How Do Bottomless Pots Work?

How do you grow plants in the garden where the soil is so compacted or rocky that it is hard to grow anything there?

I tried using bottomless pots like mini raised gardens which allowed me to fill the pot with good soil but gives the plants the opportunity to put the roots down as far as they want. And I didn’t have to dig the hard, compacted soil.

Growing in smaller pots makes the plant root bound, but in a bottomless pot the roots can grow down and down and down.  And I’m making use of all those big, black plastic pots that other plants and shrubs come in instead of just stacking them up in the garage.

bottomless pots at craftygardener.ca

I had decided to try this method last year when the morning glory I was growing up the trellis in regular pots weren’t as big as the odd one that made it in the rocky ground.  I set the pots up about mid April ready for growing season.

bottomless pots at craftygardener.ca

I also added 4 bottomless pots to the trellis for climbing beans. I decided to try it there too as it was on the same wall as the morning glory trellis the ground was rock solid. The top photos show the pots set in place and then they will filled with a mixture of good soil, vermiculite and peat moss.  Seeds were planted and the growing process began.  The morning glory grew quickly and needed thinning out.  There were also bottomless pots in front of the one shown and on the other side of the trellis.  The transplants were repotted into these pots.

bottomless pots at craftygardener.ca

This photo was taken around the beginning of September and you can see the beans on the right grew really well, in fact they outgrew the trellis they were on.  The morning glory all grew well and filled in that side of the arched trellis.  When it came to pulling up the plants at the end of the season I knew the roots had grown right down into the rocky, solid soil and taken a firm hold.

I was pleased with this experiment and will trying it again this year and probably expanding to a few other spots in the garden.

Advantage: gives seeds a chance to get established in good soil

Disadvantage:  not able to move the pots around like in a regular pot

Is this just another of my crazy ideas or have you tried this as well?

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More from The Gardener Side

plants … seed info … veggies & herbs … bulbs, corms, tubers

the gardens  … garden whimsy … garden printables

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10 Responses

  1. Roxann

    I wish that somehow, I could cut the bottom out of all the beautiful ceramic pots I have. That would be perfect!

  2. nicole

    hello, im going to do the same bottomless method for vegetables and herbs. Do you recommend potting or garden soil? Thank you

  3. Sunny

    Great idea – but how did you make a clean cut on the bottom of the pot? I tried a saw – is there a better way?

  4. Elaine

    I’ve used this method in very large raised beds and been successful. I virtually bury the pot so the bed doesn’t become unsightly and then specfically water and feed the pots – uses less water by targetting just those plants that need it. I’ve often used the method in the garden beds as well, especially those areas in poorer, drier soil but use larger pots and fill those with multi-purpose compost to ensure roots get best start.

  5. Tessa Hargreaves

    I’ve finally worked this out for myself and just looked online as I was sure other people would be doing it. Thanks for posting, it’s reassuring!

  6. Lou Berardi

    I’ve done this for the last several years with my black gardening pots and sometimes cloth bags. I’m disappointed to still not see any glazed ceramic pots available for this purpose.

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