I’m Going Bottomless

posted in: Container Gardening, Garden areas | 6

I’ve gone bottomless before but this year I’m adding more bottomless pots. These are like mini raised gardens which allow 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.

It seems going bottomless is all the rage this year, certainly according to the number of visits I’ve had on my previous post about bottomless pots. I started using plastic bottomless pots about 6 years ago and just love how they let me use a spot in the garden that was undiggable due to rocks or soil compression.

bottomless pots at craftygardener.ca
cutting the bottom out

The area I’m working on this year is called Herb’s Place, an area I started last year for some herbs and a few other plants. Most of the ground is compacted down as this area was under a set of stairs from the deck for 30 odd years. The stairs got moved last year so I saw the potential for a new garden.

growing egyptian walking onions in bottomless pots at craftygardener.ca
EWO in bottomless pots

Last year I had moved some Egyptian Walking Onions into a fair sized bottomless pot (above photo) and look how they flourished and grew this spring. Unfortunately it was necessary to move them while I reorganized this garden area.

growing egyptian walking onions in bottomless pots at craftygardener.ca
root development of EWO in bottomless pots

Look how the roots had grown down and out the bottom of the pot. The ground was very dry and I was able to carefully loosen the roots from the soil and get the pot out and moved to a new location. You just have to remember to drag the bottomless pot once loosened else the plant will fall right out of the pot.

using bottomless pots at craftygardener.ca
clematis roots surrounded by bottomless pots

A few years ago I planted some clematis in the trellis garden and did not use the bottomless pot idea. But I wish I had as now the soil is washing away from the plant and exposing the root ball. So I devised a way to use a plastic bottomless pot by cutting in so that I could fit it around the clematis, staple together, and fill with dirt. I’ll be monitoring this closely to see if it works.

So for I’ve planted up garlic chives, chives, Jerusalem artichokes into bottomless pots. Into big containers from my plant tables I’ve added oregano, thyme, sage and mint. I had planned to move some of the Russian sage into this area, but when we started to dig it we realized it had a huge long tap root and it was really hard to get out. Seeing as it grew so big it wouldn’t be a good plant for a bottomless pot.

using bottomless pots at craftygardener.ca
garlic chives, chives, and Egyptian Walking onions in bottomless pots

Advantage of bottomless pots:

  • lets you plant in an area that is undiggable
  • gives seeds and plants a chance to get established in good soil
  • makes use of those black plastic pots that we can’t recycle anymore

Disadvantage of bottomless pots:  

  • not able to move the pots around like in a regular pot
  • not always big enough
Herb's Place 2021 at craftygardener.ca
Herb’s Place

This is the progress on Herb’s Place right now, bigger containers, more bottomless pots and a new path. Herb did make an appearance with his mailbox which will hold the gardening tools for this area.

I know this isn’t just another of my crazy ideas as you can find all sorts of places on the internet that have tried them and some places even sell ready made ones.

Have you tried going bottomless?

garden line

Garden areas

6 Responses

  1. Linda

    That’s a great idea Linda, I have problems in my garden with tree roots and can’t dig a satisfactory border, how do you get the bottoms out of the pots? I can only think of drilling holes around the edge and then pushing the bottoms out.

    • Crafty Gardener

      Hi Linda, I use the black plastic pots that you get when you buy new plants or shrubs. The bottoms cut out easy with scissors. We can’t recycle any black plastic here in my oart of Ontario, so it is a great way to reuse them.

  2. Vondean Erickson

    Such interesting article. I shared it with my son Tim who has trouble with gophers chewing off the roots. He has tried chicken wire but he has several of these pots so is going to try them. I have had that problem with gophers even back in Iowa.
    We did not know you could not recycle black plastic what is the reason for that?
    Have a good day.

    • Crafty Gardener

      Our area does not have a market for black plastic or styrofoam so we can’t put it in our blue boxes so it has to go into the garbage. I’m glad to have a way to recycle these big black plastic pots.

      ** I’m putting the reply here so others can see why we can’t recycle black plastic.

  3. Margie

    This is the firs time I’ve heard of bottomless pots. I learn so much about gardening from your blog!

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