Making Pumpkin Planters: How To Grow A Plant In A Pumpkin

Image by JB Kilpatrick

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Nearly everything that holds dirt can become a planter – even a hollowed-out pumpkin. Growing plants inside pumpkins is easier than you might think and the creative possibilities are limited only by your imagination. Read on for some ideas about creating pumpkin planters.

How to Make Pumpkin Planters

Any pumpkin is suitable for making pumpkin planters, but a round, fat pumpkin with a flat bottom is easier to plant in than a tall, skinny pumpkin. Purchase two or three nursery bedding plants to plant in your pumpkin.

To turn a plain old pumpkin into a flower pot, use a sharp knife to slice off the top. Make the opening large enough to allow for digging and planting. Use a trowel to scoop out the innards, then fill the hollow pumpkin about one-third or half full with lightweight potting soil.

Remove the plants from their nursery containers and set them on top of the soil, then fill in around the plants with more potting soil. Cover the plants at the same level they were planted in the nursery container, as planting too deep may cause the plant to rot.

Once the pumpkin begins to fade, plant the pumpkin planter in the ground and let the rotting pumpkin provide natural fertilizer to the young plants (If you choose to do this, be sure to choose plants suitable for your USDA plant hardiness zone). Water the plants and your pumpkin flower pot is done!

If you want, you can paint a face on the front or poke a few colorful autumn leaves around the plants to add extra color.

Note: If you want to keep the project extra-easy, just place the plants – pot and all – in the container. When the pumpkin begins to deteriorate, remove the plants and plant them in regular pots, or in the ground.

Tips to Grow a Plant in a Pumpkin

Here are some additional tips to help with growing plants in pumpkins:

Selecting Plants

Colorful fall plants look great in a pumpkin planter. For example, consider mums, ornamental cabbage or kale, or pansies. The colorful, trailing leaves of heuchera add a touch of class, or you can plant ornamental grassivy or herbs (such as thyme or sage). Use at least one upright plant and one trailing plant.

If you want the pumpkin planter to last a bit longer, use plants that prefer shade because pumpkins won’t survive long in bright sunlight.

Planting Seeds in Pumpkins

Planting seeds in pumpkins is a great gardening project for little fingers, as kids love to plant seeds, or they can give their pumpkin planters away as gifts. Miniature pumpkins work well for this project.

Cut the pumpkin as directed above and fill it with potting mix. Help your kids plant fast-growing, kid-size seeds such as beansnasturtiums or even pumpkins!

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