Painting flowerpots

3 container garden ideas to give as gifts

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As things warm up, annuals are starting to tempt us from their colorful rows on display at the local garden center. Well, at least I’m finding them hard to resist! As I try to figure out this year’s container gardening combos, I also make note of what’s available in case I need a quick gift. While it’s fun to gather a cut flower bouquet to bring to someone as a hostess gift, I also love the idea of giving a whole pot of flowers that the recipient can enjoy all season long.

We’ve teamed up with SunPatiens® to give you some colorful inspiration for “wrapping” annuals in creative containers. They’re all pretty easy to put together and can be gifted for Mother’s Day, a teacher’s gift, your favorite summer barbecue host, etc.

Speaking of SunPatiens®, I discovered these abundant bloomers at the brand’s parent company, Sakata, during the California Spring Trials as one of the National Garden Bureau’s #ngbplantnerds. These low-maintenance plants are downy mildew resistant, and they bloom from spring through fall, thrive in the heat, and do well in both sun and shade. They come in some pretty vibrant, luscious colors, so they stand out in summer containers, too. (The new colors for this year include Compact Fire Red, Compact Orchid, Compact Tropical Rose, and Spreading Pink Kiss—look for Compact Purple in 2018.)

I love any opportunity to get crafty, so when I saw these SunPatiens® container ideas, I thought they would make great gifts. Of course I just might have to put some together for myself, too.

Idea 1: Embellish terracotta pots with paint

While this idea is super simple, you can get pretty fancy with a paintbrush, different-sized sponge shapes, and a few colors of paint. Add a layer of chalkboard paint and you can personalize the pot itself for the recipient—teacher, Mom, Dad—or detail what’s inside, like herbs, edible blooms, etc. I only just discovered chalk markers in the past few months and I’m hooked. Of course you could also just use plain old chalk.

Paint a terracotta container

Painting by yourself is fun, but having friends over to paint a container over snacks and wine? Even better!

I’ve seen so many friends share photos of art nights where all the “students” interpret and paint the same subject on a canvas. Well, SunPatiens® envisioned decorating these terracotta pots as a great idea for a pot-painting party. Invite a few friends over, serve some wine and fancy snacks, and let your creativity flow.

Have a few different plants on hand to choose from, so everyone can make their own mini arrangement to take home.

Idea 2: Use a gift bag as a container for colorful annuals

I see this idea working for centerpieces at a bridal or baby shower. Draw a name from the guest list to win at the end of the event, or use the container as one of your prizes for party games. Choose a couple of the same plant to create a lush, full monochromatic arrangement, or pair a colorful annual with a fun “spiller” that will cascade over the side. I would poke holes in the bottom of a plastic container for drainage. You could also use a smaller cloth bag that you get at clothing or grocery stores. It would likely be permeable, allowing for easy drainage.

Use a gift bag as a container for flowers

Find a gift bag that you can use as a container. Check your local dollar store, craft store, or use a cloth bag!

Idea 3: Recreate the SunPatiens® tiered bucket planter

The galvanized steel look is trendy—on a bigger scale, stock tanks are popular as raised beds. This special planter uses three galvanized steel buckets in different sizes to create one bigger container. It would fit nicely on the corner of a patio or deck. I have the perfect sunny area out in front of my house between two Adirondack chairs.

SunPatiens® tiered planter

I saw this SunPatiens® tiered planter idea on display at the California Spring Trials!

When planting, reserve at least one of the containers for a Garden BFF combo—I love pairing annuals and edibles! A PDF with how-to instructions can be found here.


If you’re looking for SunPatiens® at the store, look for this pot. They are sold at big box stores and garden centers in both the U.S. and Canada.

A BIG thank you to SunPatiens® for sponsoring this post and providing these fun, easy-to-achieve ideas. By the way, what are you making for your containers and what would be your ideal color combo for the annuals?

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Easy projects—gift bag containers, painted terracotta pots, and a tiered planter—that you can make for Mother's Day, teachers' gifts, and more. (AD)

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