Have a question about half wine barrel planter

kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)April 6, 2010

I'm planning on planting a climbing mini rose in a half wine barrel I bought yesterday. The thing is heavy as heck without any soil in it! I want to ask before I fill it up, because once I fill it up with soil I can't move the darn thing! I am going to leave it outside in my yard where I have full sun most of the day. Since it's going to be outside in the yard, does it have to be raised off the ground (like on a couple bricks) or can it sit on the ground? Would the planter wood rot if it sits on the ground? How long before it would rot? Would the rose survive better with the planter on the ground? I do live in a cold, snowy area NE Ohio zone 5b.

And, what is a good mix for the roses? I have on hand vermiculite, perlite, mini pine chips, MG potting mix. Will that do? Or do I need to go buy granite mini nuggets at Lowes?

As I said, the planter is going to be in it's spot once it's filled, and I can't move it anywhere because of the weight. So I need to find out what I have to do BEFORE I fill it up! :) lol

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This voice of experience urges you to do the following. If you will take the time your barrel should last for many years.

From plywood cut a circle that will just fit inside the bottom rim tightly to the bottom . Then, cut 3 pieces of treated 2x4's the necessary lengths to fit parallel to each other INSIDE the bottom rim so the barrel will hang on them. This method works best when placing a barrel on soil. The alternate method for barrels on decks or patios is to cut the inside plywood base and then suspend the barrel on bricks placed in three parallel rows. The important part is to allow the bottom outside rim of the barrel to hang free and not be supported by anything.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 12:27PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

But, that would mean my rose may not survive the winters wouldn't it? If it's raised off the ground? Then you have cold air flow underneath like overpasses and bridges. I'm more worried about the rose making it with the barrel being second on my list!
Thanks for the info though


    Bookmark   April 6, 2010 at 9:13PM
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I'm planning on planting in a half wine barrel~~~not sure what, but probably a Japaneese Maple.
Should I drill drainage holes in the bottom?

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 4:25AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

You'll be sorry if you don't. ;o)


    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 7:05PM
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Ohiofem(6a Ohio)

I live in Southwest Ohio, and don't have experience with roses. But I suspect your roses won't survive the winter in your pot. Many years ago I planted iris bulbs in a half whiskey barrel raised a few inches off the ground. They were all killed by freezing the first winter after I planted them. The bulbs I planted in the ground of the same type all survived.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2011 at 10:32PM
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Midwestern winters being what they are... unpredictable... you may want to think about having a way to move the barrel into an unheated garage or shed to overwinter the rose. A dolly cart would make moving the half barrel quite easy. At least have a way to move the barrel to a protected spot against a building, where frigid wind won't damage the delicate canes while the rose is dormant.

I would definitely allow for excellent drainage. Roses are thirsty plants, but their roots hate to be constantly saturated.

I grow a ton of roses in Central Illinois, zone 5b... miniatures, all kinds... and I plant them all directly in the ground where I know that with a good layer of mulch, and a protective blanket of insulating snow, they'll survive our winters.

Anything I do grow in a container gets moved into an unheated garage in fall, and is brought out again in spring, when it breaks dormancy.

I'm not saying you CAN'T successfully grow a miniature rose in a half barrel... but there are some definite considerations... excellent drainage and good winter protection being extremely important.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 10:50AM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Agree with Robin & Jodi.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 1:56PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

I decided last year not to leave the roses in the half barrel. I have them planted in smaller (10 to 15 gallon) pots and put them in my unheated shed for the winter, made sure to throw snow on them a few times. So far so good, there is loads of green cane on them! Now, if only I had some more spring-like weather staying around, I could take them out of the shed! lol

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 2:10PM
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I'm having wine barrell planter issues right now. I bought 2 more and forgot to drill the holes in the bottom before putting the soil in. Luckily I remembered before I planted anything in them but now before a couple of big storms. What a mess! The potting soil is so sludgy that I need to replace it now before I plant. I tried drilling the holes and putting the soil back in to drain to no avail. Mold is growing. Not good!

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 2:24PM
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I've included a link below to a fantastic article on container soils and how water moves through them. The article also has recipes for free draining mediums you can mix yourself. I think the 511 medium would be perfect for a half barrel.

It would be worth your while to begin again, drilling the necessary holes, placing some mesh over them, and using a more durable, free draining soil that will hold up well and give your plants' roots better aeration along with excellent drainage.

It really helps when you know what the purpose of soil is, and what plants actually require... and Al's article in the link covers it all. It dispels some old wive's tales, gives excellent and very pertinent information, and if there's anything you don't understand about the concept of a more durable, fast draining medium, please feel free to ask us! We're all here to help! :-)

I use the recipe for Gritty Mix in all my long term plantings, which would be my house plants, and I'm going to use the 511 medium for some large patio pots I have outside. Some will contain annuals, and others will hold my Japanese Maples and other trees, or roses.

Either way, the larger pots get wheeled back inside the unheated garage at season's end.

I'm waiting on pins and needles, too, for the nicer weather of spring to stay with us a while! I'd like nothing better than to get all the plant material out of the garage!

Happy Gardening!

Here is a link that might be useful: Soil Recipes Included...

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 4:03PM
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Thanks. I love all the information that Al provides on this forum. It's all extremely helpful! I must admit that I am still intimidated at the idea of making my own potting mix. I have to print the recipe out and look for ingredients. I'm sure once I try it, I'll probably use it all the time.

I am starting over, the barrels are drilled and the sludge is out of them. I'm letting them dry a bit before I refill them. I need to do it sometime this week cause my squash babies are getting big in my window. It's in the 80's this week so I think it will be OK to plant them out in the barrels now.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 4:23PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

Ania - thanks for the kind words. ;o) .... plenty of people here to support you in your efforts. Your last soil may have just inherently been too water retentive if it still wouldn't drain after you drilled holes & returned it to the barrel. You prolly already know that all soils aren't equally serviceable. Whatever you decide to do - good luck & happy growing. ;o)


    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 5:35PM
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I copied and pasted the entire article, recipes and all, to my desktop so I could refer to it any time I need... and I definitely have needed to! :-) It took reading through it all a few times... ok, several times... before it really sank in and the light bulb lit!

At first, the idea of making my own medium kind of intimidated me, but once I found the ingredients and made my first small batch, I was in medium heaven! I haven't looked back!

Al has been extremely instrumental in both my growing success, and in the expansion of my knowledge! I consider myself one of his students, and I always look forward to finding a new article posted with new information to absorb!

I wish you the best, Ania! If you need help with anything, please let us know... we're always glad to help in any way we can! :-)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 10:45PM
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Has anyone tried to create a false bottom with something porous but that will hold the soil in order to keep the barrels from becoming too heavy?
A friend suggested big pieces of styrofoam and then some kind of mesh stapled around the edge but she has no gardening experience and I'm not sure what might happen as the styrofoam breaks down with water drainage.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 6:32PM
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tapla (mid-MI z5b-6a)

..... empty soda bottles with the lids screwed on, or milk jugs/distilled water containers with screw-on lids work quite well and can actually reduce the volume of soil that can/will hold perched water if you're using a heavy (water-retentive) soil.


    Bookmark   May 7, 2011 at 9:51PM
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kentstar(5b, NE Ohio)

That's funny ania! I did the same thing and forgot to drill out the holes when I put the soil in! Luckily, I realized it minutes after I filled the barrel! I shoveled the soil right back out (the neighbors probably think I'm a lune lol), went to the shed, got my corded drill with 3/4 inch spade in hand, and drilled the suckers! Then I refilled and felt much better about it lol.

I decided to plant a hosta (Olive Bailey Langdon) in the barrel last year. What I did was, I put some boards across the top, put a tarp over the whole thing, and weighted the tarp in place with a couple bricks. My hosta came through the whole winter with flying colors! Amazingly tough they are!
I went and purchased another whiskey barrel and planted a clematis in it that's supposed to be hardy to zone 3 (Madame Julia Correvon) in it. We'll see how that goes this winter. I hope that one survives!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2011 at 5:37AM
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