Searching for something to give the garden a bit of pizazz? Look no further than this crooked terra cotta flower tower. Annual flowers cascade over the sides of each pot like a flowing waterfall. It’s simple to make, gives a vertical burst of color, and can be used over and over again each year.
- 5 standard terra cotta pots in the following sizes: 14”, 12”, 10”, 8”, and 6”
- A 2-cubic-foot bag of potting soil
- One 48” rebar rod or 48” metal electric tube
- 15-20 annual plants
1. Create Your Foundation
This tower is meant to be in the garden. Flower towers can be made for patios or decks, but this tilted version cannot, since it is stabilized by a metal rod in the ground. So, start off by hammering the rod at least 6 inches into the soil at the location you want to place your tower. Once it’s in deep enough, give it a little wiggle to make sure it seems sturdy. A little give is fine, but if the rod pops right out of the ground it needs to be placed deeper so that your tower won’t topple over at the slightest gust of wind.
2. Thread the Pots
To give the tower a crooked look, a small trench needs to be dug into the ground so that the first pot will lean to one side. It only needs to be about 3 inches deep and 8 inches long. Once your trench is dug, you can thread the largest pot on the metal rod and position it to be crooked. This may take a bit of trial and error to get the right look. If the terra cotta pot doesn’t seem sturdy or isn’t leaning enough remove it from the rod and dig the trench a bit more. It should look like the pot is partially buried in the ground.
3. Fill the Pots With Soil
Next fill the pot up with potting soil, and angle it in the pot toward the opposite side the first is on. This will let the next pot tilt. Then thread the second pot on the rod. This is actually much easier said than done, a metal rod is not pliable at all. So, to get the terra cotta pots to appear crooked they need to be angled just right. Honestly, it does take more trial and error.
Once the second pot is in position, repeat the process until all of the terra cotta pots are threaded onto the metal rod. Once all 5 terra cotta pots are on the rod and filled with soil, the tower is constructed. All that is left is to fill it with beautiful flowers. One of the advantages of tilting the pot at an angle is that each pot is pushed to one side of the pot below it. This gives more planting space, and opens up the varieties of flowers you can use, as opposed to the traditional terra cotta flower tower.
4. Plant Your Flowers
Now that the tower is built and the flowers are purchased, the final step is to plant them. Starting with the lower pot, take each flower out of its container and tease the roots before digging a hole placing it in the pot. Don’t really worry about plant spacing. The plants can be jammed pretty tightly together. Alternate the colors or flowers along the way to achieve the desired that you want.
How to Water
Once all of the flowers are planted, the tower needs a good dose of water. Water it all, including the pots. If you don’t water the pots too, the clay will absorb most of the water and leave very little water for the plants. A general rule of thumb when watering any container plant with good drainage is it to water it, step away from it for a few minutes. Then water it again. This lets the water soak in, and any runoff occurs before you really water it.
The possibilities of annual flowers you use in the crooked tower are endless. Here are some tips to assure that your new creation will flourish:
- Flowing and cascading annuals work best. They will give the tower the look that the flowers are pouring out of your tilted pots.
- If you need help selecting, look at my suggestions for annuals to use in “How To Make a Terra Cotta Flower Tower”. Also, a simple rule of thumb, if it’s in a hanging basket in the nursery or garden center, it is a good selection. Honestly, just look up, down, and all around your local garden center, they will have the best selections for your zone.
- Consider adding “accent” annuals. These are annuals such as Sweet Potato vine or ivy. They don’t flower, but most cascade providing a dramatic effect when used in containers.
- Tall upright flowers such as sunflowers won’t work.
- Keep in mind the location of the tower when selecting the flowers. The basic rules of gardening still apply to this project. Sun plants need sun to grow well, and shade plants thrive in the shade.
- The best flowers should have a bloom of one to two inches. Anything much bigger will not give that "wow" effect.
- Flowers in containers need a lot of water. They dry out very quickly in the hot summer months. I recommend adding a product like Soil Moist to prolong times between watering.
An Annual Flower Tower
To keep your flower tower looking great all summer long, the crooked flower tower will need to be watered daily and fertilized bi-weekly with an all-purpose fertilizer.
Each year the pots can be reused, but since annuals were used the flowers will need to be replanted. By selecting different flowers or colors each year you can drastically change the look of this unique container garden.
Kathy Hull (author) from Bloomington, Illinois on July 18, 2014:
Yes, I do think herbs would work. They'd need fertilizer and lots of water though, so it would be a bit more high maintenance than flowers.
jan on July 18, 2014:
Could you plant herbs rather then the flowers?
Kathy Hull (author) from Bloomington, Illinois on February 09, 2014:
Herbs would be such a great idea Gail. Thanks for sharing.
GailH. on February 08, 2014:
My husband made me one of the crooked terre cotta pot towers about 6 or 7 years ago. I put my herbs in it. He also made a smaller one that I plant flowers in. They are next to the patio. Everyone should try it. You don't have to use terra cotta pots, just use whatever you have.
Kathy Hull (author) from Bloomington, Illinois on April 05, 2013:
It really is simple to do Themla, and right now is so close to the perfect time of year to be thinking about gardening! You won't be sorry you tried it.
Thelma Alberts from Germany and Philippines on April 05, 2013:
Beautiful! I would like to make this at home with your step by step instruction. Thanks for sharing;-)
Jakub Dubec from Europe on October 10, 2012:
Looks sweet. When i will have a garden (hopefully), i will remember! And i will get my children ( hopefully i will have them ) to paint on these flowerpots :) Thank You for inspiration. Pinned to my "Best Inventions" pinboard.
ignugent17 on September 26, 2012:
Very creative. I might to do this next spring. Thanks for sharing the idea.
Voted up and more. :-)
Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on September 26, 2012:
Loved this hub! So creative and looks awesome! I had done something similar with my mum years ago and love the irregularity of it . Your pics and instructions are excellent, will be sharing on this clever idea!!!!! Voted up, interesting and useful.
RTalloni on June 12, 2012:
How pretty this would be beside a deck! It is an interesting garden piece that would be a lot of fun to put together and enjoy. Your choice of flowers are perfect.
Thanks for this tutorial on how to make the flower tower. I'll be keeping it in mind… :)