If you are into gardening, you've probably already seen a number of plant towers overflowing with bright flowers. While you can typically buy the entire tower filled with flowers are home improvement centers or nurseries, these can be pricey. There is a less expensive alternative that you can make on your own for a fraction of the cost. This DIY garden project is relatively simple and can be accomplished in an hour or two.
- Wire Mesh
- Wire Cutters
- Zip Ties
- Landscape Fabric
- Large Plant Pot (12 inches or more)
- Potting Mix
Making the Frame
The first step to creating your plant tower is to make the frame from mesh wire. Here's how you do it.
- Wrap the wire mesh fencing around the outside of your plant pot, overlapping the edges by several inches to estimate the amount of mesh you will need.
- Cut the wire mesh to these dimensions.
- Form the mesh into a cylinder that fits snugly inside your plant pot. The edges should overlap by one square of the wire mesh.
- Secure the cylinder with zip ties placed through the openings in the mesh. Repeat along the seam to secure the cylinder. Trim the ends of the zip ties.
Lining the Frame
Now that you have completed the frame of your flower tower, it is time to prepare it for holding your plants. That's where the landscape fabric comes in.
- Wrap the landscape fabric around the outside of your tower so that it overlaps by 2 to 4 inches.
- Cut the landscape fabric to size with a pair of scissors.
- Insert the landscape fabric inside the wire frame and push it snugly against the sides, using care to overlap the edges of the seam to prevent holes where soil can escape.
- Cut holes in the landscape fabric, aligning them with the wires on the mesh, and use zip ties to secure the fabric to the frame.
The type of soil you use in your flower tower is important. Although it may be tempting to fill it with potting soil or garden loam, this really isn't a good idea. Both potting soil and garden loam are too dense and heavy for containers. The soil compacts easily with repeated watering, making it difficult for your plants to get the oxygen and nutrition they need. Take the time to make your own potting mixture instead. This basic soil mix works well for containers.
- Mix one bushel each of loam or potting soil, peat moss, and perlite or vermiculite in a wheelbarrow.
- Add 1 cup slow-release balanced fertilizer per 3 bushels of soil and mix it in.
- Moisten the soil mix with the spray attachment to your hose until it is moist, but not soggy.
- Fill the tower to within 3 to 4 inches of the rim with the soil mixture.
Preparing for Planting
You will need to make holes in the landscape fabric for inserting your plants.
- Cut an X in every other square of the wire mesh, beginning at the top row.
- Repeat the process for the second row, staggering the X's so that those on the second row fall under the uncut squares from the previous row.
- Continue the cutting X's in alternating squares until you are one row from the bottom.
- Leave the bottom row uncut, as flowers from the previous row will hang down over the edge of the pot, concealing this row.
Planting Your Seedlings
Gather your flats of seedlings and decide on whether you will create a pattern of colors. While some prefer to fill these towers with a mass of one flower, such as petunias, other prefer to mix them up a bit. Consider combining white sweet alyssum, blue lobelia, and red petunias for a patriotic display.
- Remove the seedlings from the flat, using care not to damage the tender roots.
- Insert the root ball into the X's you made on your flower tower.
- Firm the soil around the roots with your fingers to secure the seedlings.
- Repeat until all the seedlings have been planted and the tower is filled.
Caring for Your Flower Tower
Flower towers require the same basic care as other container gardens. Water it thoroughly until water runs freely through the bottom whenever the soil feels dry or you plants show signs of wilting. During the hot summer months, your flower tower may require daily watering. Apply water-soluble fertilizer designed for flowering plants, mixed to the manufacturer's directions, every 10 to 14 days. Plants in containers require more frequent fertilizing, as the nutrients leach through the bottom of the container during watering.