs, select a larger-sized planter that allows for adequate root growth and provides ample space for additional soil and drainage materials.

  3. Prepare the New Planter: Ensure that your new planter has adequate drainage holes and is clean and free from any debris. Place a layer of gravel or broken pottery at the bottom to aid in drainage.

  4. Remove the Plant: Carefully remove the plant from its current planter by gently loosening the roots and sliding it out. Be mindful not to damage the roots or break the stems. If the plant has become root-bound, gently comb out the roots to loosen them before replanting.

  5. Replace the Soil: Fill the new planter with fresh potting soil, leaving enough space for the plant’s root ball. Ensure that the soil is evenly distributed and gently pat it down to eliminate air pockets.

  6. Replant the Plant: Place the plant in the center of the new planter, ensuring that it is positioned at the same level as it was in the previous pot. Backfill with soil around the root ball, pressing it lightly to secure the plant in place.

  7. Water and Settle: After repotting, thoroughly water the plant to help settle the soil and remove any air pockets. Monitor the moisture levels closely in the following days and water as needed.

  8. Refresh the Planter Aesthetics: Repotting presents an opportunity to refresh the aesthetics of your large planter. Consider adding decorative elements such as rocks, pebbles, or mulch to the top of the soil to enhance the overall appearance.

Troubleshooting Common Problems In Large Planters

Despite your best efforts, you may encounter some challenges while planting in large planters. Here are some common problems and their solutions:

  1. Waterlogging: Overwatering or inadequate drainage can lead to waterlogging in large planters. To address this issue, ensure your planter has proper drainage holes and a drainage layer at the bottom. Monitor the soil moisture levels and adjust your watering routine accordingly.

  2. Root Rot: Root rot commonly occurs when there is poor drainage and overwatering. To prevent root rot, improve soil drainage, avoid overwatering, and allow the top layer of soil to dry out between waterings. If root rot has already set in, consider repotting the plant in fresh, well-draining soil.

  3. Nutrient Deficiencies: Large planters can deplete nutrients more quickly than garden soil. Regularly fertilize your plants with appropriate fertilizers to ensure they receive the necessary nutrients. Leaf yellowing or stunted growth can indicate nutrient deficiencies.

  4. Pest Infestations: Regularly inspect your plants for pests such as aphids, mealybugs, or spider mites. Use organic pest control methods or appropriate insecticides to control the infestation. Encouraging natural predators like ladybugs can also help keep pest populations in check.

  5. Disease Outbreaks: Fungal or bacterial diseases can spread quickly in the confined environment of a large planter. Maintain good airflow around your plants, avoid overhead watering, and promptly remove any diseased plant material to prevent the spread of diseases. Treat affected plants with appropriate fungicides if necessary.

  6. Improper Plant Selection: Choosing plants that are not suitable for your specific growing conditions can lead to poor growth and plant failure. Research and select plants that thrive in the amount of sunlight, temperature, and moisture available in your area.

  7. Environmental Stress: Extreme weather conditions such as high temperatures, strong winds, or frost can stress your plants in large planters. Provide necessary protection such as shade cloth, windbreaks, or frost covers to mitigate these stresses and prevent plant damage.


Planting in large planters allows you to create beautiful displays of greenery in spaces where traditional gardening may not be possible. By following the tips for optimal plant growth, implementing proper pruning and trimming techniques, repotting with care, and troubleshooting common problems, you can ensure the health and vitality of your plants in large planters. With a little effort and attention to detail, you can enjoy a thriving and visually stunning garden in your large planters.


What Are Some Advantages Of Using A Large Planter For Planting?

Large planters provide more space for roots to grow, allow for larger plants to be planted, and can help prevent overcrowding of plants.

What Type Of Soil Should I Use In A Large Planter?

It is recommended to use a high-quality potting mix for large planters. Avoid using garden soil, as it can be heavy and not provide enough drainage.

How Much Drainage Is Necessary For A Large Planter?

Adequate drainage is crucial for large planters to prevent waterlogging and root rot. Make sure the planter has drainage holes and add a layer of gravel or broken pottery at the bottom before adding soil.

Can I Use A Large Planter For Different Types Of Plants?

Yes, you can use a large planter for a variety of plants such as annuals, perennials, vegetables, and small trees. Just make sure to research the specific needs and growing conditions for each plant.

How Often Should I Water A Plant In A Large Planter?

The frequency of watering will depend on factors such as the type of plant, the potting mix, and the climate. Check the soil moisture regularly and only water when the top inch of soil is dry. Avoid overwatering, as it can lead to root rot.