How to make your own Vertical Planter

Here’s a step by step guide on how to make your own vertical planter.

Vertical Strawberry Planter
Vertical Strawberry Planter

Materials:

– Any length 100mm-150mm (4″ – 6″) diameter PVC or any other kind of pipe
– Potting mix and compost
– Plants (not large plants or bushes)
– Large pebbles of about the same size for added support/stability
– A drip irrigation pipeline (or you can simply water from the top and it will trickle down) *

Tools:
– A drill and circular drill bit OR
– A jigsaw if you don’t own the above
– A hacksaw (if pipe needs to be cut down)
– Marker pen

Materials and Tools
Materials and Tools

Important:

A minimum of 25% of your above ground height needs to be below ground, to ensure stability. e.g. if you want your planter to be a metre high then the overall length of your pipe must be 125cm (or more).

How to:

If you are using an off cut or leftover material from a previous job, then the size and height of your project have already been determined for you.

If you are buying the materials you need to decide on the height and width of the pipe. For a 100mm pipe it is recommended to have only one hole in a horizontal row so the plants have enough room for their roots to grow. For 150mm pipes you can have up to 3 holes in each horizontal row depending on which plants you choose (three holes for flowers only, the rest either one hole or two).

Using a marker pen, mark out the holes you want to cut for your plants using the guidelines above. The size of the hole directly depends on the plants type and size.

Using the markings, cut the planting holes using either a hand drill with circular drill bit or a jigsaw.

Cutting the holes...
Cutting the holes…

Set up the pipe in a large pot or directly into the soil, using the pebbles for additional stability.

Set up the pipe in a large pot or directly into the soil.
Set up the pipe in a large pot or directly into the soil.

Finally, put the compost and soil into your pipe and start planting.

Keep the water up to your plants and sit back and reap the rewards.

* Because the planters hold only a limited amount of soil, it is essential you keep the water up to your plants. If you are relying in watering only at the top of the pipe, you’ll find that the plants at the top will get plenty of water but those at the bottom will get a lot less dry. That’s fine if you plant accordingly, but the best solution is to insert a weeper hose into the main pipe. This can be purchased or simply made by using 1″ conduit drilled with weep holes down it’s length. Wrap this inner conduit in geo-fabric or weed-cloth to prevent it getting blocked over time.

  • Charles

    There doesnt seem to be any reference to the thin conjute down the middle of the 100mm pipe ? Could somebody please explain ? Also, if you had a 1.25 metre pipe with 100mm out of the ground/pot, how many tomato plants would you recommend ?

    • Hi Charles,

      The conduit allows watering down the full length of the planter. Tomatoes need plenty of nutrition so I would only put five in a metre high pipe. Cherry tomatoes grow very well like this and are so easy to pick when ripe. No staking or spraying needed and snails will never be an issue.

      • Mike

        Is there a concern, especially for perennials, for the roots freezing in the winter of colder climates? I have had strawberries die on me because they were in a raised bed and not below the main garden level. Thanks.

        • That’s a great question. I’m in a temperate climate and have no direct experience. However, having just done a search, I would be wary and stick with annuals like tomatoes 🙂

        • Debbie Ritchie

          I wonder if you could make a “sleeve” of clear or translucent plastic, slit down one side, about 6″ diameter larger than the pipe used for the plants, to slip over each pipe, like individual greenhouses…? Just a thought.

  • Hi, it is a good idea, i will do it. In Hungary the winter is cold, so if i do not remove the planst from the tube they will be frozen (in winter). If the roots grows well and wide i will not be able to remove the planst from the tube – I think.

    best regards feri

  • Vicente

    Hi. Nice idea!
    Please what kind of black “fabric” is that you use?
    Best regards.

    • Hi Vicente,

      Use any available weed mat. You’ll find it at your local garden or hardware centre.

  • Rob

    Is there any concern about chemicals from the PVC leaking into the plants? Not a big deal for flowers, but for edibles, it seems to be risky, don’t you think?

    • Hi Rob,

      Apologies for the delayed response. I just noticed it as I was emptying the spam tray 🙁

      There are two schools of thought on this. From my reading, I’ve satisfied myself that it is quite safe to use. A quick summary of the opposing opinions is here:

      http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-homes/the-vinyl-debate.aspx

      Hope that helps.

      DW

      • Ida H

        My response would need to be that you drink from PVC pipe so you should be just fine.

  • Carol Lilly

    that narrow pipe in the middle of the drainpipe, is tht the irrigation pipe? if so do you drill holes in it all the way down and then wrap it in the weed suppresant material?

    • Hi Carol,

      I like the idea of using an inner hose or pipe to water more efficiently.

  • Richard Craig

    You don’t explain the use of the landscape cloth (weed mat). Where, how, and why do you use landscape cloth?

    • I’ve used weedmat above each hole to prevent soil from falling out but either geo-fabric or weedmat should be wrapped around the internal ‘weep pipe’ (if used) so that the holes don’t get clogged up over time.

  • Tee Allen

    Exactly where does the weed cloth go? Inside the PVC pipe? I’m confused

    • I’ve used weedmat above each hole to prevent soil from falling out but either geo-fabric or weedmat should be wrapped around the internal ‘weep pipe’ (if used) so that the holes don’t get clogged up over time.

  • Jeanine Dierking

    If you have the pipe in a pot with strawberries in it, just pick up the pot and take it inside to avoid the freezing weather.

  • Karen Kleckner

    36 Rosenkranz Ln. Where do I use the weed guard

    • I’ve used weedmat above each hole to prevent soil from falling out but either geo-fabric or weedmat should be wrapped around the internal ‘weep pipe’ (if used) so that the holes don’t get clogged up over time.

  • Dennis F

    This is awesome for a small area where I was trying to figure out what type of tall, thin bush to plant with some color. The impatiences column is my solution.Thanks

  • Rhodes

    Thx a lot I really appreciate the way,you did it,very good idea.

  • reedoo

    As an electrician – I wouldn’t recommend using the grade of PVC conduit they have used here. You would never use electrical grey conduit – it is not designed to be underground or have any UV exposure so will actually degrade and breakdown/brittle within a period of time. There is an orange colored conduit which is considered HD (heavy duty) and can be used underground, with moisture exposure and UV exposure without issue.

    It looks like the larger PVC is plumbers grade (?) but the thing about this is you *really* should check what kind of PVC/conduit you are using. You want grades that are designed to be exposed to UV/underground/wet conditions. Not all of them are; and this will result is your established vertical planter breaking apart on you.

Close Menu
close-link
Close Panel