Need Info on Planting in a Whiskey Barrel

Jane RaffertyMay 26, 2011

I've read here that people have planted a rose in a half whiskey barrel. I have one on my deck that I'd love to plant a Our Lady of Guadeloupe in. I've only planted annuals in it and wondered how to prepare the barrel for a rose.

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jerijen(Zone 10)

It may be different in your part of the country.

Out here, we used many whiskey barrels. In our experience, as soon as the plant had achieved some real maturity, the barrel rotted out.
I think, if I desperately wanted to do that, I would plant in a plastic "liner," inside the barrel. That way, when the wood rotted out, the plant, in its plastic liner, could be transferred to a new one.

Jeri in Coastal Southern CA

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:18PM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

A plastic liner is a good idea.

The size of the barrel itself is a good size for that rose. Just make sure you use a good-quality potting soil and that drainage is adequate.

You may also have to winter-protect, because roots in a pot are much more vulnerable to freezing than roots in the ground, though you probably already know that.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 1:46PM
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seil zone 6b MI

I agree with using a liner. Try and find one of those black nursery pots that fits well inside the barrel. A lot of local nurseries have them for sale here and they're pretty inexpensive. I'm sure someone in your area has them too. That will also make it easier to move that rose for winter protect. It won't winter unprotected in a pot. So you can just lift the liner out and put it in the garage for the winter. The nursery pot will also have enough holes in it for good drainage. That's the most important thing for a potted rose. Without adequate drainage your rose roots will rot. (Rotted rose roots, say that three times fast, lol!) I put a coffee filter over the drainage holes to start. It eventually dissolves but in the mean time it holds in the lose soil until it has time to settle so it doesn't run out the holes. Then I put a layer of styrofoam packing peanuts (not the biodegradable new ones) about an inch deep. Then fill with good light potting soil. Never use garden soil, it's too dense to drain well. Then plant your rose and top dress with mulch to retain moisture if you want. I quit mulching mine because it got too pricey and last year I had volunteer petunias come up in a lot of my pots. It seemed to work just as well as the mulch and was so much prettier!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:44PM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

Jeri's right, the barrels fall apart after a number of years. A liner of some kind would be good.

I did have OLoG in a pot (plastic) for a number of years, I would recommend some type of protection for the barrel during the winter.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 2:52PM
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Jane Rafferty

This a big barrel with an inside diameter of 24" and 22" high. It is 5 years old and is as sturdy as when I bought it. The bands are tight and the wood solid. I don't think I can find a liner for it. The only ones I've seen are for the imitation barrels.

The mums (that I thought were annuals) did fine in it over the winter, but I've heard that I could wrap it in bubble wrap around the side and mulch the top for protection. I also have a big Styrofoam rose cone I could put over it. I don't have a garage or any place to winter a rose.

My biggest concern is for the drainage. Any suggestions or sites you could point me at to tell me how to make sure it has enough drainage? I plan to empty it and then fill the bottom with something like maybe stone as I have a bag that I didn't use.

Thanks for the suggestions. I appreciate it. I'm going to a big nursery today and tomorrow for roses and will see if they have any liners.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 3:03PM
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seil zone 6b MI

If you are planting right in the barrel, does it have drainage holes?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 8:28PM
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out of necessity i have had to plant many of my roses in pots or whisky barrels and they do fine (mind you , i am in the PNW). the key is to use the lightest of soils; a sunshine 4 works fine. i have been told though ( by a reputable rosarian hybridizer), that after three years or so, the soil should be changed in the pots. i am tending to agree with him because some of my roses are in their fourth year in their pot and are not doing so well in this fourth year; will repot next spring and see what happens.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2011 at 11:12PM
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seil zone 6b MI

That's true, Joe. The time line varies some depending on where you live but you do eventually have to re-pot. In warmer climates that is between 2 and 4 years because they grow for a much longer season. In my zone 6 I have to do mine between 4 and 5 years because my season is short and they don't get root bound as quickly. When I change the soil I root prune too. A sure sign that your rose is root bound is if while you're pouring the water in the top of the pot it's running out the bottom just as fast!

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 10:33AM
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hoovb zone 9 sunset 23

3 or 4 holes of 2" should do it. Use a holesaw. Put some squares of window screen or shade cloth over the holes to keep the soil in and the earwigs out.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 1:52PM
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Many carwashes buy soap in plastic barrels, you could call around. They can be cut in half with a jig saw, painted with a spray can paint and will out last most of us. Drill holes as needed. I have a brown one in my SUV right now awaiting modification.They come in 15, 17, 35, 55 gallon size (and more).

Here is a link that might be useful: used plastic barrels

    Bookmark   May 27, 2011 at 8:12PM
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Jane Rafferty

The barrel has good drainage, I made sure of that when I first got it. I don't have access to a jig saw so cutting anything in half is out. I will have to see if I can get the rose I want, if not, I will put something else in there and wait for next year.

Thanks for the responses.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 7:21AM
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diane_nj 6b/7a

That's the size barrel I have/used to have. Lasted ~7 years.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 12:13AM
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One more caveat: if you have gophers, be sure to use wire to cover the bottom, or plant in a gopher basket the same way you would in the ground. Gophers have no trouble at all getting up inside those barrels and munching away at whatever you have planted.


    Bookmark   May 29, 2011 at 10:26AM
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Has anyone had any problems with growing plants in whiskey barrel liners? The liners do not have drainage holes. I have impatiens and nasturtiums in miracle gro potting soil in these liners. The soil seems to stay too wet. Do these liners need drainage holes, or is the problem with the type of potting soil I'm using? The plants have not grown much in the two months I've had them planted. Our summer has been very warm and humid for WI.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 6:28AM
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seil zone 6b MI

Most any plant will need drainage holes when grown in a pot. Unless you're growing pond plants I'd punch holes in the liner.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 11:12AM
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Yesterday, my helpful husband drilled several holes in our plastic liner--while we propped them up on two chairs. Hopefully this will give the soggy roots the boost they need for this season. Will reconsider the system before planting next year. Thanks all.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 7:13AM
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karl_bapst_rosenut(5a, NW Indiana)

Whiskey barrel liners can be found on this website. I got mine at a store that specialized in pond supplies

Here is a link that might be useful: Whiskey barrel liners

    Bookmark   August 10, 2011 at 2:32PM
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