Make a Floating PVC Window Planter

Make a floating PVC planter from A Beautiful MessHey, guys. It's Mandi! After living in an apartment with a tiny kitchen with no windows, I was so excited to move into a home with a roomier kitchen that included both a dishwasher and a window at the sink! I had grand plans of putting pots of herbs on the sill, envisioning my apron-clad self happily snipping away at herbs before making authentic Italian dishes from scratch. Yeah. Well, we've been here for over two years, and I'm just now getting around to getting any kind of herbs on that windowsill. What took me so long? Well, my windowsill was too narrow for pots, so I just kind of gave up … until I got the idea to make a hanging herb planter with a piece of PVC pipe. And it worked out perfectly!Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!My kitchen window doesn't get a ton of light because it opens to an area of our home that is north-facing and covered by a porch. So I keep my needy herbs, like basil and rosemary, in front of our dining room windows, which get lots of bright southern light all day long. For this window planter, I chose mint because it's pretty hearty as far as herbs go, and it also enjoys a moister soil than other herbs, so having great drainage isn't as crucial when growing an aggressive herb like mint.

Be careful about planting mint with other herbs because it tends to take over the entire pot. If you really want to make mint share the soil, then you might want to keep it contained in some kind of plastic pot to keep it from spreading and taking over neighboring plants.Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!Supplies:
-4" PVC pipe – $2 per foot*

-2 4" knock-out plugs – $2
-2 small eye hooks - $1 for a pack of two
-2 larger eye hooks – $1.20 for a pack of two
-4 small S-hooks – $1 per pack of 5
-2 12" lengths of #16 chain – about $.50 per foot

Total cost of supplies for a 2' planter: $9.70

*You typically have to buy pipe in large pieces, even if you only want a small section. So a 5' length of 4" PVC pipe will cost you about $10, even if you are only using 2'. To use up leftover pipe, you may want to make two planters or split supplies with a friend.

Tools:

-power drill
-drill bits (just a tiny bit smaller than the eye hooks)
-3" hole saw (the kind you use to cut holes for door knobsβ€”like this)Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!Step One: Drill pilot holes for your small eye-hooks 3/4" from each end of the pipe. Make sure they are placed directly across from each other. Then screw in the eye-hooks.Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!Step Two: Mark the center for each hole you will be drilling for the plants. Do this in line with the hooks you just put in. Where you want your holes to be spaced may vary from mine, but I marked my centers to be 4.75" apart from each other.

Step Three: Use a hole saw bit on a power drill to cut holes on center with the marks you just made. The image above shows me using a Forstner drill bit (because that's what I had), but it didn't end up working out on the cylindrical shape of the pipe, so I had to borrow a hole saw to finish the job. You may want to use sandpaper to smooth the holes if they look rough after cutting.Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!Step Four: Clean up the PVC "dust" from inside the pipe, and pop in the kock-out plugs on the ends of the pipe. These will fit really tightly, which is great for keeping the soil and water inside the planter.Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!Step Five: Prepare the planter for the soil by pouring small rocks into the bottom of the pipe. This will help the water drain and help prevent root rot from too much water sitting at the bottom of the plants' roots.Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!Next, add soil over the rocks, packing it into the ends and spaces between the holes. Put the plants into the holes, and add soil to the area around it, packing it in lightly.Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!Step Six: Drill pilot holes into the millwork framing your windows, then screw in the larger eye-hooks. I wanted my planter to rest just a couple of inches above my windowsill, so I measured the height of the PVC pipe, plus the length of chain and hooks, added the couple of inches of spacer room, and used that measurement for where I should drill for the eye-hooks. I measured up from my windowsill to make sure the hooks were even on each side.Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!Make this floating PVC planter for growing herbs in your window- Supplies cost less than $10!I love having cheery plants in my kitchen window nowβ€”so much that I might go take care of that sink full of dishes I keep meaning to take care of. And hey, maybe tonight I'll make mojitos? I think I'm going to love having fresh mint 'round these parts!

Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson, Photos edited with Spring and Valentine of the Signature Collection.

  • Oh my gosh, I love this! Would be perfect for herbs in my kitchen! And great for people without a lot of space.

  • This is such an awesome idea! I don’t have a window in my tiny apartment either, but I definitely plan on storing this idea away for when I can drill holes willy-nilly and have some bright sun coming through my windows!

    xoxo
    Taylor

  • So cute! I wonder if you could decoupage the pipe with a nice fabric? It would keep it from feeling starkly modern in a more traditional space. Wonderful idea!

  • I like the concept of this. But if feels like it cuts down on the natural light streaming in. I wonder if there could be a clearer solution. A container that would be see thru. I am not sure if you are familiar with aquaponics, but using water would also allow light to stream in with a clear container. I am not sure how herbs do in just water, but I learned from my local garden center that leafy veggies work well in water: spinach, etc.

    Way to create a solution for your short windowsill. πŸ™‚

  • This is such an inspired idea! I’ve often had the problem of windowsills being too narrow for herb – I definitely want to give this a try!

  • So pretty! But I’m confused how it won’t leak water out the ends when it’s time to water the plants??? Not much of a green thumb here but just curious…

  • cute idea πŸ™‚ but again i’m not sure that’s a good idea to plant eatable plant in a PVC material. PVC is not something i’d like to have near food, it’s pretty nasty plastic type (not good for environmant as well)

  • This would be a PERFECT idea for my kitchen, thank you!!! Thank you, thank you!

  • Great idea. Do you have recommendations for other herbs that like similar conditions? I’m not such a mint fan. Thanks!

  • You totally could! It would be very easy. Just hide the seam on the bottom of the pipe. That’s just anot a look I was going for in my own home. You could also use contact paper and it might wipe up better than fabric.

  • Rosemary is also pretty hardy, but it grows up more like a tree, so it might not look the prettiest in this type of planter. I’ve had some success with basil growing indoors, but only on a really bright window. I would be a little leery of trying to do basil without drainage holes, but you could always try it out! You also don’t need to use this planter for herbs. You could use it for a decorative plant, or hang it up higher on the window and plant something like devil’s ivy, which would look really pretty trailing down the window!

  • A lot of gardeners use PVC pipe in growing food type plants, such as strawberries, but I can understand your concern. You just never know. If you were able to get ahold of some recycled pipe from somewhere like the Habitat ReStore, you could make something like this but put terra cotta pots inside the holes instead of filling the pipe with the soil. That way, your food wouldn’t touch the PVC, and you could still be doing something good for the environment by reusing waste materials. πŸ™‚

  • Any alternate material suggestions? While PVC is an inert material in its post-production state, the manufacturing of the process is quite nasty to both the environment and those who work with it. It doesn’t break down very well either in it’s after life. I love the idea but would encourage a different material if possible!

  • Thank you so much for this tutorial! I’ve been looking for a solution to my kitchen window because I don’t have a window seal to put plants on. I can’t wait to make one of these!

  • Kate, in the first picture with the tools and everything, there are two round “caps”, they go on the end, and you can use PVC glue to attach them, but don’t get it on your hands.

  • The great thing about using PVC is that you can easily find scrap pieces this size that will just be discarded with larger construction project waste. If you appreciate sustainability in your projects, this would actually be a perfect one for you! Just head to the Habitat Restore and see what length of existing pipe need rescued. πŸ™‚ If you still don’t want to use PVC, you could build a hanging window box, though it would be more labor intensive.

  • A lot of people think adding small rocks to the bottom of planters helps drainage but it’s actually not true! Water doesn’t flow well from the small pores of the soil to the large pores of the rocks. This episode of Growing a Greener World does an experiment about it: http://www.growingagreenerworld.com/organic-gardening-tips/
    (at time 13:40). You actually end up raising the water level and potentially increasing the likelihood of root rot!
    Great project though, Mandi! I can’t wait till I have a kitchen window with enough room for growing herbs.

  • That would also make an interesting vase for cut flowers/plants. You would definitely need to glue the end caps for that use.

  • I have a kitchen window that faces my neighbors house- need an idea for privacy and light!

  • I love this idea, it is a clever use of materials & looks really cute in the window. However, I wonder if anyone else had any concerns about the PVC piping leaching petrochemicals into the soil & then the herbs? I know that they are taking bpa’s out of food containers, but is PVC food-safe?
    Love the concept & creativity, might use this a springboard. Thanks!

  • Sorry I didn’t see that you’d addressed this already! Good recommendations. You don’t need to post mine if you don’t want!:))

  • According to my research, the only PVC that is concerning is plasticized PVC. PVC in rigid form is considered safe for planting food.

  • Using discarded PVC is quite sustainable. Leftover pieces in small lengths would sit in landfills if they weren’t repurposed. You can easily find PVC pieces at place like the Habitat ReStore. If you are concerned about the finished product, I found in my research that it is plasticised PVC that is a concern, not rigid PVC, as long as you aren’t putting hot water in it. Here’s the forum I was reading, but then again, I’m not a scientist! http://www.tomatoville.com/showthread.php?t=7600

  • I just want to say that this ends up being a much more expensive project if you have to buy the full 10′ length of pipe, and the drill piece for the 3″ holes, and glue for the end caps. Not a huge deal but definitely not a $10 project.

    As an aside, the 4″ PVC would not fit in the Home Depot cutter so the Home Depot employee ended up using a hand saw and did a really terrible job. Spend the night re-sawing/sanding down…

  • Mandi! You are the cutest and the ideas are as well! Inspired me to grab my Mom and Grandmother herbs for their windowsills… delivery expected this weekend πŸ˜‰

    Thank you for the inspiration, albeit an alternative avenue πŸ™‚

  • I love those curtains! I’ve been looking for ones like them for my own kitchen window…where are they from?

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