How To Make Herb Planters From Cans

by Nikki Tilley October 9, 2016

How To Make Herb Planters From Cans

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By Nikki Tiley (Author of The Bulb-o-licious Garden)

Most of us can’t do without that morning cup of joe, but when the coffee runs out, what normally happens to the can it came in? Yep, it usually gets thrown out. However, savvy upcyclers save these instead and turn them into cool looking plant containers.

I thought I’d give it a spin and try making one for myself – an herb plant container. And just to make it interesting, in addition to using an old coffee can, I also tried it out with a discarded vegetable can. The entire process was actually very easy and took hardly any time, actually only around 30 minutes or so, though if you really want to dress up those cans, I’m sure it will take longer.

Here’s what I used:

  • Empty coffee can
  • Empty veggie can
  • Nail and hammer
  • Markers
  • Potting soil
  • Small pebbles (optional)
  • Coffee filter (optional)
  • Herb plants – basil, rosemary


Start by removing the labels from your cans and washing them out. After allowing the cans to dry, flip them over so that the bottom is facing up. Take the hammer and lightly tap the nail into the bottom a few times to create holes for drainage (I made about five in each can).


Now it’s time to spruce it up a bit. While you can make this as extravagant as you’d like, I kept mine simple. Using markers, I added a little color around the rims and bottoms of the cans. Then I wrote the name of my herb plant across the front of my coffee can, and simply made a label for the smaller can since it was more difficult to write on. For these herb planters, I chose basil and rosemary, but you can use whatever you want. Flowers would surely work. In fact, it was so easy that I plan on making more with various plants.


Once you’ve gotten your design complete, you’re ready to plant. If desired, line the bottom each can with the coffee filter. Depending on the size of your cans, you may need to cut it some to make it fit. Then add a thin layer of pebbles on top to help aid with drainage – again, this part is purely optional. I just want to make certain the roots don’t become saturated since the whole “growing in a can” thing is new to me.

Now begin filling the cans with potting soil, about 2/3 full. Stick your plant in and add soil as needed until just beneath the rim of your new pots. Water them in well, allowing the excess to drain out from the bottom and add more soil as needed since some may have settled a bit during the watering process.

And that’s it! Now you have some cute little plant pots for growing an endless supply of your favorite herbs. And, as a bonus, you’ve helped recycle kitchen items that would otherwise be thrown away.




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