Preserving Carved Pumpkins: Making Pumpkin Planters Last Longer

Pumpkin Planter Full Of Autumn Colored Flowers
pumpkin planter
(Image credit: MaximFesenko)

As our harvests come to pass and the weather begins to cool, it's time to turn our attention to other tasks. A bumper crop of pumpkins begins to take shape as pie filling, while the outside makes perfect planters. The trick is making pumpkin planters last so you can keep the plants inside growing happily. There are a few tips and tricks to ensure a long-lasting pumpkin planter.

Preserving Carved Pumpkins

By nature, an organic container will eventually break down. Keeping pumpkins from rotting after you have gone to all the work to make them into planters is a tricky proposition. Many crafters are simply happy to have them for a month and then plant the whole thing in the ground when the container begins to discolor and get soft.

If you want yours to last longer though, location and a little care can extend the life of your container.

How you prepare your planter goes a long way to its longevity. Before you cut into it, wash the pumpkin carefully with a 10 percent solution of water and bleach. Let it air dry well before making your cuts.

Make sure you pick a fresh one as well, right out of the garden if possible. After you have removed the flesh and seeds, let the interior of the pumpkin dry out for a day before planting inside. Less moisture inside will help prevent immediate rotting. Then make sure you drill a couple of holes in the bottom for excess moisture to drain.

Making a Long-Lasting Pumpkin Planter

Making pumpkin planters last longer relies upon the type of set up inside. Pour a layer of pebbles or little rocks to cover the bottom of the planter. Use a good potting soil or sterilize your soil by baking it for 20 minutes and letting it cool. Certain plants, such as air plants, can be installed in sphagnum moss which will prevent rotting. Others need good soil.

A good tip to prevent excess moisture and help you reassemble the project if the container does rot is to leave your plants in their nursery pots. Cover up the pot edges with moss. If you have to remove them from a planter that is rotting, transferring them will be quick and easy.

Eventually, the container will go. That's just science. However, to keep pumpkins from rotting too quickly, spray them daily with a low bleach solution. You can also use peppermint oil or an organic peppermint soap spray. Rub the exposed cut areas with petroleum jelly. Keep insects away from the planter. Their activities will speed up the decay process.

The most important tip of all is placement. A planter indoors will receive heat, which can speed up decay. Planters outside should be under cover to avoid excess moisture. No matter what you do, the pumpkin will eventually become compost. If you want to avoid that entirely, purchase a “funkin” that will last indefinitely.

Bonnie L. Grant

Bonnie Grant is a professional landscaper with a Certification in Urban Gardening. She has been gardening and writing for 15 years. A former professional chef, she has a passion for edible landscaping.