How To Paint and Plant Baskets for Container Gardens | Midwest Living

How To Paint and Plant Baskets for Container Gardens

Turn an inexpensive basket into a miniature garden with our simple paint techniques and a handful of your favorite herbs or easy-to-grow flowers.
  • Minty fresh

    Minty fresh

    A milk-crate-style basket with painted stripes shows off Angelface Pink angelonia and Blutopia Blue bacopa. Vigorous mint rounds out the trio, but needs harvesting so it doesn't overtake the flowers. Full sun or part shade guarantee months of growth—and mint for mojitos.

    Click or tap ahead to learn how to create painted baskets and to see other ideas for planting herb and flower combos in your baskets.

  • Step 1: Gather your materials

    Step 1: Gather your materials

    For this project, you'll need: 

    • A drop cloth
    • Masking tape
    • An inexpensive woven basket (Look for them in craft stores or the kitchen and bath departments of superstores.)
    • A 1-inch paint brush
    • Latex paint
    • Landscape fabric
    • Herb plants and flowers

  • Step 2: Design

    Step 2: Design

    Create a design on the basket by masking sections you do not want painted. Press the tape securely onto the uneven surface for sharp lines.

  • Step 3: Paint

    Step 3: Paint

    Using the 1-inch brush, apply the latex paint in gentle strokes to prevent paint from seeping into areas you do not want painted.

  • Step 4: Get plant-ready

    Step 4: Get plant-ready

    Line the basket with landscape fabric to prevent soil from washing out of the basket. Fold or overlap edges as necessary.


  • Step 5: Add plants

    Step 5: Add plants

    Fill the lined basket with quality potting soil and add annuals, perennials or herbs that you enjoy. Select plants with similar water needs and ones that will thrive in the lighting conditions where the planter is placed. Choices for herbs might include thyme, flat-leaf parsley, basil, dill, rosemary or mint. 

  • Easygoing combo

    Easygoing combo

    Orange and pink add pretty spring color to a basket. Burgundy Blush dianthus, bright green parsley and variegated sage thrive in either full sun or part shade.

  • Fresh flavor

    Full of flavor

    A fresh garnish of parsley, dill and thyme waits just outside the door in this pair of purple planters. Lavender blooms of Serena Mixture angelonia complement the basket color. 

  • Pretty and tough

    Pretty and tough

    Four drought-tolerant plants in a shallow basket make a perfect centerpiece for alfresco meals. Rosemary, lime green stonecrop sedum, gray-green Crassula 'Morgan's Beauty' and Echeveria 'Perle von Nurnberg' need only bright sun and a weekly sprinkle of water to thrive.

  • Floral fountain

    Floral fountain

    Angelface Pink angelonia, Fireworks fountaingrass and thyme provide floral flow to this wicker basket. Vertical stripes echo the fountaingrass' natural pattern. To get another round of color out of your angelonia, trim the spikes after blossoms fade.

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