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Zinc tubs are very popular in the garden because they are perfect as a container for planting colorful flowers and herbs. In this way, you can create a varied bed in the smallest of spaces that will bloom from spring to autumn. In addition to selecting suitable species, drainage is important so that the plants do not sink into the water.

Plant zinc tub

Any plant can be placed in a tub if you take into account the different needs of the species. Select the plants according to their habitats. If you want to design a natural planting, you can use the flora in forests, along roadsides or in meadows as a guide.

Zinc tubs come into their own when you plants of different heights compose with red, yellow and blue flowers. The vessels are not only suitable for flat-rooted plants. Deep-rooted species find enough space to grow in high tubs. Combine species with different root systems to make the best use of space.

Checklist for tub planting:

  • Choose category: early bloomers, summer flowers, forest plants, herbs
  • Check light requirements: shade, partial shade or sun
  • Observe soil requirements: nutrient-rich or lean
  • Consider water requirements: dry, fresh or moist

tip: Naturally green tubs are a valuable contribution to nature conservation in your own garden and are easy to care for. Plant the vessel with native flowers and just watch the arrangement evolve each year.


The water drainage is of great importance, because most plants do not tolerate waterlogging. If you leave the zinc tub outside all year round, rainwater will quickly collect on the ground. Drill holes in the bottom of the tub to allow rainwater to drain:

  • Use a metal drill for finger-thick holes
  • hammer smaller holes with a thick nail
  • alternatively use zinc tub with drain

To prevent the holes from clogging, you should spread pottery shards on the ground before planting. Alternatively, shards of ceramic plates or expanded clay are suitable. If you do not have a suitable drill available, you can cover the bottom of the tub with larger stones or a layer of gravel. This creates a soil-free zone in which water can temporarily accumulate and pull into the substrate from below when the sun shines. This method is only recommended if the zinc tub is not directly under the open sky.

Rustic spring border

Bulbous plants are popular when arranging tub beds. The tubers are planted in autumn. With the appropriate winter protection, the vessels spend the winter outdoors. When temperatures rise in spring, the rhizomes sprout. You can put almost all early-flowering bulbous plants together in one tub, since most species have similar requirements. They thrive on fresh to moist soil in a semi-shady location and like moderately nutrient-rich soil. The arrangement is particularly beautiful when you combine different colors and shapes:

  • Low tulip (Tulipa humilis) with soft pink flowers and a yellow center
  • Yellow daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) as a tall eye-catcher
  • Small snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) with double flowers
  • Winterling (Eranthis hyemalis) with a particularly harmonious growth habit
  • Wood anemone (Anemone nemorosa) as a delicate ground cover

tip: You can cover the substrate with a thick layer of moss so that the soil in the early flowering bed does not look too bare.

Forest character tub

The herbaceous layer of the forest is characterized by plants that prefer cool to damp conditions and require semi-shady lighting conditions. A nutrient-rich substrate guarantees them optimal growth conditions. Many types are not only pretty to look at, but can also be used in the kitchen.

Sweet Violet

The sweet violet (Viola odorata) convinces with intense purple flowers that appear between March and April. They give off a sweet scent that attracts wild bees, butterflies and bumblebees. Because of the raspberry-like taste, the flowers are often used in desserts. Sweet violets prefer a light to semi-shady place. They feel particularly comfortable under taller perennials. Viola odorata grows under deciduous shrubs, which is why the species thrives particularly well under fruit trees. When planting, make sure that the larger plants are not too close together.

Common loosestrife

With its striking yellow flowers that shine between June and August, the loosestrife (Lysimachia vulgaris) is a perfect addition to the mini forest bed. In nature, the plant grows in clear spots in forests, but also on damp meadows, in swampy woods and on the banks of streams. It is enough if you put a plant in the background of the zinc tub. Lysimachia vulgaris develops underground runners and in this way spreads rapidly. The species is self-pollinating and reproduces by seed. As a perennial species, the loosestrife adorns the plant arrangement for many years.

Sticky Sage

This sage plant is one of the taproots suitable for planting in the center and background of the zinc tub. The sticky buds give off a sweet scent and serve as a source of nectar for bumblebees and wild bees. Salvia glutinosa is a typical species in moist lowland forests or ravines. It grows at the edge of the forest and has no problem with shady conditions. What distinguishes this species from its relatives:

  • Salvia officinalis needs a rocky and dry substrate
  • Salvia pratensis loves sunny locations and dry, nutrient-rich soil
  • semi-arid conditions and sunny locations prefer Salvia nemorosa
  • Salvia sclarea grows on poor soil in the sun

garlic mustard

This semi-shade plant likes substrates rich in nitrogen, which is why the garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is often found next to nettles. It grows naturally under hedges and bushes or on paths and walls. The herbaceous plant feels particularly well on fresh loamy soil. The white flowers are an important food source for various moth species. Therefore, the cruciferous plant is ideal for designing a butterfly bed.


The carnation plant is a typical herb on nutrient-rich substrates. Chickweed (Stellaria media) therefore prefers to spread on arable soils with fresh conditions. Often referred to as a weed, Stellaria media is particularly useful in the tub. The plant develops a dense carpet and covers the substrate with its creeping stolons. It serves as protection against evaporation during the hot summer months. In winter, the dried shoots and leaves act as a natural insulator against the cold.

tip: If the plant grows too much, cut back the shoots vigorously. They're a refreshing ingredient for salads with a corn-like flavor.

Zinc bucket with colorful summer flowers

Flowers from flowering meadows prefer sunny conditions. They grow in poor to moderately nutrient-rich soil that offers dry or fresh conditions. With their lush variety of blossoms, flowers put you in a good mood. At the same time, they serve as an important source of food. They produce pollen and nectar, so that the planted zinc tub becomes a magnet for butterflies, wild bees and bumblebees during the summer.

Blood Cranesbill

Between May and September, this cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum) transforms the garden into a bright sea of flowers. Because of the far-reaching root system, the species is suitable for planting in large containers. For the blood cranesbill to thrive, the soil must be loose, nutrient-poor and dry. The species occurs in sparse forests. The tolerance of different light conditions makes the plant the perfect plant for the zinc tub. You don't have to commit yourself and you can also mix plants with different light requirements. Use the natural plant communities in which the blood cranesbill grows as a guide. The characteristic species of these communities have similar site requirements:

  • Colorful iris thrives in sun and partial shade
  • Large anemone prefers light conditions
  • Mountain aster loves sunny locations

Real ball flower

Looking at this blue beauty, no one thinks that the globe flower (Globularia bisnagarica) is related to the buckhorn. The plantain plant inhabits semi-arid to dry meadows and bushes. It is perfect for creating a natural setting in the zinc bath. The plant is particularly effective in sunny locations. Globeflower harmonizes with low-growing flowers that develop yellow petals.

Big snapdragon

In nature, this species grows in crevices in rocks. It has adapted to dry and nutrient-poor substrates and grows splendidly in sunny locations. The flowers are reminiscent of little mouths. They produce sweet nectar and attract bumblebees and wild bees. Although the plant is often cultivated as an annual, it is suitable for planting in zinc tubs. If you leave the jar to itself, the snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) will seed itself and regrow each year. Provided it is not supplanted by competitive plants.

Musk Mallow

The strikingly large flowers of the musk mallow (Malva moschata) are particularly effective in the tub between low plants. Nutrient-rich soils characterize the natural habitat. The plant likes particularly nitrogen-rich soil that is moderately fresh. It is the ideal summer bloomer for plant arrangements with a meadow character. The more sun the herbaceous plant gets, the more lush it blooms.

Orange hawkweed

Hobby gardeners appreciate the wild beauty because of its magnificent flowers, which give the bed a high-contrast color. Botanically named Hieracium aurantiacum, the perennial makes an excellent groundcover planting for larger zinc tubs that will grow two to three sun-loving species. However, do not plant too many species next to the hawkweed to avoid competition. A nutrient-poor substrate offers the daisy family optimal growth conditions. Herb and flowers can also be harvested. They taste like bitter chocolate.

variety of herbs

Both local herbs and Mediterranean plants are suitable for planting in the zinc tub. Many aromatic plants prefer dry soil, so you need to provide good drainage. You can turn the tub into a pure herb bed, or plant the herbs in mixed cultures. In this way you create a small bed that can then be harvested at different times of the year. Choose plants that go together:

  • Basil goes well alongside tomatoes, rosemary, and peppers
  • Oregano goes well with sage, savory and thyme
  • Parsley grows between strawberries and onions
  • Lavender harmonises with thyme and sage

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