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So I have a couple of old terracotta type chimney pots - one over a couple of feet tall, the other 6 inches or so shorter. I'm not sure how to plant them up. Someone said to put a planted flower pot in the top, but surely that would dry out too soon? I want something a bit more permanent. Should I fill them with compost all the way up, in situ in a border, or inside a terracotta saucer on the patio? I like the idea of growing bulbs in them, and/or maybe a clematis. Any ideas?

Thanks, Patsy. So are the  chimney pots on soil or concrete, and are you filling them with compost or just using a potted plant in them? I guess that if bulbs are planted we'd have to fill them with compost so we could plant the bulbs deeply enough?

I have one of those Mexican daisy plants which looks very pretty and frothy  and I think that might work well planted into it.

I have some chimney pots 4' high.  I cemented in a base with drainage holes halfway down.  

Wisehedgecrone. I would not put in a pot....why? Use them just like any other container.  I would put gravel, grit, polystyrene etc in bottom few inches then use  mpc for temporary plants or John innes for permanent ones.  

I use mine for temporary/seasonal plantIngs.  Pelargoniums for example. Fuschias.  Grasses, Phormiums and  Aeoniums look good too.  I have convolvulous maritima in one chimney pot though.  It survives here every year and cascades making a sheet of velvety purple/blue all summer long.  

You dont say how wide your pots are but a clematis should grow well in them if you feed well.  Bulbs?  No problem.  


In a previous existence I had several tall chimney pots which I used for plants.  I had a selection of plastic pots that lodged firmly inside them without showing from the outside.  In the summer I'd plant them up with pretty pink geraniums (pelargoniums) and pale blue and white trailing lobelias and trailing fuchsias etc.

In the autumn I'd have pots ready planted up with trailing variegated ivy and pink cyclamen hederifolium  and little crocuses and grape hyacinths which looked gorgeous through until late spring.

For late spring I'd have pots ready planted with short bright red tulips and they would last until it was time to replace them with the summer ones.

I don't think you need  fill tall chimneys with compost - nothing you plant in them will need soil that deep, and you might need to move them and then you'd lose everything. 

Patsy: Its Latin name is:

Erigeron Karvinskianus

and I've seen it in many National Trust gardens in the summer and autumn - it seems to seed itself readily in the least likely places and looks beautiful.

Thanks for all the replies. Verdun - you suggest using them like any other container and putting crocks or gravel at the bottom, but would you put the whole thing in a border first or in a saucer? Otherwise the contents would spill out of the bottom if you move it. 

I also like the temporary/seasonal planting ideas from Dovefromabove - I wish I was that organised though! 

One of the pots isnt straight at the bottom too - bits seem to have broken off leaving a jagged irregular bottom to it so I will have to bury it a few inches into the soil in a border as it wouldn't support itself otherwise. Can't see a way of levelling the bottom edge easily.







One of mine was quite uneven at the bottom - I just wedged it on a piece of brick tile, with the broken piece at  the back so it didn't show - I had one pot each side of the front porch of the gothic-style cottage where I lived then,  and more dotted around the front garden.  

You're not married to my ex are you?  I didn't get custody of my flower pots 

No, not married to anyone's ex as far as I know, Dovefromabove!

Your pots were on the front porch, you say... but were they inside saucers or straight on the ground?

If you plan to move them at a later date which is what I decided to do, the soil doesn't just come out the bottom, whether you have a saucer underneath or not they are also very heavy to move when full.

It depends what you want to plant in them too, for instance, a clemantis would need a back support and presumably wouldn't be moved so would be fine in a full chimmey- in your border or on hard ground, wouldn't think there would be need for a saucer.

I put pots in the tops of mine which are changed seasonally and move the chimney's around the garden.


My parents house was on the estate of several medieval country houses (still standing) and I used to find old pottery in the garden all the time. I used to bring back old chimney pots for my mum to pot up, found around the old rose garden and around the walled gardens.

Years later the local paper had a story on how the local hall had one of the best collections of medieval and Jacobean chimney pots  but these had been systematically depleted over the years by thieves...seems over the years I had been robbing valuable and rare chimney pots for me mum to put woolworths bedding into.

OMG blairs - what a story! Where was your parents' house then? It sounds amazing!


My mum had two crown topped chimney pots. She had them on the front and used to fit a hanging basket in the top, and allow trailing plants to go down the sides.....until the morning she found the baskets and plants on the floor and the chimney pots gone.

I made bases for them.  In my case...being 4' high....I cemented pre-made discs with drainage holes amd then ceme red these into place.  

With 2' high pots I would simply cement the bottoms with short bamboo sticks....3 or remove when cement had set or nearly set.  (I would not have bottomless pots)

wisehedgecrone wrote (see)

No, not married to anyone's ex as far as I know, Dovefromabove!

Your pots were on the front porch, you say... but were they inside saucers or straight on the ground?

They were direct on the ground - no saucers - with plastic pots lodged inside them.

Sometimes they'd have lots of little pots gathered around their bases with pretty little plants in - auriculas, pansies, daisies etc. 

Didn't think you were the ex's new wife - she doesn't wear blue tee shirts - but she has my chimneypots 

Dovefromabove wrote (see)
.....   Didn't think you were the ex's new wife - she doesn't wear blue tee shirts - but she has my chimneypots 

 And she also has the ex - and she's very welcome - in fact, she probably deserves the chimney pots 


Heres my collection of chimney pots and rhubarb forcers - use them for summer annuals, and plant in plastic pots slotted in the top.  They need watering every day - but so do the rest of my pots, so that's not too big a deal.


Bit difficult to see, but there are two chimney pots and two forcers in their somewhere - all picked up years ago at reclamation yards (so not Dove's !!)



that looks so pretty chicky

Orchid Lady

Just googled best plants for chimney pots and guess what came up.....this thread 

Love Dove's idea of various pots for inside , that's a great idea and love Chicky's pits.....any more ideas gratefully received (I've not even won the pot yet!!!)

Victoria Sponge

I've got 6 of the plainest type, maybe just over a foot tall which I found in the garden when I moved in.

Last year I put snap dragons in but this year went more complicated with hyacinths planted last autumn and then swapped them with argyranthemums (sp?) which are in now. I wish I'd thought of the inside pot swapping thing as the hyacinths just wouldn't die but the args were all ready and flowering. 

I decided to go crazy next year and put in perennials instead: nepeta and tequila sunrise geum, alternating but I will see if I can fit plastic pots inside and do the bulb thing too.

Ive filled mine up halfway with a carrier bag of rubble to stop the compost coming out. Skanky but it works

Orchid Lady

Ok....I just posted and it's not here????

Anyway, what I said was I hadn't thought of hyacinths and my mum bought me some so may put some of those in with alliums that came yesterday.

I also said I love Geums 

Victoria Sponge

Are they the GW alliums by any chance? I ordered some and wondered when they'd be dispatched.