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Elevate Your Outdoor Space With These Planter-Tree Combos

For all that your houseplants do for you—like cleaning the very air you breathe—the least you can do is give them a beautiful home. For showstopping indoor planters that won’t break the bank, we turned to some of our most loved ceramists and home decor brands for inspiration. These innovators have been cooking up some truly original house planter designs for succulents, small plants, and leafy greenery that’ll match any decor. Prefer a classic look? O.G. terra-cotta planters now come in sleek modern shapes. Looking for something flashy and modern? Shiny metal planters will add a glow. Just need a pop of color on the windowsill? There’s a hyper blue ceramic planter for that. And may we suggest that, if you do have that itch for a decor update, new plants (and, obviously, plant pots!) are really the best place to start.

Now that we’re all spending more time indoors, the jolt of green will add some much-needed energy to your space and the lush accents will liven up any living room, tabletop, or DIY office. Even better, our favorite planters of the season range from the cost of a takeout dinner (sans glass of wine!) to a new pair of Vans, so you don’t have to feel so guilty if your green thumb fails and your plant baby doesn’t survive the season. It happens. (But it doesn’t have to!) Ready for the easiest home upgrade of your life? Shop our selection of affordable indoor planters.

THINK BIGGER THAN a crock of nasturtiums this year. “Potted trees can be magical,” said Andrew Pascoe, a floral designer in Oyster Bay, N.Y. “You can create privacy on a roof terrace. You can use two to flank a front door. A row of them is an instant hedge.”

Choose a tree that typically attains a height of no more than 10 feet, and pamper it in every season, said Mr. Pascoe, who grew up in England’s mild climate, where potted plants commonly become permanent landscape features. “In spring and summer, trees will exhaust the food supply in the soil of a pot quite quickly, so feed them well with fertilizer, and water them daily,” he said. In winter, move pots out of danger of harsh winds and wrap them in burlap to protect roots from freeze-thaw fluctuations. Paired with the proper planter, a tree can become a living sculpture to artfully transform your garden year-round. Mr. Pascoe matches petite trees with new-to-market planters to make the most of both.

“There’s something very Gothic about the design of this light planter” with its repeating pattern of pointed arches, said Mr. Pascoe. Pairing it with the frothy, very pale flowers of a miniature Cinderella crabapple tree would create “a classic blue-and-white palette—my favorite,” he said, adding that the planter’s sleek, aluminum surface updates the look. With long, slender branches that reach up and out like thin, curving fingers, Malus x ‘Cinzam’ “still looks enchanting in the winter when it has no foliage,” he said. Oomph Ocean Drive Outdoor Planter in blue, from $1,575, chairish.com

“This is a very traditional metal planter, with its little feet and the rings on its sides, and would look lovely if you paired it with the formal shape of a holly trained as a topiary,” Mr. Pascoe said. Ilex ‘Castle Spire’ can be clipped to encourage it to spiral upward as it grows, like an evergreen church steeple. “For symmetry, I’d like to see two flanking an entryway.” In summer, its glossy leaves provide a deep green, and in winter, brilliant red berries. Aged Grey Square Planter by the Vintage Gardener, from about $190, societyhouse.co.uk

For this plump, fluted container cast from a mix of crushed marble, rock and resin, Mr. Pascoe chose Prunus ‘The Bride,’ a flowering cherry tree with bouquet-worthy blossoms. “The shape of the pot reminds me of the shape of its delicate petals. Plus, the rough texture will play nicely against the pretty flowers when [the tree] blooms in spring.” He recommends fertilizing the tiny tree in spring and judiciously pruning its crown to maintain a rounded, nosegay silhouette even when branches are bare in winter. Petal Garden Planter, from $650, pennoyernewman.com

Third world maize (Zea mays L.) production is characterized by having extremely low yields, attributed in part to the poor planting methods employed. Maize planting in most third world countries involves placing 2–3 seeds per hill, with hills being roughly 30 cm apart. The variability in seeds per hill and distance between hills result in heterogeneous plant stands that are directly responsible for lower yields. Oklahoma State University (OSU) has developed a durable hand planter with a reciprocating internal drum that delivers single maize seeds per strike and that can also be used for mid-season application of urea fertilizer. The hand mountain planter is 1.4 m in length, 5.8 cm in diameter, and weighs 1.9 kg when empty. The seed hopper has the capacity to hold 1 kg of seed and the tip has a sharp pointed shovel which can deliver seed to a planting depth of 5 cm in no-till and tilled soils. The current prototype has been comprehensively tested and evaluated to deliver at least 80% single seeds (singulation), with 0% misses and work well across varying seed sizes (2652–4344 seeds/kg) and different operators. Using the OSU hand planter, third world maize producers with average yields of 2.0 Mg ha−1 could increase yields by 20%.

Who doesn’t love to grow fresh salad greens, tomatoes and herbs? Unfortunately, growing veggies during the height of summer requires daily watering, which can quickly become a problem when you go away for vacation. In the past, we’ve hired the neighbor kid—sometimes he remembered, and sometimes we came home to withered veggies.

But it turns out there’s a better way to beat the heat and keep your plants routinely watered- self-watering planters that you can leave for a week without watering. When we tasked our editors with designing some DIY self-watering planters, the results were incredible. The self-watering planter boxes themselves were gorgeous, they kept rabbits and other critters from munching on the greens, and we went for weeks on end without having to water. We watered three times all summer long (no kidding), and we had garden-fresh salads until frost. In this article, we’ll show you how to build self-watering planters for yourself. The secret of self-watering planters is in the perforated drain pipe.

The total cost of this 3 x 6-ft. cedar planter was $330. If you use treated wood, the price would drop to about $250. And we used a thick EPDM pond liner, which cost $120. (You can buy thinner versions at home centers for about $35. All the other materials are available at home centers or garden/landscape centers.) To give the box a nice finished look, we routed the boards and sanded the faces and cap. We left the cedar unfinished, but you could seal yours. After we built the basic box, we moved the planter to its final position and then added the self-watering system, soil and plants. Even without the soil and plants, this DIY planter box is heavy!

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