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Bathtub garden

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Hey guys!

It is far from over but I had to post some photos of my Bathtub garden. I only bought a few succulents since I had to move to a different country in 3yrs again but for some empty spots, I already have in mind to put some Lithops(in the process of germinating from seeds)

Half of the tub is completely empty for now but I know what I'm going to do it with..It will take about a couple weeks to a month. I will post then. Enjoy!

Welcome any questions!

Hi everyone,

I just bought a used bathtub as a planter for my outdoor. But the first problem is that the condition of this tub is way too nice I don't know if I still want to put it outside careless in any weather in London(not familiar with London weather)

Second problem is that I can't decide which plants would make it good for me since I'm not familiar with plants or gardening. I have 3 ideas that I might want to do with the bathtub.

My lifestyle: Mostly at home, travel at least twice a year for about 3weeks long(so, no water for them 3weeks straight)

1) Outdoor, No roof, vegetable/fruit garden
2) Outdoor, No roof, Flowers/hanging green vines
3) Indoor, succulent/large cactus

Please give me any advices or suggestions.
Thank you for your time!


Picsart_03_28_04.33.30 Picsart_03_28_04.46.45 20170328_153040



The first problem you will need t consider prior to doing anything is drainage. Just the plug hole is not going to be enough and you will need to drill, have drilled, several holes in the bottom of the tub to allow water to drain out. Personally I'd say that tub was far to attractive to stick out in your garden with a load of plants in, but each to their own. As to the plant you put in if they are going to have to survive for several weeks without water that is going to be another challenge. Bamboo is based in, or near, London and I'm sure will have other comments to make.

26 Dec, 2016


I agree its far too attractive for an outdoor planter and drilling the necessary drainage holes in the bottom would be an awful shame..
For indoors one large cactus or succulent might look good (although the combination of a bathtub and a drought-adapted cactus is a bit odd) but you would be totally astonished at how much a large cactus would cost you and if you are unused to gardening of any kind it could be a very expensive mistake!
Also you would need the specialise compost for cacti and succulents and you'd need an awful lot!

One outdoor solution might be to put in a sort of false floor to support shallower compost containers (with drainage holes)where you could plant hardy succulents. Surplus water would then drain into the bottom of the tub and escape through the plughole. The same idea would probably work for tender succulents indoors.

For a summer only display outdoors Pelargoniums would probably last over your holidays as long as they were well watered before you set off and you could have spring bulbs for earlier in the year but both these suggestions involve regular care, potting up etc. For a shady spot outdoors there are a few hardy ferns that will withstand being dry for a while but take advice on varieties!

But quite honestly although its a beautiful bathtub, for me the planter idea is a non starter.

26 Dec, 2016


That's what it is, a beautiful bathtub which would look quite a home in my Victorian. Since you were considering using it and ruining it as a planter I think I have a better suggestion for you. This tub appears to be made out of modern materials such as hard acrylic and fiberglass and not enameled cast iron. My recommendation would be to cut out the front section lengthwise and just above the four tub feet. Doing this would open it up and make the remaining back section a sitting area upon which you could place a nice colorful cushion or pillows and turn it into a sofa or chair for your dog or human guests to sit on. It would be quite a novelty piece. Any of the larger hardware stores could give you the name of someone who is skilled at safely and successfully cutting an item such as this.

26 Dec, 2016


Personally I think that bath tub needs to continue to be used as such... not as a planter or an armchair :) Vix what exactly is it made of?

26 Dec, 2016


Moon growe and Steragram,

Thank you very much for your honest answers! I think I will go indoor with 1Large cactus and some different type of succulents to fill in. I understand that those large cactus are very expensive and I'm definitely not ready for many of them.

In order to do that, do you guys still think I need to make more holes on the bottom? I have one hole right now and I really don't want to make another ones because I feel like I will break or ruin the tub. Please see the photo and let me know if this one hole is enough for that. (I can't attach a photo in comment..I will attach at the next post)

Since they are cactus and succulents that will mostly live in dry condition with small amount of water, can I just give them less water every time to maintain without roots getting rot with this one hole that I have now?

Or when I raise the tub, is there any objects that I can fill- in to absorb water in the bottom? Would they help with just one hole?


26 Dec, 2016


Oh, I just saw your posts! It is made out of Acrylic! Haha the chair sounds good but I bought this bathtub just for planter. This was my dream for years to have a Bathtub garden. So I wouldn't use it for anything else.

Thank you for reply!

26 Dec, 2016


It does look in very good condition, if it was mine and I didn't have a use for it indoors, I 'd place it outside, fill the hole in and waterproof sealant it, wait until it had settled then fill with water, leave for a while to check it was not leaking, then I'd have great delight choosing water plants, even buy myself a little pump, solar or electric and either buy or make a feature of some sort, surround it with plants in huge pots, hey presto my own little oasis to enjoy when at home .....

26 Dec, 2016



That sounds very cool! However it is not for my house at the moment. I have a little girl that tires to climb to anything hahaha :) Thank you for your comment!

26 Dec, 2016


In that case cacti may be a mistake for yet another reason. The spines are strong and painful, and some cacti (the opuntias) have many little barbed hairs at the base of the spines which have barbed mini spines on them called glochids, and if you touch them they embed themselves in your skin. They are easy to remove with sticking plaster or sellotape but shouldn't be within reach of a child too small to understand that don't touch means just that.

If you are dead set on cacti yes you will need more drainage holes and you will need a thick layer of coarse grit several inches deep in the bottom. Remove the plug from the plughole or the weight of compost will close it.
Measure the capacity of the bath so you know how much cactus compost you will need. It is sold in litres and you may need to find a bulk supplier as garden centres normally don't go above 8litre bags.

You will also need to position the bath in full sun and if the light is always from one side the container will need to be turned regularly or the cacti will soon being to lean towards the light. Not sure how you would do that...

Honestly if you have no experience of growing things this is not a good way to begin.Far better to put some kind of bench in the tub and begin with the plants in pots. You could still have your cacti and they could be treated individually while you learn about them, and also without the large initial outlay. If this is a long standing dream it is worth waiting for.

Otherwise go for house plants.

26 Dec, 2016


Totally agree with Stera. if you have no gardening experience then this is likely to be a costly mistake. If you are dead set on turning the tub into some sort of garden put a bench in and stand pots of succulents or similar on... see how you get on with that for a year or so and then if you still want to fill the whole bath tub you are going to have to have more drainage holes drilled - which could well shatter the bath. Not sure an acrylic bath will even survive sitting out all year round, it will certainly start to look tatty after a while as it is likely to discolour. Sorry I'm not being negative, simply realistic... a bath is an item of indoor furniture. I've done any number of Google searches and can find nothing on using one outdoors as a planter, water garden - yes.

26 Dec, 2016



Thank you for another comment! I meant my baby would go climb up if there is a water in the tub but she won't touch that spiky cactus.

I actually had one spiky&hairy cacti(finger size) and about 7 different type of succulents at home for 2years before I moved to London. That was my very first time having any plants around. At first, I killed 2 succulents without knowing why but then after I was more careful(using cactus soil, more sun, less water) the rest of them survived and very well at mom's house now. From that experience, I guess I wanted to challenge and go bigger. Even though I'm not ready for that yet, I just want to give a try.

For positioning cacti, I have 3 big sunroof on the ceiling also a big window on the side. I'm thinking to put the tub right below one of this sunroof. The sunroof is pretty big to cover this tub. And if anything I can always turn this tub around time to time(not too heavy)

Do you know how I can make more holes for this Acrylic bathtub? Drill? or something else??


26 Dec, 2016


You will need to drill holes and it is anyones guess as to whether the bath tub will survive this. I'm not sure what you mean by 'sunroof' is this indoors or out?

26 Dec, 2016


Moon growe,

Oh, they are sunroof (just like the one in the car) that you can open and close on the ceiling with the remote in my living room. It has 3 thick layers- first(completely block everything), second(just sun with the glass), and third(completely open like outdoor)

I guess I should watch Youtube and learn how to drill the holes. hahaha

26 Dec, 2016


Some call a "sunroof" for a house a "skylight". Just thought I would mention an outdoor use that I have seen and that is those which were upended and used as a shrine for various statues ranging from Madonnas to Buddhas, some with plantings in and around them. This question has been great fun and I wish you the best in finding your tub's newly intended purpose.

26 Dec, 2016


Okay, I'm stepping away from this question... no matter what advice we give you seem hell bent on sticking an acrylic bath tub outside and filling it with cacti. That is your choice, I've given you my advice - good luck!
Oh and I won't se any reply you make...

26 Dec, 2016


There's no way you'll be able to move it an inch once its full of compost. Anyway we have given you our best advice and suggestions - whether you take any notice is up to you..

Have you thought what you'll do if and when the compost needs changing?

26 Dec, 2016


Ah I see, yes children and water can be dangerous, although I do have two ponds here and never had a nasty experience, one just has to be prepared to cover them for years with very strong netting that if neccessary can be walked on without giving way, lol.
I would not even try drilling any holes for a while until you are sure what you want to do with it, have a look and choose some nice plants but keep them in their own pots for a while, a child learns by touching and its so unfair to have cacti within their reach, you can get some fabulous succulents and could have a wonderful indoor garden, check out the blogs written by different members, we have a lady who runs a nursery in Pembrokeshire, name of Sandra some of hers are marvellous, put succulents in the searchbar and you'll get lots of ideas and pics to browse through from many members.

27 Dec, 2016


Viv I forgot to say, at the bottom of the page you'll find an A-Z, instance, click on the C and it will take to a page that amongst the list is Container Gardening, might be of interest to you, anyway you'll soon get the idea and good luck, I will be interested to see how you get on..

27 Dec, 2016


Wow! Thank all of you for the great comments and advices! All the comments made me rethink about this project and I realized this is not that simple to do it without any knowledges.

I've got a lot of homework now based on all the advices and research for my bathtub plan. This is not in a rush and I will definitely take time to start for minimizing any mistakes. Meanwhile I will probably post more questions for you guys.

Thank you again and hope you guys can help me next time too!


27 Dec, 2016


Viv you are very welcome.
Happy New year to you and Best wishes for 2017..

27 Dec, 2016


Do let us know how it turns out. Good luck with it all.

27 Dec, 2016


Of course I will let you guys know! I will post a photo once I have my dream bathtub garden :) Happy New year!!

27 Dec, 2016


Hello everyone,

So, I came up with one idea and I would like to hear any advices or suggestions.

***Here's my goal: With one drainage hole, create a successful succulent and cacti indoor bathtub garden without having bad odor.

My idea is..I would fill up the tub with drainage rocks to be raised. Then, place individual planted pots(that has any holes on the bottom) between rocks and make sure they stay stable. Lastly, I put more decorative rocks to cover/hide pots and it eventually shows only plants between rocks in a big tub. Do you think this plan will work?

One concern is..when I water the plants, will the remaining water eventually go down to a hole or will it stay between rocks or the bottom of tub and smell bad as time goes?

What do y'all think about this idea? Do you guys find any other problems??


28 Dec, 2016


I love the bath!! You could place pots with saucers in the bath. Make a moveable arrangement till you get the look you want and be able to turn the plants so they don't become all one sided. each plant needs different amounts of water so keeping them in their pots as you said will help to give them individual treatment. I use a cheap water meter to monitor my plants, if you used one you wouldn't need great reseviours of stagnant water hanging around smelling.cant wait to see what you do with it.

28 Dec, 2016


That is a good idea Sandra! I will look into that so I don't have to move the whole bathtub every time. ^-^

28 Dec, 2016


I've got full sized bath tubs in the garden and they are impossible to move without emptying first..enjoy experimenting..?

28 Dec, 2016


That sounds like a better idea. Succulents in general don't need nearly as much watering as other plants but if you want to give them a soaking, eg after they've been kept fairly dry all winter, you can remove the individual pots and let them drain before you put them back.It means rearranging the rock etc on the surface but there will be no danger of any water draining through the bottom of the bath. When you have grown to be more familiar with their needs and habits you'll be able to judge it without taking the pots out. You can often tell just by the look of the plant if it needs more water.Keeping them dry over winter and then giving a good soak in spring will often induce flowering.

Had you thought of using used polystyrene packaging in the bottom rather than rocks? Much lighter and won't scratch the bath.

28 Dec, 2016



Finally my husband suggested one idea to this. He knows that I prefer not having any water going down in the bathtub and to avoid extra work of removing water out from the tray(because I might have to move rocks and decorate again in order to do it this job)

Just like Steragram mentioned, fill the tub with any light objects like styrofoam, peanut packing or empty water bottles(anything) and then place a big tray in slightly diagonal position(meaning not flat, so all the water goes to one side of the tray). He would make a hole there and connect a hose(sealed completely) as a water path all the way down to the bathtub hole and leave it that way. All I need to do is place a bowl right below the hole every time I water plants.

What do you guys think about this? I like the idea of that I don't make my whole tub wet from watering, also I don't have to do any extra work to remove leftover water from the tray. Will this hose make any bad odor? Succulents don't require lots of water so hopefully it isn't wet all the time....

Let me know your opinion! :)

29 Dec, 2016


Sounds a good plan to me, you'd only know by trying, I'd see if someone can cut a platform that fits in the bath, sort of false bottom, that way you won't need loads of packaging, is there already an overflow hole in the bath that he could use, cannot tell by the pic....

29 Dec, 2016


If you acquire some gravel trays to position over your big tray you could stand the pots on a layer of gravel in them and they would catch any run off from the pots and save you having to worry about drainage from the bottom of the bath.
Succulents are designed to manage with a small amount of water - once a month will be enough in winter and perhaps once a week in summer.

29 Dec, 2016


I've thought about all the ideas you guys mentioned. But I have a problems getting the perfect size/shape of tray, shelf, or pots just for this tub. Also creating something perfect for this tub is not easy at all.

Having a shelf inside of tub is not a good idea since I will place rocks to cover all the pots on top. It can be very heavy with wet soil too.

Having many individual pots also become another problem when it comes to layout plants all together. There will be gaps between pots and I was going to cover pots by putting rocks but I realized that will never work out with small rocks(I can't put big rocks because the plants need space to grow out)

So, here's another idea that I can avoid all the problems getting or creating materials. Please hear me and throw any comments if this sounds good enough.

As usual start with the fill-in with styrofoam but the top surface should be a little tilt to one side. Next, place a pond foil(PVC pond liner) on top and fill in with soil/earth and this becomes a big garden (still not wetting my tub at the same time). For the water path, connect the hose to that pond foil all the way down to the tub drain. That way I don't have to create anything too crazy but still not wetting my tub and I can lay out plants without any restriction.

Anyone sees any other problem here? Is one hole with a hose enough for cacti&succulents being dry and safe?

Thank you for your time,


31 Dec, 2016


I think you are going to have to try it and see. I notice you said fill with soil or earth. Don't. You need proper cactus compost as I said before. This is an open gritty free draining compost not like normal potting compost which holds moisture for longer.
And remember the plants will lean towards the sun even with a toplight and you will not be able to move the bath once its filled. Also remember that occasionally you may need to dig up one of the plants for various reasons.

Trying to reproduce the kind of effect you get in a cactus greenhouse is bound to have problems in a house. Let us know how you go on.

31 Dec, 2016


I will let you all know about how it goes. Thanks for the support and Happy New Year!


2 Jan, 2017


Love the pond liner idea....just make sure u get a water meter to help u get to know their needs....good luck hope u post lots of pics....

4 Jan, 2017

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