Use a hanging shoe organizer to create a flower planter perfect for patio walls or a shed roof. It’s a beautiful way to add a splash of color to your summer garden.
For more ideas, see 40 Unique Container Gardening Ideas.
Make a Shoe Bag Planter
I made my mini greenhouse from recycled windows a few years ago and always wanted to add a green roof.
Or, more accurately, add some plants to the roof without putting a lot of weight on it.
I looked at several commercial vertical planters made from plastic, synthetic fabrics, and felt. After seeing the prices, I opted for shoe bags instead. Same idea, much lower price.
This shoe organizer is sturdy enough to last many garden seasons. As I’m writing this, I have used it several years in a row and it has minimal signs of wear.
I attached mine to the top of my greenhouse and used some leftover pieces to cover a large birdhouse (above). It would also be sweet on a small shed or doghouse (if strong enough).
It’s perfect for annual flowers and vines that do not need a lot of root space.
It would also work as a herb planter.
If you are planting on a roof that will be overhead, it very likely requires a building permit and safety check by engineer.
How to Plant a Shoe Organizer
1 Measure Roof Top or Wall Area
Hanging shoe organizers come in various sizes (lengths and widths).
I got lucky with my little greenhouse: the roof is exactly two shoe organizers wide.
You can trim the shoe bags to make them narrower or shorter.
Mine were longer than needed so I used the excess to cover a birdhouse.
While trimming does remove the finished edges, the material does not fray. And, once the plants start growing, they completely cover everything.
Also, in case this affects your choice of location, keep in mind that the planter will drain excess water after each watering.
2 Get Shoe Organizers
This is the shoe organizer I used. Avoid any all-plastic ones that feel like cheap shower curtains. They won’t last.
3 Get Plants and Potting Mix
For plant choices, any annuals with short roots will do.
Each year I choose a flower color theme base on what’s available (dirt cheap) at the local greenhouses.
Trailing petunias and vines would look fabulous.
4 Prepare Hangers
For my little greenhouse, I attached screws in the roof to line up with the grommet holes on the shoe bags.
If you plant to display your shoe bag planter on a wall, ensure your hanging hardware can take the weight. It’s going to vary depending on size, but it could be 50 to 75 pounds for a large one (plants + potting mix + water).
5 Plant the Shoe Organizer
It’s easiest to plant with the shoe bag hanging up.
If your wall space or roof top is easy to access, hang up the shoe bag and plant it in place.
Otherwise, you will need help to move and hang it after planting.
If you use fertilizer, add slow-release fertilizer to the growing medium while you’re planting.
This first photo is just after planting:
And here it is a few weeks later:
That’s how I hoped it would look.
If your planter is up high like mine, you will want a long watering wand to reach it.
Remember to take photos. It’s fun to see how it changes as the flowers fill in.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛