Styrofoam Filler For Planters

Have a large pot you’d like to plant cucumbers or flowers in? Don’t fill it up with planting soil! Save your soil and fill the base with Styrofoam first. The foam will reduce the overall weight of your planter, enabling you to move it around for best sun exposure. It also acts as good drainage for water.

Styrofoam Planter Filler, Photo: Liesl Clark

We found some big chunks of styrofoam washed up on our local beach, so I knew that we wouldn’t be able to recycle it. If you don’t have a readily-available source on your beach, save a few styro-blocks to stuff into your large planters. If you’re concerned about the carcinogenic qualities of polystyrene, make sure you place the foam on the very bottom of the planter so the roots don’t touch it. Then, fill with good planting soil, ensuring you’ve filled in all the in-between spaces so your plants’ roots don’t dry out.

Studies aren’t conclusive whether there are any known effects of styrofoam or plastics in our soil upon our foods. If so, we’re in trouble. Almost all commercial compost has polystyrene and hard plastics throughout.

Most of our styrofoam gets recycled around Earth Day when a local feed store drives our styrofoam to a recycler on the other side of Puget Sound.

What do you think? Have you got your own reuse for Styrofoam? We’d love to hear from you.

4 thoughts on “Styrofoam Filler For Planters

  1. I actually have a question about that. As I study, the impact of the styrofoam on health and the environment, I was quite surprised about your post. As styrofoam is made of 57 chemicals, it releases them when the material is heated. Since soil heats up, I would be concerned about the impact on the plants. Do you worry about that? Still learning about this, but curious to hear more from others…


  2. You’re absolutely right to be concerned about styrofoam. I mention my concern, too, in the article. But when we recover tons and tons of styrofoam from our shores, and most of it is taken to the transfer station, aka the landfill, I have saved a few pieces to put in the bottom of some of our very large planters. These are deep planters where the plants’ roots will never touch the styrofoam. The soil temperature is likely pretty cool, as it’s a subterranean environment. I have thought, too, that this might be a concern, but burying this styrofoam has enabled me to have very large planters that we can move about on our back deck.


  3. I use large whole pieces stuffed tightly in my house window boxes, instead of dirt. rain drains quickly, no rot to boxes.. I stick silk flowers in them for instant beauty. cover top with craft moss. Looks real from distance! Easy care! Easily changed out for seasons. My 2 outside cats always broke real flowers down. these they may mash but not kill.


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