How to plant flowers or vegetables in a whiskey or wine barrel planter
Whiskey and wine barrels have always made for excellent home decor – indoors and outdoors. While authentic, used barrels are undeniably rustic, they can be dressed up or down to fit a wide variety of design themes and schemes.
However, one of our favorite ways to incorporate a barrel as decor is as a planter. The natural appearance of the American white oak staves and the slightly rusted whiskey barrel rings – or slightly cleaner, galvanized wine barrel rings – look great when filled with an arrangement of flowers or even vegetables in a garden.
Setting up a barrel planter is pretty simple, too. We’ve put together a quick video that runs through the process and best practices to ensure that whatever you place in the planter thrives and grows to your liking.
All about Midwest Barrel Co. planters
Watch our video about our planters here or on YouTube.
Barrel Planter FAQs
Still have questions? Here are some of our barrel planter frequently asked questions.
What are the differences between bourbon/whiskey and wine barrel planters?
Are you struggling to determine which planter type is right for you? Maybe knowing a little bit more about your options will help.
You may think that bourbon/whiskey and wine barrels are essentially the same thing, aside from the beverage they aged, of course. That’s not true, though. There are several different characteristics that may make one stand out over the other for you.
The most obvious difference is the interior of the barrel. Whiskey barrels have been deeply charred by open flame in order to open up the oak and allow it to interact with the spirit it aged. This creates a more blackened, burned appearance.
Wine barrels, on the other hand, are toasted and have not been exposed to enough flame or heat to have blackened. Our wine barrel planter interiors will be stained red by the wine, though.
Size is another difference. Wine barrels typically hold 59-60 gallons and have a slightly larger footprint compared to whiskey barrels, which hold 53 gallons.
You will also notice that the rings on wine barrels are not as rusty as those on whiskey barrels. Both are steel, but wine barrel rings are galvanized steel.
Are there different sizes of barrel planters?
Yes! Midwest Barrel Co. offers our normal whiskey or wine barrel planters, which are one half of an authentic, used whiskey or wine barrel.
But we also now have small half whiskey barrel planters, which were cut from used 15 gallon whiskey barrels. The smaller size makes these planters ideal for smaller spaces, including apartment decks, smaller patios and similar areas.
Won’t the barrels fall apart?
Both planters will keep their form and shape fairly well for quite a while, especially if you keep dirt in the barrel year-round rather than empty completely at the end of the gardening and growing season.
Watering the flowers and other plants will also help as some of the water will soak into the staves, which will swell them and make them tighter. Water from any rain will keep the staves tighter, too.
If you do notice the rings start to move or staves start to move out of place, then you can always insert self-tapping screws evenly around each ring to help the barrel maintain its shape. Self-tapping screws can be found at just about any hardware store.
How can I keep my barrel looking like it did when I bought it?
The beauty of barrels is that they age exceptionally well – just like the beverage they previously contained. Sure, the colors will fade from brown to a lighter gray over time (as any unpainted wood does), but that look can often only deepen the planter’s rustic character.
However, if you’d like, you can always apply a clear finish to help preserve color. Some people even paint their planters. It’s all up to you.
Why do I need to drill holes in the bottom of the barrel?
As shown in our video, drilling holes in the bottom of the planter is a critical step to ensure that the planter lasts as long as possible – and the plants inside the barrel stay healthy.
If you don’t drill holes, then any water that eventually finds its way to the bottom of the barrel has nowhere to go. It will sit on the bottom until it saturates the wood, which could lead to rotting down the road.