DIY Tutorial: How to Update Old Ceramic Pot Planters

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Welcome Back to our “DIY Fridays” — Today we have a special guest post from Bindi at about how to update old ceramic pot planters. I’ll let her take it from here:

DIY Tutorial: How to Update Old Ceramic Pot Planters

We have had these old ceramic planters for many years. They once had some type of large aloe-vera-esque plants in them, and we sat them on the verandah of our old house.


The Old Ceramic Pots

The colour of the planters is very ‘meh’, but we did get them for free and they did match the colour of the external Colourbond walls of the old house, so I never bothered to do anything with them, though I always had big ideas to do something with them, one day.

Now, they have been sitting under the stairs of our new house for around 6 months as nothing more than a receptacle for random junk (the large aloe-vera-esque plants died), waiting for me to get around to doing something with them.
I wanted to use them to plant lavender, and for the time being, sit them at the bottom of the stairs, as a pretty-smelling ‘welcome to our home’ kind of thing.

So with the help of the Oldest Hammerling (because these babies are heavy), we laid out an old piece of timber for a ‘drop sheet’, and rolled the planters out into the sun.

You can see the base of the planters has red clay splashed up the sides. The red clay on our property is invasive. It gets everywhere. This splashing is just from rain plopping near them and spraying the clay all up every which way. Pretty, yeah?

Making Them New Again

First, I washed them off, wiped them down and gave them another rinse off to get all the dirt off them.


You can see the agave plants in the background there. They’re still alive!!

Anyway, because I will be painting around the inner rim, this also needed a good clean up.

Today, I am using Rustoleum’s Flat Soft Iron Paint and Primer in One. It is a good, flat grey to coordinate with the house, and allow the purple of the lavender to pop.


Note: Try not to spray paint outside on a windy day. I am fairly sure I got more spray on me than on the planters.
The first coat was very light, because I did not otherwise prep the surface. Kind of a test to see how well this spray paint will adhere to a ceramic, glossy surface, as the can says it will.


Gave that some time to dry in the sun, then kept coating it.


Pretty cool, hey? While still curing, the paint had a soft, speckly kind of effect, but when dry, it is a matte charcoal sort of colour.


Kumquat Plants

I did run out of paint and had to make another trip to Bunnings to grab another can of it.

So while I was at Bunnings, I made a quick stop in their garden section to pick out some lavender. Well, I was disappointed. They only had one type, Mona Lavender, and it had no smell. Even when I pinched the blossom, the smell was faint.
So I had a lazy look around the nursery, and eventually picked up a pretty whiff, whereupon I followed my nose.

I found these Kumquats, and a couple of them were in flower. The smell is reminiscent of Jasmine, and can be smelled from a few metres away. Even though they were $5 more per plant than the lavender (which, by the way, would definitely have looked beautiful), I decided to get the Kumquats.


Kumquats are a citrus fruit that can be used for marmalade (ew), liquer, or can be candied. You can eat them raw, but as a child, we did once have Kumquats growing, so no, we probably won’t eat them raw. The fruit will go to waste. But that’s not why I chose the plant – I chose it for the smell of the blossom.

There were a few different types, including one that had yellow/green leaves, but I ended up choosing the variety with rich green leaves.

ceramic-pots-diy-8These plants, if planted in the ground, can reach up to 2.5m, or just over 6′. They will have plenty of soil in these large planters, but I doubt they will reach their full height.

To give them the best chance at life (because, y’know, me with my black thumbs and all), I also purchased some Citrus Fertiliser, some Seasol and some Power Feed.


You watch. These won’t die of neglect – these guy will die of care . . . Ha! Instead of filling these huge planters purely with potting mix, I first half-filled them with some rich soil that was hiding under the bunch of felled trees we started to clear in the front yard.

I then mixed the citrus fertiliser with the potting mix, and planted the plants. With help, of course!


The Finished Product

I did have the Oldest Hammerling shift the finished planters to the front step of the house.  I do have a feeling they’re gonna be a bit of a nuisance there, but since I started this project, Mr Hammer and I decided that once we have the fire pit finished, we will set them at the base of the stairs leading up there.

But for now, here they will sit, as a pretty-smelling welcoming kind of thing at the base of the stairs to the house.

Little Miss Hammer was very excited to have pretty plants that she helped to pot.


And then she said to me, ‘Mumma, I will sit on the stairs and smile, and you take a photo of me!’ So here that is:


And the ‘before and after’. I am incredibly impressed with how these turned out (even if I do say so myself).


They were really easy to update, and now they’re not an ugly yellow, looking out of place in our home. Once we have the fire pit and path all done, they will look fantastic paired at the base of those stairs.

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