Thursday, June 7, 2018

How to Plant Succulents in a Vintage Chicken Feeder

It's summer in East Texas and that means three things: it's hot, it is dry, and some of my spring plants were looking sad. When I saw a nice mixture of succulents and mini cactus at the store last week, I had to grab up a few! They thrive in the hot and dry conditions and forgive me if I get busy and forget to water a day or two. 

I knew I wanted to plant some of the cactus in a vintage chicken feeder, like I've done in the past. It has been a couple years since I had a chicken feeder with succulents, so it was time to plant one again and I thought I would share a few tips on how I plant in them. 

 I gathered my plants and started to do a video, but I was a hot, stinky mess and decided nobody wanted to see a video of that, so I hope you can follow along here. The chicken feeders are a shallow container, which means it will not hold a lot of moisture or be able to accommodate plants with deep roots. That's why the small cactus plants are perfect for this!
 The chicken feeder on the left is planted with Hens and Chicks, creeping Jenny, and some volunteer phlox.
 Now here's the trick that most will miss, if they don't know how the feeders work. Take notice to the gap in the wire frame. You can grab a hold of the bars on each side of the gap and squeeze them in and lift out the top frame from the bottom piece!
 Now you can start planting in the bottom tray, without having to work them between the bars!
 I purchased 6 small plants - I think they were considered 3 inch plants. I also used one small succulent I had in a planter from last year. Sometimes they will survive over winter here in Texas, some times they don't.

I don't have the names of each variety handy - although I want you to take notice of the barrel shaped cactus that looks like it has two arms reaching out. I had a similar shaped cactus a few years ago and one morning I walked out to the prettiest pink bloom ever. This cactus will have white blooms and I can't wait to walk out  one morning and find them!
 Now, slip the cage piece over the plants and be careful to work the plants between the rails.
 Now, you can either display the planter on a flat surface or you can add a hanger.

I save all the hangers from hanging baskets. It's seldom now, but occasionally you find a wire hanger. I simply wired the hanger to the feeder and made a quick hanging basket. Easy peasy!

Then I was able to hang it under the arbor, as the set was setting through the trees. I watered the plants this evening and they will forgive me for not watering for a few days.

I'll have a few of the rusty chicken feeders with me at the Mineola Antique Fair, so you can plant your own or repurpose them anyway your heart desires. 

I'll also have the two tall galvanized chicken waterers  that can be used as plant stands, hanging baskets, etc. We've even created a flock of tin birds that will be at the fair this week! (For the time being, I'm keeping my pig feeder / flower container / pedestal.) 

A tip if you want to use the tall watering can as a planter - I turned a few clay pots upside down in the tower and set the basket of springeri (asparagus) fern in the top opening.The pots keep the plant from sinking to the bottom of the container. You can even put a saucer in there to hold water Also, the lip of the hanging basket didn't want to fit in the galvanized container, so I simply took my scissors and cut it off!  

So there you have it - a few tips for flea market style gardening, using vintage farm related containers! 


  1. I love this, thank you for posting it. I have moved to using mostly Sedum in my plantings. Annual flowering plants just don't like me. :-) God bless you!

  2. Thanks for this! I planted hens and chicks in my chicken feeder a while back and they're doing good except it's so hot and dry here I have to keep a close watch on them to keep them watered. I also have red petunias in an old wash tub.


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