As a country boy who grew up and moved to a city, I could talk for hours about how much I’ve missed being surrounded by plants. Fortunately, 3D printed planters have made it easy to recapture some of that nature even in my apartment.
One of the coolest things about planters is the sheer amount of shapes and sizes they come in. Whether you’ve got a ton of space that you’re aching to make green, or just a particularly empty windowsill, planters can go anywhere.
By 3D printing your own planters and pots, you can get extra creative. The particularly green-thumbed of you will know that certain plants thrive better in different size planters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have some fun with the exterior!
While we’ve previously written about how planters are among the most useful things to 3D print, as well as some cool 3D printed vases, today we’re going to turn our attention wholly to nature to look even further into 3D printed plant pots for your home and garden.
Let’s look at some readily available 3D printed planters you can check out today, from practical self-waterers to fun and nerdy designs, we’re going to see some of the best planters for your little green friends.
But first, we’re going to look at some of the ins and outs of 3D printing your own planters.
Why 3D Print Planters?
3D printed platers are not only a great exercise in self-expression and creativity, there’s a whole host of reasons why turning to 3D printing is a great route for your gardening needs.
Here are the top reasons to 3D print your own planters:
- There are a lot of imaginative, practical, and fun planters readily available online (often for free!)
- You can put your own creative spin on your interior and exterior decorations
- Planters can be rescaled and reprinted as your plants grow so you don’t have to lose the aesthetic
- Plant pots and planters from garden centers are often more expensive than they’re actually worth
- Since it’s made from corn starch, PLA filament is biodegradable. This makes it a greener option over plastic store-bought planters.
Self-Watering 3D Printed Planters
I get it, we’ve all got busy lives. Sometimes you just don’t have the time to give your plants the attention they need, or maybe like me you’re just forgetful.
This is where self-watering 3D printed planters come in. They’re fantastic for those of you with packed schedules, frequent trips, or minds that are just a little too absent at times.
Self-watering planters come in a lot of shapes and sizes. This simple modular design is very well made and works like a dream without being too flashy for those of you who prefer minimalist décor.
A similarly designed self-watering 3D planter is this circular one that takes up less space and is ideal for windowsills or narrower shelves and mantlepieces. The standard version is ideal for succulents and herbs, but scaling it larger will make it perfect for larger plants and produce.
The ‘leaflink’ is a very small self-watering planter designed for tiny plants to be kept on an office desk. If you work 9-5, then the self-watering aspect makes them perfect for when you’re off enjoying your weekend.
You can rest easy knowing you can come back on Monday so some perfectly healthy greenery in your workspace.
Of course, not all self-watering planters need to be on the minimalist side of things, you can have plenty of fun with them too!
Don’t be discouraged if you can’t find a self-watering planter that suits your taste. With a little work, you can change any design to be a self-watering planter, so don’t be afraid to put your own spin on any of your favorites to make them practical as well as fun.
Suspended Spherical Succulent Splanters
Yes, that is the full name. As a fan of sibilant alliteration as well as cool designs, I couldn’t not mention these really cool 3D printed planters for succulents and herbs.
If you’re a city-dweller like me, then you probably know the pain of limited space. That’s where this design comes in very handy. Suspended from the ceiling, they take up no shelf space and make for a very welcoming decoration.
The individual planters all come with different holes for different hanging positions. The only real issue with them is drainage, as you can’t simply put a saucer underneath like you would with other pots.
But with enough space in the planter, you can let it drain into itself. Fortunately, succulents only need watered only once every two weeks or so (about once a month in colder seasons), so you won’t need to worry about it too much.
Vertical Rocket Planter
Another great planter that doesn’t take up a lot of space is this vertical rocket planter. Also perfect for smaller plants like herbs and even strawberries, it’s a great way to get some green in your life without sacrificing too much room.
The vertical rocket planter is a lot more stable than it looks, and has been tested and re-tested to ensure stability. I just don’t recommend planting anything too heavy just in case.
It’s worth noting that in order to maintain this stability, the designer doesn’t recommend scaling. So you may need to make peace with its limited size if you don’t want your floor to be covered in soil and unhappy flowers.
However, you can make your own changes to the design to make it more stable if you envision bigger things in this rocket’s future.
There are a lot of grass-type Pokémon whose designs lend themselves well to adorable and fun 3D printed planters.
Exeggutor, Gloom, and Chikorita are available as 3D printed planters too, not to mention non-grass types like Voltorb. You can even 3D print this Haunter, one of my personal favorites, holding a little pokéball vase for your favorite plants!
If you’ve got a favorite, you can plant in it!
Baby Groot Planter
From what I can tell, Baby Groot is one of the most popular 3D printed planters around. The character’s design is perfect for a cute planter that will be welcome in the home of any marvel fan looking for a little more green in their home.
The design here does cost money, but only $3, which is well worth the price considering the detail. It will look adorable as you start with a little sprout, and be even more impressive as you watch your plants grow.
Who said planters can’t look like plants? These pumpkin planters are a really cool ornament for any Halloween fan or just those of you who like a splash of orange with your green.
They can be used seasonally as decorations, basically putting your houseplants in costume, or you can stick to the version without the scary face and have yourself a wonderful autumn- and harvest-themed planter all year round.
3D Printing Planters: Tips & Tricks
While it may be tempting to just pick your favorite shape and run with it, there’s more to planters and plant pots than meet the eye.
Plants are living things, and so need care and attention paid to their planting. Keeping the following tips in mind will not only give you better results, but also help keep your flora as healthy as possible.
Know What Size You Need
There’s a good reason planters come in different types, and that’s mostly to do with how much space a plant needs for its particular root system. Most planters come between 10-40 inches in diameter, and it’s important to nail down what size you need before you get to printing.
Succulents and small produce plants like strawberries and carrots will do better in smaller planters, while larger plants like tomatoes and zucchini will need much more space to grow.
While you can look up which plants will do better in your 3D printed planter, you can still go by feel. A zucchini wouldn’t do well in the same pot you’d use for mint, for example.
One of the main benefits of 3D printing your own planters is that you don’t have to abandon a concept just because it’s the wrong size. You can alter and scale any STL file in your preferred software to suit whichever plant you want!
Be Mindful of Your Materials
While you can 3D print planters with standard filaments like PLA, you may want to go with something more heat resistant. Plants need a lot of light, but with light comes heat, and particularly heat-sensitive filaments could absorb too much and damage not only the planter, but the plant as well.
If you can, printing in ceramic is the best route to take when making planters. If that’s not an option for you, then just take good care of your planter and be ready to replace it after a while. Fortunately, you can just save your favorite planter STL file and replicate it whenever you like, good as new!
Double Check Before Planting
Whether it’s through a design flaw or a slight failure during printing, no one wants an overly leaky planter. Soil can get everywhere, or all the water will wash out and your plant won’t have much to feed on.
While small holes are handy in planters to help with drainage, you’ll want to make sure there are no more than necessary.
My trick here is to pour water into a planter as fast as I’d pour myself a glass of water. If the water comes out about as fast as it goes in, then it’s got too much drainage and your plant won’t get enough. If it overflows too quickly, then it doesn’t have enough drainage and will leave roots waterlogged and unhealthy.
It may not be the most scientific method, but it’s never failed me before. And this is coming from a guy who just three years ago wasn’t even responsible enough to keep a cactus alive.
Planter materials and sizes are important, but sizes can be tweaked before printing and materials can be replaced or upgraded over time.
The important thing is to keep your plants healthy and have fun while doing it!
That brings us to selecting which planters you want. From the elegant and creative, to the fun and whimsical, choosing the right planters for you is something only you can do, whether you pick from any of the options above or go for your own!