Making Broken Things New Again: Create a Planter Using Broken Pots

What do you do with broken pieces of pottery? I’m sure the most common answer is to throw the pieces away. If it’s a colorful planter, you might attempt to make a mosaic, or if you’re particularly crafty you might be able to use it in a project in your yard or garden. Luckily, Tucson home and garden center Green Things occasionally offers something called a broken pot planter class – which I decided to check out for myself!

broken terra cotta planter pot pottery

The “before” of my poor broken planter, which at one point contained a cactus atop a concrete wall.

While other members of Tucson Yard & Garden Resources had been to Green Things before, I, despite driving past the entrance countless times, had never stepped foot on their multiple acres. (You can see the full writeup of all of the areas and items that Green Things offers in our directory here). So I got lost several times trying to find the class, and then later got lost trying to find the succulents and dirt, but I have to say that I was not mad about it.

flowers being grown at a nursery called Green Things in Tucson Arizona

Wandering around the Green Things lot is a beautiful experience!

It’s such a beautiful property filled with so many amazing things that I was tempted to just keep wandering! Plus, all of the employees that I asked for help/directions were friendly and helpful.

Green Things sign at their nursery in Tucson, Arizona.

Green Things is a plant nursery (and more!) in Tucson, Arizona

The class itself took place outdoors in a covered area, and Cathy, our instructor, didn’t waste any time before she took a hammer to some pottery to break it into the size and shape she was looking for.

Breaking terra cotta pottery with a hammer at Green Things nursery in Tucson Arizona

Breaking pottery with a hammer is a great way to relieve stress!

She then quickly assembled the planter as an example of what we were going to do, pointing out that making different levels with the broken pottery pieces would be helpful.

Green Things employee crafting planter of succulents in Tucson Arizona

Cathy, our instructor, quickly assembled a planter as an example.

After the demonstration, she led us through various greenhouses to the other side of the lot, where some already-broken pots were gathered. If you hadn’t brought your own broken pottery, you could choose from various sizes, shapes, and price points of broken planters. They were available for purchase at around 75% off the original price.

broken pottery planters pots at Green Things in Tucson Arizona

A section of Green Things contains broken or chipped planters, which can be purchased at significantly reduced prices

If you didn’t like any of the already-broken planters, you could buy one of the many planters for sale at Green Things and break it yourself.

teal planters available for sale at Green Things, a home and garden center in Tucson Arizona

A variety of teal-colored planters available for sale at Green Things

At the section of Green Things that contained broken planters, we were left to (carefully) sort through the broken pieces of pottery, and then we were tasked with finding plants to fill it with! I was overwhelmed with options but decided that succulents would be my best bet.  After asking directions a few times, I found a greenhouse filled with all kinds of succulents, and made my selections, trying to keep in mind the size of the container and picking out different heights, shapes, and colors of succulents.

Varieties of succulent plants available at Green Things in Tucson Arizona

Just a few of the succulent options at Green Things!

I purchased my choices from one of the cashiers and then wandered in search of cactus soil (in which to plant the succulents). Near the Zocolo store, I found a cashier with smaller bags of soil available for purchase, AND I found a type of ice plant succulent on sale that would be perfect for filling in some areas of my planter!ice plant succulents green things nursery tucson arizona

Arms full, I returned to the classroom area to assemble everything.

Planning what you’re going to do beforehand is helpful. We used part of another broken pot to provide the base for my planter, and pieces from my broken planter made up the decorative terraces or levels. Lots of soil was added, and the succulents were carefully placed.

Some of the succulent pots contained more than one plant, so I was able to separate them to fill in smaller areas.

Note that while all of the photos show that the students on that particular day chose succulents, you could also fill the planter with flowers (there were many types available), seasonal decor, smaller plants and decorations to create a fairy garden, or anything else you can think of! There were countless options and you were only limited by the size of your container, the plants available, and your imagination!

Before and after broken pot planter and cactus soil at Green Things in Tucson Arizona

The broken pieces were placed to create tiers, cactus soil was added, and finally, the succulents were planted.

Broken pot planter being assembled at a class at Green Things in Tucson Arizona

A fellow classmate assembles her broken pot planter at the class at Green Things

Meanwhile, our instructor Cathy had added some figurines, rocks, sparkly items and more to her broken pot planter, making it resemble a fairy garden (another class that Green Things teaches!)

broken pot planter completed Green Things class Tucson Arizona gardening

The completed broken pot planter that Cathy, our instructor, created

The class began at 10AM and little before noon, my planter was complete. I was able to fit all but one of the succulents I had purchased, I used a bunch of the soil, and I borrowed one of Green Things’ carts to carry the now-heavy planter to my car.

Succulents planted in a broken pottery planter at Green Things in Tucson Arizona

My completed broken pot planter, filled with succulents. You will definitely get your hands dirty during this class!

As of the day of this posting, the class was free, one just had to purchase the supplies. Prices for succulents started at $2.99, based on the size of the container they were in, and it turns out that I bought a much larger bag of soil than I needed, which cost $6.99. So, depending on if you brought your own pot and what you purchased to fill it, costs could vary widely. Overall I’d say I spent around $35, and that got me a large bag of soil (with plenty left over for other projects), several succulent plants, a fun new planter, and a brand new skill!

cactus soil, various succulents, broken pots at the broken pottery class at Green Things, a plant nursery in Tucson, Arizona

Various supplies totaled around $35

Green Things offers various classes throughout the year – check their website or their Facebook page to learn more and to R.S.V.P.

Other notes about Green Things

I noticed that Green Things had several varieties of living Christmas trees for sale, and, while I didn’t see them myself, they are known for growing over 25,000 poinsettia plants each year.

Various types of live Christmas trees for sale at Green Things plant nursery in Tucson Arizona

Various types of live Christmas trees were for sale – use it during the holidays and then plant it in your yard!

If you’re looking for some trees to plant in your Tucson yard, Green Things has a wide selection.

Varieties of trees for sale at Green Things, a plant nursery in Tucson Arizona

Various types of trees are available for sale at Green Things

Hopefully, this has inspired you to tackle a project for your yard or garden, take a class, or check out one of our local nurseries!

Sarah Bohl

Sarah loves exploring all that Tucson has to offer. She enjoys hiking on Mount Lemmon, trying out the new restaurants, meeting new friends at Tucson Meet Yourself, and finding new things to appreciate about the Old Pueblo.

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