Here’s the deal with these coffee mug planters: They are so fun to make!
A while back it was my son’s turn to do the dishes. “Mom, do we REALLY need all these mugs?” he asked. He counted almost two dozen. But each mug has a story, right? You know how that goes! Instead of pitching them, I used them to dress up my patio! These coffee mug planters have done wonders for my setting, adding a touch of our beautiful Arizona desert to my boho-themed patio.
I live in the southwest, and we sure do embrace cacti, especially beautiful succulents like these. I bought a variety of them because I could see that they fit perfect inside a mug.
Assorted ceramic mugs
Drill with a bit for ceramics (I used the Rockwell 3rill 3 in 1 Drill)
Spray bottle with water
Directions for drilling a hole in a ceramic mug
Safety First: Put on your safety goggles and dust mask to protect your eyes and lungs from ceramic dust, which can be harmful if inhaled.
Prepare the Mug: Clean the mug thoroughly, ensuring that it’s dry before you start. Place it upside down on a flat surface. If the mug has a curved bottom, create a stable surface by putting it on a towel or a non-slip mat. Remember, not all mugs will be suitable for this process, especially if they’re very thin or delicate. Always take care and go slow to avoid cracking the mug.
Mark the Spot: Decide where you want to drill the hole and put a piece of masking tape over the area. The tape will prevent the drill bit from slipping and scratching the surface of the mug. Using a marker, draw a small dot on the tape where you want to drill the hole.
Start Drilling: Using your electric drill and the carbide or diamond-tipped drill bit, start to drill a hole at the marked spot. Start at a very low speed to create an initial indentation which will help to keep the drill bit from slipping.
Drill with Care: Gradually increase the speed. Remember, the goal is not speed, but consistency. Keep the drill at a steady medium speed. Applying too much pressure can cause the ceramic to crack, so be gentle and patient.
Keep it Cool: During the drilling process, it’s important to keep the drill bit cool to prevent it from overheating and potentially cracking the ceramic. You can do this by frequently dipping the bit in water or by having someone drip water onto the drilling spot while you work.
Finish Up: Once the hole has been drilled, remove the tape and clean the mug thoroughly to remove any ceramic dust.
Once your mug has a drain hole, you can use it as a plant pot
Just make sure to use a saucer or tray underneath to catch any water that drains out. If you’re planting something that requires good drainage, you may want to add a layer of pebbles or broken ceramic to the bottom before adding soil. This will help prevent the plant’s roots from sitting in water and potentially developing rot.
Once you have your hole drilled, fill the mug halfway with the cactus soil mix. Now it’s time to add the plant!
Coffee mug planter (with a drainage hole)
Potting mix (preferably one made for cacti and succulents)
Pebbles or small stones (optional)
Spoon or small shovel
How to add a succulent to a coffee mug planter
Fill the coffee mug about halfway with the potting mix. The mix should be well-draining, which is why a cacti and succulent potting mix is usually best.
Remove the succulent from its current pot. Be gentle and try not to damage the roots. If the plant is stuck, you can squeeze the sides of the pot to loosen it. Shake off excess soil from the roots.
Place the succulent into the coffee mug, spreading the roots out over the soil. The plant should be positioned so that the base of its stem is just below the rim of the mug, similar to how it was in its original pot.
Fill the rest of the mug with potting mix, leaving some space at the top. Be careful not to bury the leaves in soil. Use a spoon or a small shovel to add the soil and press lightly around the plant to secure it in place.
Give the plant a good watering, but be careful not to overwater. Succulents are drought-tolerant plants and they don’t like to sit in waterlogged soil. Make sure that water is coming out of the drainage hole at the bottom. This shows that water is flowing through the soil and not leaving it soggy.
Place the coffee mug planter in a location where the succulent will get plenty of sunlight. Most succulents prefer bright, indirect light. I love that grouped together, these make a really bold and colorful statement. They also are wonderful for giving to house guests too!
Remember to let the soil dry out between waterings. Overwatering is one of the most common reasons succulents die. You can check the moisture level by inserting a finger into the soil. If it’s dry at least 1-2 inches down, it’s time to water your plant. Thanks for checking out my post about coffee mug planters!
Other creative containers for succulents!
Succulents are quite versatile and can be planted in a variety of containers. The key is to ensure the container has good drainage to prevent water from accumulating and causing the roots to rot. Below are some creative ideas:
Teacups: Similar to coffee mugs, teacups can also make adorable containers for succulents. Just ensure you drill a hole at the bottom for drainage.
Vintage Tins: Old tins, like those for cookies or tea, can be repurposed into charming, vintage-looking planters.
Aquariums or Terrariums: You can create a miniature desert landscape inside a glass aquarium or terrarium. This can be a great centerpiece in your living room.
Pumpkins: For a fun fall decoration, consider hollowing out a pumpkin and planting your succulent inside.
Books: Hollow out a book to create a unique planter. Make sure to seal the inside of the book to prevent water damage and create a barrier between the soil and the paper.
Toy Trucks: An old toy truck can be a playful and whimsical planter for a succulent.
Seashells: Large seashells can serve as a natural and beautiful planter. They’re particularly good for small succulents.
Shoes or Boots: Old rain boots or even worn-out loafers can be turned into interesting planters.
Wine Corks: These can be hollowed out and used as a container for tiny succulent cuttings. They can then be attached to the fridge as magnets or used as unique place card holders.
Light Bulbs: Old light bulbs can be hollowed out and used as small hanging planters.
Wooden Pallets: These can be used to create a vertical garden of succulents.
Bird Cages: These can be lined with moss and filled with succulents for a hanging garden.
Glass Jars or Bottles: Glass containers can be a good option for succulents. Make sure to layer pebbles at the bottom for good drainage.
These are just a few examples, and the possibilities are virtually endless. Just remember, the most important aspects of choosing a planter are ensuring it has good drainage, is large enough for the root system, and that the material won’t adversely affect the plant. Also remember to gradually acclimate your succulents to their new containers to avoid shocking them.