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Creating a Vertical Clay Pot Garden


If you are a gardener then you understand this dilemma.  You want more plants but you have run out of room.  You have pots on tables, on the porch, and hanging from the house.  You may even have containers mounted on your privacy fence or garden wall.  Where else can you put a plant?  Well, the answer is easy.  You can create a vertical clay pot garden.

This type of garden has a couple of advantages that other vertical growing systems do not.  First, it can easily be used to create a living wall that is easy to set up and tear down.  Second, it can really be set up anywhere and third, it puts the plants more at eye level, compared to pots on tables or on the ground.  Finally, the vertical space can easily be organized to meet any need you may have.

On the other hand, this type of design can be heavy.  As a matter of fact, depending on the number of pots and what is planted inside them, you could be looking at around 30 pounds.

Once you decide that you want to try your hand at a vertical clay pot garden, the next step is to sketch out the design.  The basic principle behind this type of garden is threaded rods with 2 to 3 terra cotta pots strung on them.  In your design, you also want to plan for enough space between the threaded rods, which will be dependent on the type of plants you use and the pots’ sizes. 

Steps to Creating a Vertical Clay Pot Garden

The first step of this process is to gather your tools and supplies, which are listed below.


Drill with a ½ and ¼ inch drill bits





Cross-headed screwdriver

Tape measure

1 inch decking screw with a pair of ¼ inch and 3/8 inch washers

Scrap wood

Adjustable wrench (optional)




1 concrete anchor if going through concrete or treaded eye bolt if going through wood

1 S hook

1 threaded eye bolt

Coupling nut

1 3 or 6 foot threaded rod


*Make sure the holes in the terra cotta pots are ½ in diameter.

1 test plug for each pot, please note the following sizes.  8 inch pot-3 inch test plug, larger pots require a 4 inch test plug

2 stainless steel washers and nuts matching the diameter of the threaded rod


  1. Measure the threaded rod and cut with a hacksaw to the desired length.
  2. Using your drill with a ½ inch drill bit, open up the center hole of each test plug.
  3. Using your drill with a ¼ inch drill bit, drill 6 holes in the test plugs.  To aid in this process, run a screw through the center of the test plug it the scrap piece of wood.  Once that is done, you can drill the six ¼ inch holes safely.
  4. Wipe off the test plugs.
  5. If you want to conceal the color of the test plugs, sand them off with medium grit sandpaper.  Next, spray with a gray primer.  Once dried, paint the color you choose.
  6. Now you are ready to assemble the vertical clay pot garden but before you do that you will need to prepare the pot for planting.  To do this, each clay pot will need to be cleaned and sterilized.  This is easily done by filling a sink with water and adding a capful of bleach.  Put each pot in the water and allow to soak for a few minutes.  Next, scrub the clay pot and rinse in clear water.  Repeat with remaining pots.  Once the pots are cleaned, sit out to dry.
  7. The assembly of your vertical clay pot garden starts off with placing a nut on the threaded rod and moving it down to the level by which you want your second pot.  Next, place a test plug on the rod and move it down to the nut.  Once that is done, add the pot.  Place another test plug upside down inside the clay pot and top with another nut. 
  8. Repeat this process with the top terra cotta pot.
  9. Repeat this process with the bottom clay pot.  Adjust the pots as needed for planned plant height.  Tighten down the nuts once the position is finalized. 
  10. Fasten an eyebolt to the threaded rod with a coupling nut.
  11. To hang your vertical clay pot garden, simply screw into the support system with the appropriate system for the material.
  12. Add the “S” hook and hang prepared threaded rod.

Planting Clay Pots

This process is easy and starts off with placing some drainage material in the bottom of each pot.

The goal is to cover up the holes in the test plugs with broken pots or stones.  Once that is done, you are ready to plant but……….you will have to make a decision.  Do you want to use mature plants or smaller ones, such as a six pack?  If you use mature plants, do not add soil to the clay pot.  Instead, what you are going to do is to split the mature plant in half and work it around the threaded pole.

On the other hand, if you want to use smaller plants you will want to fill the clay pot with a good all purpose potting soil.  Once that is done, plant your smaller plants around the threaded pole. 

To aid in your success when it comes to this type of garden, make sure to group plants together that have the same growing requirements. 

As far as care goes, you will need to have a process by which you water.  Yes, you can sit up an irrigation system or water by hand.  To water by hand, starts off with watering the top pot first.  Make sure that the pot drains from the bottom into the next pot and so on.  To protect the understory of your home, make sure to place a bucket under each planted rod to catch the excess water. 


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