Planting in a bathtub

giggles1June 18, 2009

Hi! While I've been a member for years, this is my 1st posting.

THANKS for all the wonderful ideas!

Recently, I aquired a claw-foot tub that was a store display... it's fiberglass, though you'd never know it until you tried to pick it up! I also have a real cast iron claw-foot tub, so, I'd like to have them as His & Hers.

I'd like to make them into planters, but wondered what to fill them with - claw-foots are DEEP. Hate to add too much stone or dirt, any ideas?

I don't want to make them into water ponds.

I was hoping to use perenials - I have some Johnny Jump-ups, would they come back up next year? I'm outside Buffalo, NY, so we get pretty cold! Anything else that might stay hardy? I really don't want to plant them up completely every year, maybe just ADD a few annuals. Anything WHITE like bubbles?

When I set these out, it'll be under huge pine trees. I'd like to have them appear as being on "rugs" so that nothing grows under or directly around them, making mowing around them easier. Right now, being under the pines, the area is just sparce with weed growth anyway. Any suggestions?


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Hey, go back to this post to get a couple of neat giant bubble ideas for your tub.

Here is a link that might be useful: giant bubbles

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 9:17AM
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If you make your 'rugs' out of planks and set it on cedar rails, it'll be off the ground a bit and still keep the weeds and grass from growing up underneath them. I used styrofoam peanuts in a galvanized bath tub planter to provide drainage without making it too heavy to pick up and move. Are you going to place manniquins in the tubs to look like they're taking a bath? If so, you might want to just plant white flowers to make it look like they're having a bubble bath. I'd get a kick out of a set up like that in my yard, but I'm afraid my DH would have a problem with it. Cheryl

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 9:23AM
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I filled an old milk can about half full of empty water bottles, then filled the rest with dirt to plant flowers in. Maybe milk jugs for your tubs. I had to shake it pretty vigorously to settle the dirt between the bottles before topping it off. How much sun to you get under your pines? That will make a difference in what flowers you should choose.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 10:20AM
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What ever filler you use for the bottoms of the tub, put screening of some sort over it before you add the dirt and plants, especially if is is those foam peanuts. You might even want to put the 'things' in plastic garbage bags. So that when you decide to empty it, it won't be as hard to do. Just ideas that came to mind.....

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 11:16AM
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concretenprimroses(4B NH)

I too was going to suggest empty (clean) milk jugs with caps to make it less heavy. So you don't need to do as much shaking you could place them on a shallow bed of dirt (after covering a layer of drainage material as suggested above) and then pour more dirt over and among. If there is still a lot of room add some smaller bottles in the same way. You want a foot of soil I would think for perennials. The roots will grow down among the bottles too. Do put something over the drain to keep it from being clogged, you need drainage. I think Johnny Jump ups would work. I've heard that the trick to above ground planters in cold places is to plant things that can survive 2 zones colder than the one you are in. So if you are in Zone 4 (like me) use plants that can go to Zone 2. I had a flat of Sweet William overwinter in a plastic tray last winter so I think that must be pretty hardy. I have sedums and hens and chicks planted in an old tree stump and they love it there. Would creeping phlox grow around the tubs on the ground do you think? It gets pretty dense and would like like a pretty fuzzy bathroom carpet. May be too shady tho...

Good luck

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 1:06PM
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Glad you decided to post and look forward to seeing your pics. I don't post all that much but try to look in every day for a bit for inspiration.

I think your idea is a good one. I thot of doing something similar when I bot an old tin bathtub at a YS for $5. I was going to plant all white frothy plants and white daisies in it such as baby's breath, white yarrow, feverfew, and shastas so there would be different heights of "bubbles". After I thot about it awhile I did a fairy garden in it instead. Might do the bubbles thing another year tho.

I'd do as suggested above and use empty milk bottles with landscape fabric over them to keep the soil above. A cheaper alternative might be to use an old piece of carpet instead of the landscape fabric. I've never tried that but have read of others doing so. Depending on plants 8"-12" of soil is enough.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 2:20PM
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THANKS everyone!

That pic of shysue's was EXACTLY what I imagined! Even the blue tub... pink for the other.

Since the tub only cost $3, I figured I could spend extra on an opaque paint for the BB's.

The Johnny Jump-ups were only $3 a flat, and I bought the light violet color, so that will work.

Plenty of empty water bottles & peanuts. The suggestions reminded me of all the pckg stuff I have downstairs.

NOW, 1) I clean out the vehicles of all the empty water bottles. 2) I cleanout the basement of all the pckg stuff. 3) I do a major recycling 4) I get a pretty new planter. 5) I ANNOY the nasty neighbors w/ a bathtub planter... lol... (EVERYDAY their 2 BIG dogs come to do-do on MY lawn)

OK, where's my GOLD STAR for the day?!?! Pics to follow.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 2:27PM
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Sounds like you are on your way to double tubs!! Impatiens come in white & like shade but wouldn't survive winters. Candytuft come is white & has very green lacy leaves I have the Iberis umbrellata- it has globe shaped heads of tiny white flowers & mounds, it's a perennial so should survive winters! Have fun! Jan

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 2:22AM
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Where on earth did you find flowers for $3 a flat? I am right in Buffalo and never find cheap flowers. Please give me the name of that nursery. Also please post pictures when you are done with the tub.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 12:50PM
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carousel222(z6 OH)

Well I used a lot of gravel/rocks for drainage and then added the soil. I put some screen mesh over the plumbing and drain holes. I have two antique claw foot tubs as well. One on each side of my patio. I've had them for 20 years now.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 1:18PM
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claudia_sandgrower(SC Zone 8)

Love the bathtub planter idea! You might want to ask over at the Container Gardening forum for plant ideas... lots of very sharp folks over there! Most of the posts right now are about veggie growing, but there are several serious soil experts that can help you with filling those tubs up.

I've used all sorts of things to fill up the bottoms of my larger containers - styro peanuts, crushed drink cans, soda bottles, and even upside-down plastic flower pots (the nursery kind - just cover the holes to keep your soil from filtering in).

One thing about containers of all sizes, though, is you have to change the soil out every couple of years because it becomes compacted and you run into issues of water movement and retention. There's a great post by one of the container gardening experts on the subject... I'll post the link below. It's long but well worth the read if you're going to invest a lot of work into container gardening!

Here is a link that might be useful: Container Soils - Water Movement and Retention

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 11:04PM
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