Fun & Funky Thrift Store Succulent Planters

What some consider junk — an old hand-crank meat grinder, a discarded ammo box, a rusted-out brake drum, even an empty beer can — Austin nursery owner Eric Pedley sees as a potential planter for his weird and wonderful collection of succulents and cacti. He opened East Austin Succulents in 2010 after falling in love with the colorful, fleshy leaves and bizarre spiny forms of these water-thrifty plants and discovering how much he enjoys arranging them in unique containers. Soon he was scouring junkyards, thrift stores, and antiques malls for castoffs he could turn into one-of-a-kind showcases for his favorite plants.

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A vintage Canadian Mountie cookie tin contains a sweet assortment of succulents, including string-of-pearls (Senecio rowleyanus), ‘Neon’ stonecrop (Sedum spectabile), string-of-buttons (Crassula perforata), and beautiful Graptopetalum superbum. Tucked in back, the tin lid adds color and kitschy style.

Prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp.) sprouting from an empty beer can shows that anything is a potential planter in Eric’s hands.

Make a Salvaged Garden Chandelier

Filled to the brim with bristly and sculptural plants, a rusty metal cart contains golden barrel cactus (Echinocactus grusonii), Texas sotol (Dasylirion texanum), prickly pear, agave, and ghost plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense).

A tiny menagerie of plastic animals traipses through a trio of potted succulent cuttings: Graptopetalum superbum, coppertone stonecrop (Sedum nussbaumerianum), and blue chalk sticks (Senecio mandraliscae). Colorful gravel adds a fun accent.

Nursery mascot Winston, a metal giraffe with the back cut open to make a planter, elicits smiles from customers.

The cubbies and drawers of old metal filing bins hold succulents instead of office supplies. Moss and wood add texture to the Zen-style arrangement on the right.

The 1970s design definitely says flower power, but today this vintage coffee urn serves up red-tip fleshy-leaf paddle plant (Kalanchoe ‘Fantastic’), Rhipsalis sp., rainbow bush (Portulacaria afra ‘Variegata’), ‘Quadricolor’ agave, and Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’.

An ammunition box displays a miniature landscape planted with Echeveria ‘Black Prince’, Madagascar senecio (Senecio decaryi), and jade plant (Crassula ovata), accented with a sparkling stone.

Echeveria subsessilis, its dusty blue leaves rimmed with pink, sprouts whimsically from a vintage hand-crank meat grinder clamped to a table.

Learn more about succulents.

More Easy-Care Succulent Containers

Easy-Care Succulent Containers