Can You Use Glass Jars As Plant Pots?

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I’m a big advocate of reusing old stuff rather than buying new.

I promise I do talk about using glass jars as plant pots and the pros and cons therewith, but first there’s a lengthy tangent about redoing our garden using the crap the previous owner left.

You can scroll past if you so desire. Don’t worry about it. It’s only my LIFE.

We’ve recently moved house and have inherited a sterile wasteland of fake grass, hedges (no joke, it looks like someone skinned a Christmas tree and zip-tied it to a fence), and flowers.

It started to smell like dog poo and I needed LIFE so we rolled up the grass, only to discover rotten decking beneath. We got rid of that before one of us broke a leg and now we have EXTREMELY DIY paving. That’s fine though, and safe enough (fingers crossed).

In the spirit of reusing stuff, we went to the garden centre, bought a load of dying plants, and planted them up in the horrible plastic monstrosies the previous owner left behind.

And you know what? It looks fine.

We bought a tonne of plants for 50p that had gone to seed which sounds like a waste of £3.00 but ALL OF THE BEES SHOWED UP. It was glorious. The lavenders will regroup next year, and it’ll be fine. It still looks uncared for, but it has life!

If you’re wondering why those gorgeous white flowers were cheap it’s because they freaking STINK. Like a cross between poo and vomit.

Luckily you have to get really close to smell them, and the lavender, dead as it looks, scents the whole space (I say that like it’s hard – it’s not exactly Kew gardens).

And the bees love it. Perverts.

It’s just nice to have some life back, even though it clearly needs a good scrub.

ANYWAY

Yes, you can use glass jars as plant pots.

Kind of.

Pros and cons of growing plants in glass jars

Pros:

  • They’re free

I mean, technically they’re not free, especially if you for mason jars or similar, but if you’re reusing, say, jam jars, then they’re like, what, a pound? Plus you get jam.

My favourite glass jars to use as plant pots are large peanut butter jars but they are a PAIN to clean out.

  • They’re good for the environment

Not only are we reusing something that can be reused for a really, really, really long time as is, once it breaks it can be melted down and recycled.

Every one of the ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ points is utilised here. We’ve reduced the number of plant pots we need, and we’ve reused a jar that can be recycled.

Well done us.

  • They look cool

This is obvs a taste thing, but I do find rows of glass jars with plants in to be very pleasing on the eye. You can mix and match the styles whilst maintaining cohesion (like you can if you use all terracotta)

  • You can see the roots

Root health is kind of a big deal when it comes to house plants. With glass jars, you don’t need to delve around in soil to see the roots. There’s no risk of a plants becoming accidentally rootbound because you can see everything.

  • You can see how wet the soil is

Looking to see if soil is wet isn’t exactly foolproof, but you can definitely see if there’s a puddle at the bottom of the jar. And you can usually see a bit of condensation on the inside of the glass if the soil is moist.

  • You can use them to trap humidity

If you have a big glass jar and a tiny plant, you can pop the whole plant in the pot and create a little terrarium. If the plant already has a cute pot, then you can save yourself a tonne of hassle and put the whole thing in. Or you can add a layer of leca, then soil, then plant the plant.

This is a great way to care for plants such as fittonia that are known for being huge divas when it comes to humidity.

  • You can use a variety of media to pot your plants in

I like to use glass jars for plants in leca, because whilst you 100% can plant soil plants in glass jars, it’s a bit trickier and the plants typically require more attention than I’m going to give them.

Usually, you’d drill a hole a third of the way up for easy flushing, but smaller jars don’t need it – you can just cover the opening with your hand and tip the water out, add more, tip, repeat a couple of times and voila, your plant is flushed.

You can also plant your plants in just water if you’re using a glass jar as a pot.

Cons

  • They don’t have drainage holes

I tend to tell people that plants pots NEED to have drainage holes. It’s not something I’m willing to testify to under oath because it’s not actually true.

However, what IS true is that it’s much MUCH easier to take care of plants properly if the pot has drainage holes.

You water the plant (slowly), the soil absorbs as much water as it can and the excess drains away.

If the excess doesn’t drain away, you end up with what the experts call mud in the bottom of your plant pot.

The soil is too wet, there’s no oxygen in the soil, rot-causing bacteria thrives, and suddenly we’re all having a terrible time.

  • They don’t allow for good airflow

Getting air and oxygen to the roots of your plants is very important. Lack of oxygen is the primary cause of root rot. If I were planting a plant in soil in a glass jar I’d be sure to use a VERY airy mixture to ensure adequate airflow.

  • It can be awkward when it comes to repotting

This is not unique to glass jars, but it is a common issue. You know how most glass jars narrow at the top to form a neck? That can make it a PAIN to get established plants out.

If the top is narrower than the middle even by a fraction, you may have a fight on your hands. This is why I don’t recommend you let plants in glass jars get rootbound.

Not because it’s dangerous to the plant (as long as you soak the roots being rootbound is rarely that big of a deal), but because you may have to smash the jar to get the plants out.

Again, smashing a jar is hardly the worst thing in the world to have to do, but it’s also easier to, you know, NOT have to do it.

Final thoughts

I’m a big advocate of keeping plants in stuff we already have, because I find buying pots weirdly stressful.

For a start there’s WAY too much choice. If I find one I immediately fall in love with, it usually has a problem, like no drainage hole or something.

There's also a theme among pots at the moment, which you'll be familar with if you've read this article on buying plant pots from Etsy. 90% of the plant pot shops are primarily selling pots that look like boobs. 

I have nothing againast boobs (I have a set myself), and I like a boob planter as much as the next person, but I think I only need, like a couple of boob planters? And the rest can be other things?

Also, they’re incredibly expensive, especially compared to a peanut butter jar, but is not only like £3 BUT COMES LITERALLY FULL OF PEANUT BUTTER.

So yeah, reuse those glass jars! Develop a pickled onion problem so you can get big glass jars that are super easy to clean!

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