Galvanised buckets are a great way to achieve that rustic look in your home even in the heart of the city and provide a thriving environment for ornamental plants. While you can buy galvanised buckets made to hold plants, a more authentic look can be achieved by re-purposing a galvanised mop bucket or similar item. Variety can be added to your outdoor space by combining different shapes and sizes and by painting some of your bucket plant pots in bright colours.
Coloured plants for galvanised buckets
That raw, almost industrial look is best complemented either by bold colour or by the contrast of something delicate and feminine.
The sculptural quality of something like an acer will stop the arrangement from looking twee and predictable, while providing colourful and interesting foliage to a patio. Acer palmatum is a particularly versatile option for its airy green leafiness in spring time, sparkling yellow autumn colouring and coral bark in the winter.
If however you are aiming for the pretty, country cottage look, lobelia, sweet alyssum, marigolds, love in a mist, impatiens or begonias will all thrive in galvanised buckets as the metal has a useful warming effect upon the soil.
First year perennials are also ideal container plants in buckets – miniature roses, colourful salvias, phlox, or cornflowers will give a bright display early in the season, before being transplanted to the garden to overwinter. Temporary colour can be provided by daffodils, hyacinths and tulips.
How to plant galvanised buckets
Place the bucket upside down on a hard, flat surface – a concrete driveway or patio is ideal – to keep it stable while you make drainage holes in the base. If you are using a bucket with an uneven top such as a galvanised mop bucket, brace the uneven edges carefully to hold the bucket in place. Make the holes carefully with the aid of a sharp punching instrument or chisel and a hammer and spread them evenly around the bottom of the bucket. Each hole should be about 5mm in size. If you’re not feeling very energetic, use a drill with an appropriate metal bit.
For easier maintenance, line around the sides of your galvanised buckets with a plastic sheet before filling with a good potting compost and your plants. Line the bottom of the buckets with a sheet of mesh, to hold the contents in place but allow water to escape. Plants that need well drained soil benefit from a layer of gravel added to the bottom of the bucket underneath the soil.