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Repurposed Vintage (gas/watering) cans


vintage hens & chicksIn yesterday’s post I showed you how Jamie and I planted succulents(hens & chicks) for her wedding reception.

hens & chicks succulents weddingThese are the plants I brought home from the wedding.  I needed a place to plant them.

Vintage Gas CansIf you follow me on FB or Twitter you already know what I ran across while cleaning these cans out!   I generally post what I’m working on if you’re interested in following there.  The can on the right had a MOUSE family that committed suicide in it.  There was a cap on the top, apparently they went in through the spout.  Joyce said she thought it was a great mousetrap!

After I got it cleaned out, I drilled some holes in it.

using a vintage gas can in the garden

Then I used a pair of tin snips to cut a larger hole. I tried a hole saw, but it didn’t want to work very well on the roundness of the can.

I used a file to remove some of the sharp points.

vintage gas can planterI filled it up with a sandy topsoil. Not pictured: I drilled many holes in the bottom for drainage, and added some rocks to the bottom for drainage. These plants need well drained soil.

succulents in a vintage gas canI didn’t fill all the holes because I thought the babies would come out of the holes. Cathy thinks they won’t.  Thoughts?  Can you help me know how these things work?

Hens & Chicks Repurposed Containers This is just for staging because it is too shady in this area of my flower bed.

Repurposed Gas CanI will have to move it to a much sunnier location.

repurposed vintage watering canI had a few more plants, and wanted another unusual container. I found this vintage watering can in my shed.

Hens & Chicks Repurposed Containers I drilled and cut holes in it too. I also did drainage holes and rocks in the bottom.

Hens & Chicks Repurposed Containers

Hens & Chicks Repurposed Containers

watering can planterThis is a very small decorative watering can. I put some of the leftover plants that were not used at the wedding.

This is an old furnace grate. I used all of the leftover dirt and garbage roots from the container that Marybeth delivered Nana’s (aunt Jean’s) hens & chicks in. I have this in the sunniest part of my back yard. I will keep you posted if this “garbage” produces any plants.  I am hopeful that it will.  update: it did nothing   :(   


updated to add: I built this container for Jamie to grow her Hens & Chicks, and it’s doing great. You can see how I built it in my post  Planter Made With Reclaimed Fence


What is the most unusual container YOU have used to plant flowers/plants in?

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A teacher at heart, Gail relishes the chance not to show off her projects, but to help others find their inner handywoman, step-by-step. Her blog, MyRepurposedLife.com, chronicles her scrap-saving adventures and has been featured on countless DIY magazines and websites, including Women’s Day, Design*Sponge and Apartment Therapy. She is a longtime influencer for both Krylon spray paint and Gorrilla Glue. With a tribe of more than 400,000 followers, Gail is inspiring a new generation of DIYers to pick up some tools and get to work.
About gail@myrepurposedlife.com


    Speak Your Mind


  1. This post is a few years old now, how did these cans grow in? If you still have them, can you post some pictures? I have some Hens and Chicks that I picked up from the nursery last weekend and I’m looking for some creative ideas on how to plant them. :)

  2. girlfromwva says:

    I think what you did using the cans is really interesting and unique! great job! I plant flowers & plants in all kinds of things. I have used thrifted sugar bowls, tea cups, candle holders, votive holders, ice cream bowls, just whatever i find for that particular plant or flower. I don’t spend but 25 to 50 cents on them, so it works out.

  3. I have a watering can similar to the one with the “squared off” spout…I was a bit lazier and found one ceramic low slung dish that would fit in the large opening in the top so planted a succulent in it. It took a bit to get it to angle under the handle b/c there wasn’t much space (was relieved when it made it w/o breaking) but it’s sorta nice and just a fun place to put a plant and display the watering can, too. Yours looked great…with the multiple plants…a good idea!

  4. So vintage, and yet so beautiful and still so useful. Love the idea and creativity of this DIY.

    Cathy@white nursing shoes

  5. Okay, I think I’m a reply blogger now…maybe. I tried copying and pasting my link but it tells me I can’t use tags. So, I’m just going to try pasting the link “naked”.


  6. Chris-you are a no reply blogger, so I can’t email you. I don’t know if you will see this comment or not. If you have a blog post, or a link to pictures, just copy and paste it in a comment below.

  7. I love your blog and your projects – thanks for sharing them! The watering and gas can planters are awesome.

    I have been harvesting chicks n hens for many years. I have some photos of the things I’ve done with them that I’d love to share with everyone, but I can figure out how to insert the link…

  8. Before my mother retired she worked in a factory where she had to wear steel toed boots my mom had special order them since she wore a size five . When she retired she filled her boots with hen and chicks!

  9. Lady you amaze me. I love these..that is cool and I love the old look of the cans.

  10. I want to run, run, run and get some containers and hen and chicks.
    Last year, I planted lavender in an old metal mop bucket.

  11. How cute! I love the idea and it looks great. I’m not sure if the plants will come through the holes, you could wait until the shoots start to come off the ones you planted and then replant them in those wholes. I really love how the gas can turned out, may have to scour some yard sales for one of my own!

    Also, I have a great giveaway going on for some chalkboard labels and would love if you entered! http://eyespydiy.blogspot.com/2011/05/chalkboard-label-giveaway-from-ginger.html

  12. so cute…i am so glad you soldiered on after the 3 blind mice incident!

  13. Totally cool …. super creative. The chicks will not come out of those holes though. Sorry….

  14. Those turned out really cute Gail.

  15. what a fantastic idea! i love it!

  16. what a fantastic idea! i love it!

  17. This is such a cute idea! Love how the plants and the can just ‘fit’…they were meant to be!
    Also, thanks for stopping by ‘Just Dream, Jelly Bean’ and your sweet comment…come on back anytime :)
    have a great week…
    ~ Jill

  18. Gail, I love the succulents in the tea cups and the gas can too! You did a beautiful job. The gas can definitely makes a prettier planter than it does a mouse-trap — Eek!


  19. I love that idea! Hens and chicks are so easy to grow!

  20. Very clever, Love them. 10 years ago my Grandma gave me a bin full of hens and chicks. Back then I didnt garden or even know what they were but at least I had the sense to plant them in all the rockerys. I have tons now!

  21. Who says you aren’t cre8tive! I love this, it is too cute.

  22. I was going to buy some of these the other day! I still have other plants that need to be planted before I buy more. They look cute in the watering can. I have an old chair I painted blue and made a basket for it and filled it up!

  23. The cans look great! I just started a new addiction with hens & chicks last year, now I have some new ideas….

  24. That’s such a cool look, and it’s only going to look better and better as the plants grow! I think it’s really special that all these plants are “family” plants, and now you have some, too.

    I hope the furnace grate gets a few hens. That would be fun to see!

  25. loving this! and kicken myself for not grabbing a couple cans at a garage sale last weekend because I didn’t know what I would do with them to convince my husband why I needed them. umpf!

  26. I can’t tell you anything about them, but my Dad gave me a vintage mccoy pot to plant some hens and chicks in. (I got the babies from a teacher’s assistant last year before I retired.) I hope yours and mine will thrive.

  27. love your containers.. i have some hen and chicks my mama gave me for Mothers day last year and they are still living..surprise surprise and I honestly havent done anything to them at all. I like that kind of plant.

  28. I planted flowers in an old rubber boot. It was too cute!

  29. In my experience, the chicks only grow right next to the mother, so they are not going to spread to the rest of the holes. Eventually, the mother will probably die off also. Did you clean the gas can really well? Gas will kill vegetation.

  30. The new planters look great. You need to put a chick in each hole. The chicks form off the mother plant.

    The most unusual thing I’ve planted in was an old turquoise toilet complete with the tank. I sold the toilet, plants and all for $50 at my moving sale.

  31. Your cans look like they will fill in nicely. I just got myself 2 old metal watering cans and maybe I’ll make them planters too! Thanks for the ideas!

  32. Right now I am working on a lid from an old trunk. I am making a moss garden. Your watering cans are great. I would probably snip a finger off!

  33. Im so rubbish with plants I see all these wonderful ideas & I feel very shameful

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me! I read and appreciate every word!