Using Metal and Wirework Containers in your Garden

Metal containers are attractive in the garden
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In this final part, we discuss the use of metal and wirework container in your garden. We will talk about how this versatile material of construction can be used to great effect in the garden. In the past, articles on terracotta, plastic, wood, glazed pottery and stoneware have been discussed but now to complete the available materials, we will concentrate on this shiny material.


At first sight, metal sounds such an unlikely material to use to make containers from, but this is so further from the truth. They can be used to create imaginative planting schemes and great dotted around the garden.

Metal containers are attractive in the garden
Metal containers are attractive in the garden

Metal containers are rarely sold specially for plants but they can be adapted to have plants within them. It is up to you to spot the potential if new metal or second-hand objects and turn then into sometime practical and beautiful. Shiny, new metal basket make interesting contemporary plant containers, once you have drilled some holes in the bottom.

You are not limited to brand new pots, but you can use metal troughs and flower buckets to display your annuals in. They can often be bought in shops and can be teamed up with colourful plants to give an imaginative container display.

If you are lucky enough and you know a florist who has old, narrow metal display buckets to show their flowers in, then these can be used for your container display. I know most have made the transfer to plastics but you never know as you may get lucky. They may give it to you or offer it to you at a much-reduced price.

This tall, flower display buckets can be used outside in the garden to display your patio roses, where the contrast of the beautiful rose with the shiny bucket is truly breathtaking. When you use these florist buckets make sure that you drill holes at the bottom to help drainage.


An alternative in the garden is to use old bronze or copper container such as coal scuttles, copper water tanks, fish kettles, large saucepans, cauldrons or any other metal piece you can get your hands on, as they make great and interesting display containers.

If you go around antique fairs and auction houses, you can find suitable sized metal containers. If you do, go for those who are damaged at the bottom caused by wear and tear. In that way, you would save some time in that you will not need to drill holes at the bottom. You can even use bottomless containers provided that you stand them in the soil so that the plant can grow straight through then and into the border or soil below.

An old metal bath or copper water tank that has Verdigris on them, make beautiful character containers, especially if you want a cottage garden type scheme. This can be found in salvage yards or antique shops, so keep your eyes peeled, and be imaginative in your approach.


On the other side of the spectrum, wirework is more delicate and more natural for the container garden. It is often used to make reproductive-style garden furniture such as metal tables and chairs. It is also used as plant holders such as hanging baskets or in metal frame displays.

Line wirework pot holder and half pots that include large haystack-like wall metals are excellent to display your houseplants in. They are often made of the same material as that used in hanging baskets.

Large wirework containers that are tall, upright and have interesting sculptural shapes, make great displays for growing your climbers in. It is best to you use colourful plant such as morning glory, black-eyed Susan and other annual climbers, clinging naturally to the open sides, is a sight that will not soon be forgotten.

If you go to the shop that sells kitchen products you can often find a wide range of metal baskets that can be lined and used to form attractive, unusual containers for plants. For example, metal egg baskets and fruit baskets make astounding displays.


A traditional favourite, especially before plastic came along, is the wire-frame hanging basket. You can give a stunning spring or summer display as long as it is appropriately lined with the correct liner. This can be moss, jute, plastic, newspaper and any other hanging basket liner you can find.

Another wire-frame hanging system is a two-tier or more display. This consists of two or more metal baskets supported on a central column. The effect is to have two or more hanging baskets at ground level, where the display can be admired much more.

They make an excellent featured display for annuals in the garden. Make sure that the stand can take the weight of the hanging baskets.


Another popular method is to use wireframe wall baskets that suit period properties. They look stunning especially if they are teamed with suitable, compact varieties of annual bedding plants where the flower complement the container it is displayed in.

Wall baskets tend to look like a wire hanging basket cut in half or those that can resemble haystacks. They tend to be small or they can be long so you do have plenty of choices.

Alternatively, ornate wall baskets, where one basket is aligned on top of another, will give the grace of elegance to show your annuals in. Make sure they are securely attached to the wall.

When you have such elegant wall baskets, it is best to line them with moss and use simple plants that do not draw attention from the ornate wall planter itself.


For shiny, solid metal containers such as galvanized buckets and troughs will suit highly coloured plants. It is best to use flowers such as violas, small dwarf sunflowers, dahlias and spring bulbs, Use them to show nasturtiums to create a pleasing rural backyard scene.

For more sophisticated displays, use white or green flowers and plants with silver, variegated leaves that will enhance the colours of the containers. Galvanized buckets and troughs make excellent displays for water plants, as the silvery surface reflects the water beneath them.

Since they do not have holes in the base, buckets are suitable for this type of display, which could be created from marginal plants or floating plants actually growing in the water or by the use of bog plants in a very wet growing media.

Copper or bronze containers are great teamed with warm-coloured reds, pinks and red-coloured leaves.

Old copper kettle or coal scuttles look stunning teamed with Begonia rex, coleus or coloured tropical flowers inside your home.

Lead or tarnished copper containers that have a bluish patina, look brilliant when planted with silver, white, grey or blue flowers or leaves.


In this article, we have discussed why you would want to use metal containers and wirework frames in your garden. They make a usual display because most metal containers are not designed originally to be used in the garden. You can let your imagination come up with interesting designs, full of colourful annuals and bedding plant schemes.

The containers will be unique and so your design will also be unique. You can use various wireframe hanging baskets or display columns to show off your planting skills.

You can decorate the side of your home with attractive wireframe wall baskets that add an extra dimension to your home.

Remember as the volume is small, it will need the plants to be watered and fed regularly. A display that will set you apart from your neighbours or friends.

You have so much choice to what type of container can be used, to what plant that can be used within them and how you want to display them in. A very interesting display material.

In these sets of articles, we have discussed how the material of construction that the containers are made from and what the plants within them, can be used to enhance your garden display. As you can see your choices are endless from more modern designs to old, rustic containers.

If you have any questions or comments that you wish to raise, please do so in the comment box below.

Use metal in the garden today.


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