Where To Find Free Nursery Pots and Planters

Every gardener needs something for their plants to grow in. 


Whether it is directly into the soil in your garden, into a garden bed, nursery pots, ceramic pots, terracotta pots, or if you get more creative, you need something for your plants to grow in. That's why we're always looking for free nursery pots and cheap planters. 

milk container planting pots 

If you have been to any of our plant sales, you will surely recognize the pots in the photos above and below. We simply refuse to add more plastic to this world than necessary, so at the Dancing Treetop Plant & Tree Nursery we only sell and give away plants in recycled containers.

For Christmas last year we gave away plants to our neighbors planted in ceramic coffee cups found cheap at the thrift store, and for next year we got Christmas themed ones at the holiday clearance sale at a local thrift store for 8 cents a piece. 

We use a lot of food, juice and milk containers which we know are made out of food-grade plastic, but others have been found in the community, and we recently implemented a bring 10 nursery pots and get 1 free plant policy, because no nursery pot should end up in the landfill (or in the bushes), if it can be used.

While I have gardening beds at the house and a large growing spot at the Land, I am always looking for new pots, because pots can extend the growing space that I have around our house, and many plants, especially smaller plants prefer to grow in pots. Certain plants such as mint also grow best in pots, because they spread profusely if you let them grow in your landscape.

One of my first gardening projects here at the house was to grow magnolia trees from seed. It is quite a process, but I had great success and got about 8 small magnolia trees growing (Future post coming). When I began planting the magnolia seedlings out directly into our garden I lost several of the seelings. First a hurricane blew in and blew a couple over, and it left one under water, and another one which survived the storm just did not thrive directly in the soil. I found four containers to plant the remaining magnolia trees in, and these trees are still growing. After two years I tried planting one tree out in the soil again, but once again it did not work, and it just did not grow as well as the other three in pots, so I returned it to a pot. The result is that I have three nice-sized Magnolia trees, and the last one is still struggling a bit.


A few weeks ago I had run out of pots to plant in, and I was looking into get fabric pots, because it seemed to be the most economical solution. It was still a lot for my budget, so I decided to expand my usual search area instead. 

It is the sad truth, but I have had great success in finding planters just by looking into natural areas and vacant lots in our community. Truly sad, but I turned the littering into green gold, and I now have lots of planters around the house, which has expanded my garden space tremendously. 

Anyways, let's see what my most recent searches have produced. All of the free pots and planters below have been found within the last month or so. 


 A huge black pot ready for lots of plants.

large planting pots


A large rectangle planter perfect for growing lettuce in. Some smaller green pots, a large 2 gallon pot and 1 shovel!



The below planting pots were what got my initial attention.


But when we took a closer look we found 4 large black pots, 3 still with plants in it that we revived, a terracotta pot, a smaller planting pot and a bunch of small nursery pots.

The latest find was from yesterday's Sunday bike ride, when my daughter insisted on discovering new parts of the neighborhood, while we scouted the area for the next clean-up event location for the kids' nature organization.

Well, the little one should be applauded, because we hit the garden discovery jackpot.We first spotted the fern and two pots, but there were lots more to be found.


nursery pots in the bushes

Our final discovered reaped 4 Boston ferns in hanging planters (No holes) and 4 black large nursery pots. 

black nursery pots garbage


We're re-potting the ferns and many of the black planters already have new plants in them. 

ferns and nursery pots


It was a bit of a challenge getting all of these ferns back on the bike, but with a little creativity we managed just fine. Our neighbors are always wondering what plants we're bringing home, but yesterday there was no doubt.


ferns in a bike basket


Where To Find Free Nursery Pots and Planters:

  • Look around your neighborhood on bulk day/commingled day/yard waste day
  • Look in the bushes and woods in your neighborhood
  • Look in areas with new builds when they landscape.
  • Look in the free section on Craigslist
  • Look at the free section on Facebook marketplace
  • Join your local buy nothing group on Facebook.
  • Look for free estate sales
  • Ask at your local garden store or big box store, if they have any leftover nursery pots.
  • Get creative and look for food and drink containers at home. 
  • Use what you have - old rubber boots, old wheel barrows, etc. Get creative but make sure your planting container has holes in it for drainage.
  • Make your own concrete planters (future post coming) 
  • Offer free plants in exchange for nursery pots.


Where To Find Cheap Planters:

  • Look at yard sales
  • Look at estate sales
  • Look at your local thrift store 
  • Look at clearance sales in August - October 
  • Look on Craigslist

Below you can see the shelf at our local Lowe's, where we can pick up free nursery pots.

Free planters Lowes

I am sure that our neighborhood is extreme, when it comes to the amount of littering and planting pots in the bushes. Have you ever seen anything like it? 

Where do you find your free pots and planters?


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  3. The conventional indoor methodology utilizes large indoor planters with seepage openings in the base that demonstration a saucer to get the abundance water as it channels through the dirt. This arrangement restricts the style of beautiful pots you can utilize and may not accomplish the inside plan look you need.


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