How to Make a Three-Tiered Terra-Cotta Planter

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Things You'll Need

  • 3 terra-cotta pots in various sizes

  • Drainage saucer

  • Large bucket

  • Gravel

  • Potting soil

  • Garden spade

Arranging your plants in stacked pots creates an interesting vertical garden.

Growing houseplants in a multi-tiered planter adds height and visual interest to your display. The arrangement creates a miniature garden where you can plant a variety of plants in a small area. That way you can appreciate the beauty of individual plants as well as the way they contribute to the overall design of your garden. You can make a simple three-tiered terra-cotta planter by using separate pots nested inside each other and held in place by the weight of the pot, the soil and plants in the pots stacked on top.


Step 1

Select a spot for displaying your tiered plants. If you decide to display the plants on a table or plant stand, the table or stand must be sturdy enough to support the potted plants. Construct your planter on or near the place where you will display it, because it will be heavy and difficult to move once it is complete.


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Step 2

Place the pots in a bucket. Fill the bucket with water, and soak the pots for a few minutes to absorb the water. Remove the pots, and discard the water. Pour potting soil into the bucket, and add enough water to moisten the soil. Stir with your hands or a garden spade. The soil should be evenly and thoroughly moistened but not muddy. Wetting the soil and pots helps keep newly transplanted plants from dehydrating.


Step 3

Place the drainage saucer on its support. Place the largest pot on the saucer, and pour about an inch of gravel into the pot. Fill the pot with moistened potting soil to 1/2 nch from the rim. Place the second pot on the soil in the center of the first pot. Using two hands, press down on the second pot to compress the soil beneath it. Make sure the second pot is well-seated and level.

Step 4

Pour gravel, then potting soil in the second pot. Press to settle it in place, then repeat to add a third pot.


When selecting pots, the diameter of the largest pot should be 4 inches larger than the next-smaller pot, and so on. This provides room for planting. Select plants that have similar lighting and watering needs. As with all plants in porous containers, your vertical garden needs frequent watering to keep the plants from drying out.


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