Flower pot painting ideas: 11 easy looks for unique planters

Get creative with these pretty flower pot painting ideas. There's plenty of inspiration and original designs for all artistic abilities

Bright pelargonium plants in individual painted pots spelling out 'garden joy' in painted letters
(Image credit: Pelargoniums For Europe)

You don't have to be an Art Major to try your hand at these flower pot painting ideas. The true beauty of painting plant pots lies in the fact that they're fun, creative and perfect for people of all ages and abilities.

It makes just as good a group activity as it does a solitary mindful moment to get lost in. And what better end result than a fresh new ornament to add to your plant displays? 

Most experts will recommend acrylic paints for painting your plant pots, which come in a range of shades and are easy to work with, and dry to a waterproof finish. Some experts will recommend spraying with a sealer to finish for some additional weatherproofing.

You might be craving a multi-colored design for your container gardening ideas, in which case small pots decorated with different colored paints will be ideal. Then there's brush size to think about, again this comes down to the design you're planning – fine lines for an intricate design will require a fine brush, whilst block colors can be done with something thicker.

11 stunning flower pot painting ideas to suit all tastes

Head of Brands at Portmeirion (opens in new tab), Andrea Waters, shares her top tips on planning your clay pot painting ideas. She says: 'Before adding paint to the pot, you should consider your design muse and look for inspiration. You can do this by looking at books or magazines, TV, or getting out and about in nature.' 

To get you started, we've put together some of our favorite looks for you to try. 

1. Go for pretty polka dots

Polka dot painted terracotta pots

Use a sealant spray on both the inside and outside of the pot

(Image credit: Design: @rosepaintspots Photo: @auroraslittlestitches)

Before you start on any of your flower pot painting ideas, it's a good idea to learn how to clean terracotta pots using warm soapy water. This goes for brand new pots as well, as dust can gather on these and effect the finish of your paint.

We love this pretty polka dot design by @rosepaintspots (opens in new tab). Rose, who has her own business selling personalized pots, explains how she achieves her special paint effects. 

'So interestingly I don’t use paint brushes for all designs. I will always use washing-up sponges to do the base coat of the pot as I love the texture it gives,' she says. 'I then have a mixture of lots of different paint brushes I have collected over the years. I also use different tools for different designs including nail art tools and Qtips.'

2. Use old tin cans for painted planters

Vibrant pelargoniums planted up in spray painted tin can flower pots hung from an old bicycle wheel frame

Tin cans can be given a new life as a flower pot with a lick of paint

(Image credit: Pelargonium For Europe)

'This easy DIY project is perfect for brightening up your summer container ideas, whether it’s hung above a dining table or adorning a pergola or walkway,' says Style At Home Deputy Editor, Steph Durrant. 'Old bicycle wheels receive a new lease of life painted in colorful shades, while cheerful geraniums are planted in upcycled tin cans.'

Use spray paint in your chosen color and allow to dry, then apply a second coat if needed. 'If desired, paint a colored band around the base of each can using masking tape to achieve a straight edge,' Steph suggests.

Use a drill to create drainage holes in your garden planter and holes at either side to hang the painted flower pot from your bicycle wheel.

3. Create hot colored stripes on a set of plant pots

Group of small cactus planted in brightly colored painted striped flowerpots

If you’re not a fan of these colors, try the technique with shades of green and blue

(Image credit: Future)

What's interesting about this project is that it uses strips of colorful tissue paper with glue painted over them to create the stripe effect. This is particularly good for children to try for their colorful planter box ideas as painting with many different colors can be tricky for little ones to manage without the paints blending together. 

'To create the multicolored designs, apply some ModPodge from Amazon (opens in new tab) to a small section of the pot, making sure to coat the bottom and just inside the rim,' explains Craft Expert Esme Clemo (opens in new tab).

'Place a strip of tissue on the pot and smooth out any wrinkles with your finger. Place another strip next to the first and continue until you’ve covered the entire pot. Once covered, apply a final layer of ModPodge over the top to seal.'

4. Go for an abstract monochrome painted design

White painted terracotta pots with an abstract black swirly stripe

This modern look lends itself well to a muted color planting scheme. We recommend evergreens like ferns

(Image credit: Future)

'Design your plant pot in the sort of style you’re going for in your home or garden,' advises gardening expert Harry Bodell from Price Your Job (opens in new tab). 'You can choose a simple design to suit a minimalist patio plant, to keep that basic, decluttered feel. Or contrast a bold, bright style with your plant to really catch your guests' eyes and add that adventurous focal point.'

This paint idea combines contemporary style with a dash of fun. Monochrome black and white is a classic garden color scheme which can be applied in many patterns from bold stripes to polka dots.

This abstract swirl feels uber contemporary and adds movement to the plant display. To create your own custom-painted pots in this way, paint them white first, then brush-stroke black paint on top.

5. Add a simple striped rim at the top of the pot

herbs planted in painted pots with a contrasting striped rim

Adding a contrasting stripe is a simple paint project

(Image credit: Future)

Perfect for beginners, this look isn't overly ambitious but still a step up from a single color scheme. The upper rim of clay pots present a great opportunity for a stripe. Use masking tape to ensure a neat edge and ensure your first color is completely dry before applying the contrasting coat.

'You can go for a contemporary design by using two colors to decorate the plant pots, such as a black for the overall base and then using a light grey for the rim to contrast the design,' says John Stirzaker, SEO of Net Voucher Codes (opens in new tab) and money saving expert.

All that's left to do is plant up with herbs and display them as pretty window box ideas.

6. Personalize pots with a painted door number

a pair of painted terracotta pots planted with daisies with door numbers on

Use paint to personalize your flower pots

(Image credit: Future)

Smarten up the front of your home with some new plant pot painting ideas, at the same time as providing a practical use. With the addition of some painted numbers, these pretty clay pots make a really fun front garden idea that can work in any space. 

If you're confident you can try painting it in free hand, or you can use stencils for a neat finish. These will make great housewarming gifts for new homeowners too. Fill with bulbs for some simple spring container ideas and then replace the bulbs with long flowering daisies for summer.

7. Paint a pretty floral pattern

A set of terracotta pots painted with delicate floral motifs

Plan more intricate designs out on paper first

(Image credit: Future)

If you are confident with a paint brush you might want to draw inspiration from botanical art for your flower pot painting ideas. 'Once you’ve got a design in mind, make sure you’ve set time aside to truly concentrate on your project,' says Andrea Waters. 'Be sure to sketch your designs on paper first and transfer your patterns to the pot using a pencil.

'A floral pattern is an excellent choice for a plant pot because it complements the plant life it is hosting and will match the rest of the garden if you’re keeping it outside,' she adds. If you live in an apartment you might take your inspiration from your balcony plants.

'Pottery painting provides so much joy because it is a time to indulge in some you-time without any distractions - illustrating botanicals such as sweets pea varieties, lilies and daisies, provides you with a new perspective and appreciation of nature’s intricate and delicate design,' says Andrea.

8. Use chalkboard paint to label plant pots

Pelargoniums planted up in terracotta pots painted with chalkboard paint

Chalkboard paint and chalk can be found in many colors, leaving no design wishes unfulfilled

(Image credit: Pelargonium For Europe)

'Scented geraniums come with all kinds of aromas and can also be used in a variety of ways in creative cooking,' says Dr Suzanne Lux of Pelargonium for Europe (opens in new tab). 'To make it easier to distinguish between their different types, the pots can be painted with special chalkboard paint from Amazon (opens in new tab), then labelled with chalk. This looks nice and helps to keep an overview.'

9. Add a contrasting color embellishment to your pots

Bright blue and pink painted pots with a pompom trim

Ribbons and trims make a fun finishing touch for your clay pot painting ideas

(Image credit: Pelargonium for Europe)

Your flower pot painting ideas needn't stop at the paint. Take your project to the next level with some extra embellishments. 'Pompom bobble fringes, ric-rac and other trimmings and ribbons transform gaily-colored pots into unique design objects in on-trend boho style,' say the experts at Pelargonium For Europe.

If you're learning how to plant a window box, these bright designs will be ideal for showing off your choice of bold flower displays.

10. Wow with a pop art painted pot

Tins painted in pop art motifs and planted with bold foliage plants

Take inspiration from containers in The Pop Street Garden designed by John McPhearson for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021

(Image credit: Jacky Hobbs / Future)

Art-lovers will appreciate bringing a touch of post-modernism into their backyards with these designs inspired by the Pop-Art movement. These containers featured in the Pop Art garden designed by John McPhearson of Happy Gardens (opens in new tab) for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

'Positioning is key to creating dynamic shapes and when it comes to placing plant pots around the garden, position the smaller ones at the front and gradually lead them to the taller plants at the back,' says John Stirzaker.

'It’s also vital to arrange the plants in their flower groups such as yellows and blues to maintain an admirable garden and enhance its eye-catching aesthetic.'

Large, deep planters like these can also be used for growing vegetables in pots, so you can make use of your creative painted flower pots in the veg garden too.

11. Go large with bold painted shapes

Large concrete planters painted up with bold geometric shapes

Tape can be used to create dramatic shapes in paint

(Image credit: Pelargonium For Europe)

How about this for a stunning flower pot painting idea? 'Profusely flowering white geraniums in three color-coordinated planters extend a stunning welcome to this home,' say Pelargoniums For Europe. 

'The designs and colors of the planters can be varied according to personal taste. Simply apply masking tape in the desired pattern and spray on your choice of colors. As soon as the paint has dried the tape can easily be removed.'

How do I make my plant pots look nice by using paint?

'This question completely depends on what you’re wanting for your garden or patio gardening ideas,' explains Rose from @rosepaintspots. 'For me I love the neutral colors that work really well with greens and the bright colors in the garden. I always take inspiration from patterns and designs I see when I’m out and about, I’m always taking photos of wrapping paper and cards to adapt at a later date.'

'If you struggle with thinking of designs try buying some templates and have a play around with them first. The design part and making them look pretty is the creative part so just have fun with it,' finishes Rose.

Plant pot painted pink with a french fries motif

You can use a range of different tools from nail art brushes to Qtips according to @rosepaintspots (opens in new tab)

(Image credit: Design: @rosepaintspots Photo: @aurorareyandme)

What kind of paint do you use on plant pots?

Plant pot painting expert Rose has made a business of using paint on plant pots. 'Since I started painting pots, I have used lots of different paints to see what works best,' says Rose. 'Initially I used acrylic which worked well, however I was finding that It cost me a lot to get a good coverage and took time as it needed a couple of coats. For the past year I have actually moved on to using wall paint (especially Valspar (opens in new tab)) as this goes on really well and most of the time only needs 1/2 coats and you can get almost any color!

'For outdoor pots, I use the same paint as mentioned above. The most important part of the process is to seal the pots after the paint has dried. This means that the pots can be used inside with a nice plant, or outside and aren’t effected by the weather!

'My sealing process is using Rust-Oleum spray paint, available from Amazon, (opens in new tab) on both the inside and outside of the pot. I find this reduces the risk of any smudging when painting on a gloss. Once dry I then paint on a gloss, I normally give this a couple of coats if it is going outside.

'Like any garden furniture or ornaments, weather can eventually have an impact on the condition of your pots. I always recommend to customers to try to keep the pots inside during bad weather conditions if possible, and respray every couple of months.'

A potted herb garden planted in gray pots positioned over white pebbles

Neutral tones will give a clean look to your pot displays

(Image credit: Future)

Can you paint pots with the plants still inside them?

'Painting pots with plants in them is completely fine,' says Harry Bodell. 'However, depending on the design you choose, and how big or hanging the plant is you may wish to remove the plant and repot it after the paint has dried.'

'If you’ve chosen to try out a dipped plant pot design, you’ll either have to remove the plant first, or opt for the cheater's way - creating the effect with some strategically drawn lines and a paintbrush. Either method works just as well!'

Teresa Conway
Teresa Conway

Teresa has worked as an Editor on a number of gardening magazines for three years now. So she is lucky enough to see and write about gardening across all sizes, budgets and abilities. She recently moved into her first home and the garden is a real project! Currently she is relishing planning her own design and planting schemes. What she is most passionate about when it comes to gardening are the positive effects it has on our mental health to grow and care for plants, as well as being great for the environment too and help provide food and shelter for wildlife.