Gardening Pots

How to Convert a Wicker Basket into a Planter

Wicker basket filled with annual flowers.

By Larry Hodgson

Wicker baskets look great anytime and make great containers for growing plants … when you know how to prepare them. But the sad fact is that, in contact with moist soil, inevitable when you grow plants, the wicker won’t last very long. It tends to weaken and rot away after just a few uses. 

In addition, the numerous openings in container’s sides and bottom mean the roots of the plants you grow in them dry out too quickly, forcing you to water far too often. 

Luckily, you can fix this quite easily. Here’s how:

Preparing a Wicker Planter for Planting, Step by Step

Applying varnish to a wicker basket.
Varnish the basket.
  1. To waterproof the wicker and seriously extend its useful life, varnish the inside and outside of the basket with three coats of wood preservative or water-repellent varnish, then let dry.
  2. Find a sheet of thick, transparent plastic to use as a liner (clear plastic being easier to hide than colored plastic). 
  3. Cut a circle of plastic about twice the diameter of the basket. If the basket is very deep, increase the diameter of the circle you cut. 
Hands placing a sheet of plastic in a wicker basket.
Line the inside with a sheet of plastic.
  1. Line the inside of the container with the plastic.
  2. Punch a few holes in the bottom of the plastic lining to ensure adequate drainage.
Scissors that cut the plastic protruding from the basket.
Cut away the excess plastic liner.
  1. Cut away the excess plastic liner. 
  2. Fill the container with moist potting soil
  3. Plant it with your favorite plants.

All that’s left to do is to enjoy your beautiful wicker container for many seasons to come.

Illustrations: Claire Tourigny

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “How to Convert a Wicker Basket into a Planter

  1. One of the baskets that I used for houseplants rotted out on the bottom (which was a pretty nasty indication of overwatering if you thing about it (so don’t), but fortunately (and miraculously) did not damage the floor too). It did not matter though, because it still fit neatly around a #5 (5 gallon) can.

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