Styrofoam Planter - Looks like Hypertufa

Don’t Throw Away That Old Styrofoam Box!

Yes, there is another alternative for new garden planters.

The next time you see a Styrofoam box being discarded, don’t let it go to the local landfill. Rescue it! Make a new and different garden planter!  And you can make it look like a cement planter or hypertufa planter. And it can be any color you imagine!

Match it to a holiday theme, or to accent the color of your favorite plant’s blossoms.

almost hypertufa sitting on deck steps

I have written about my “homemade” garden planters made from the discarded Styrofoam boxes that we all see here and there. I see them mostly from where steak or fish is packed in them for shipping purposes. Those boxes are usually the larger ones seen.

If you would like to watch the video on how they are made?

Making A Styrofoam Planter - It's Almost Like Hypertufa

But there are also those that are used to ship pharmaceuticals . These are usually the ones with the stronger thick sides that I favor. You may be able to get some from the local hospital or drug store. They are typically discarded via recycle bins, so ask for them and you may score big!

How do you make a garden planter from these, you say?

Well, let me just show you a few that I have made. And you will find all the directions on this page.

I have called these “Almost” Hypertufa and Faux Hypertufa. They are really nice planters.  This page explains the step-by-step method for making them. So easy!

styrofoam planter in blue with balloon flower plant

The Styrofoam planter above is planted with Platycodon “Sentimental Blue” which is a tiny Balloon Flower. Well, the plant is small but the blossoms are just as big as on the regular sized plant.

And the best part is you can plant these Styrofoam planters up in just a day or two. Those who are in a hurry all the time like me ( I like instant gratification) will be able to plant them up in no time.

Check out how these are looking. No worries in winter because they survive well. The insulation provided by the Styrofoam benefits your plant anyway.

some styrofoam planters in snow

Winter is no problem. ( Ignore those other containers in the snowy photo since those are pop bottles, ice cream…those are my winter sow containers.)

If the planters do get nicked or bumped, they can be touched up with paint. I have even coated them with a Hypertufa Slurry to make them look like hypertufa. These planters can last for several years.

styrofoam planters

I encourage you to try this. Those large garden planters and pots are so expensive any more. Especially cement pots which are so heavy. And you need someone to just get them home for you. There are the resin garden planters, but those are really expensive when you want a pair or more.

And these garden planters will look great and can be tailored to suit any color scheme or bloom color you want. The sky is the limit. So try them.  Note: Not for food crops, please.

And let me hear about or see them on my Facebook page.   I would love to see them and I am sure everyone would be inspired.





  1. So, did you use exterior paint? And, did you seal it with anything after painting?

    1. I used an exterior paint and didn’t seal it with anything.

  2. We have small go-kart tires that I tried to use for planting, but every one of them made a nice ant home. 🙁

    1. I have had ants building homes in my pots too and I just figured it is inevitable. Each time they just are gone one day. I have sprinkled cinnamon and maybe that helps.

  3. I don’t like the look of tires but I see along the highways where the big trucks throw the ring of tread from their re-tread tires. No sidewalls, just a ring. That would make a nice hypertufa planter.

  4. This is a great idea. We get shipments of insulin in small styrofoam containers every month. I hate to throw them into the landfill. I’ll,give them a try

    1. Great way to get boxes. Give it a try. I am sure you will like the planters created.

  5. This is a stupid question, but can you use a hairdryer instead of hot

    1. Great question. It may work if your hair dryer gets very hot. Maybe on a high heat setting. Try it against some scrap Styrofoam and see if it slightly changes the surface. That is all you really need…just a slight melting of the outer surface so that it almost “seals” the Styrofoam.

  6. Sure hope you were wearing a mask when you were wire brushing the styrofoam. Looks great

  7. Dreemer62 says:

    I actually spray painted one of the styrofoam boxes I have and turned it into a small plant stand. I took another one and covered it with self adhesive tiles and it is a plant stand. I need to add some cement glue to the tiles because the tiles are too heavy for the styrofoam. I will add the styrofoam containers as an alternative “pot” in my garden. I love the idea.

  8. Yes, it is better to try this instead of purchasing those expensive large garden planters. Superb information–worth giving a try!

  9. john johnnyson says:

    Never use tires, they have toxic chemicals that will leach.

  10. Natasha Botkin says:

    Great idea!! I’ve used old tires before. Xoxo

    1. I haven’t used tires yet. They just haven’t appealed to me. Maybe if I slap some tufa on them! LOL

      1. Barb Early says:

        Tuffa on tires,what a great idea!
        So many great ideas here

        1. Oh, I think on tires would work. Might need to rough them up a bit with sandpaper or a grinder or something.

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