My husband saw this clay pot tower in someone's yard several years ago and I just had to figure out how to make one. I found some very limited information online and learned they were called Tipsy Pots. I also have full instructions on my website as well as a PDF Printer Friendly version of the instructions. This project has also been featured in the April/May 2009 Issue of Birds and Blooms.http://www.gardensandcrafts.com/tipsypots.html (Update: 11/21/17: I have closed down the gardens and crafts website. Visit our new website www.VintageLiaison.com).
This is a great way to utilize all those clay pots we gardeners sometime collect over the years. Having all the plants in one place saves time and water.
Also, don't limit yourself to just clay pots, you can use any relatively round object that has a hole in the bottom. I also made a neat version out of old tea kettles, which you can view on the website link I gave above.
Step 1: Step 1 - Prepare the Site
First, clear a spot in your garden. Remove the sod and pound in a 66" long piece of 1/2" diameter rebar into the soil at least two feet. This is very important for stability as the pots being stacked on it will be heavy with soil, water and plants. Surround the area with several layers of black/white newspaper to help block any weeds that might come up through the mulch.
Note: Depending on the height of the pots you have chosen, you may need to lengthen or shorten the piece of rebar. I would suggest you measure the height of all the pots ahead of time and then add 24" to that total before cutting your rebar.
Step 2: Step - 2 Start Stacking
Place a 12" round clay pot at the base of the rebar, threading the rod through the drainage hole in the pot. Fill the pot with potting mix, leaving an inch or two at the top and water it in.
Step 3: Step 3 - Continue Stacking
Slide a 10" clay pot over the rod in the same manner and tilt it on it's side. The bottom will be resting on the soil. Fill pot with soil leaving at least two inches at the top.
Step 4: Step 4 - Finish Stacking and Plant
Continue stacking 10" pots on the rod alternating the way they lean until you run out of rod. We were able to use five pots based on their size and the length of the rod we started with. I would not recommend going any higher than this as it will be hard to water and the tower could become unstable. Now you are ready to plant the pots. To see a detailed account of what I planted, go to my website. http://www.gardensandcrafts.com/tipsypots.html
Step 5: Step 5 - Finished
Once planted, your tower will look something like this. You may need to add a little more soil around each plant as you are putting them in, but leave at least an inch at the top of each pot so that when you water, the water does not run out too fast. You can mulch the pots to help prevent this.
To water, start at the top and water slowly. Pour the water on until it starts to run out. Stop watering that pot and go to the next. Continue until all pots have been watered. Wait several minutes then repeat the process. Clay pots tend to dry out quickly, so you can slow this down by sealing or painting the pots first and lining the inside of the pots with newspaper. You can also use water absorbing crystals in your potting mix. This tower may need to be watered twice a day if you have temps in the 90s or more.
heidisatwork made it!