How to Make a Pumpkin Planter

Pumpkin Planter

container gardening picture of fall decorations - pumpkin planter with million bells
Kerry Michaels

Pumpkin planters make great fall decorations. It’s a quick and easy project that is fun and satisfying. Pumpkin planters look great in groups or by themselves. You can use them indoors or out.

Pumpkin container gardens also make great Halloween decorations. Paint or draw a face on your pumpkin with a Sharpie. Plant grass, sage, or even a succulent to give your pumpkin planter personality and wild and crazy “hair.”

You can use any size plant or pumpkin, just make sure that the diameter and height of the nursery pot isn’t larger than your pumpkin. Experiment with different varieties of pumpkins to create a stunning display.

Choosing a Plant

container gardening picture of pumpkin planter with heuchera
Kerry Michaels

You can achieve lots of different looks with plant choice—from elegant to hilarious. Use an orange million bells, such as Superbells 'Dreamsicle' or 'Tequila Sunrise,' to get a cheery look. Try a dark, almost black heuchera, such as Dolce 'Blackcurrant,' for dramatic contrast.

Make sure, if you live in a cold climate, and you want to put your pumpkin outside, to choose a fall plant that will thrive when temperatures drop.

Also, consider using plants that will drape over the top of the pumpkin, so you don't have to worry if your pumpkin carving skills aren't perfect.

What You'll Need

container gardening picture of what you'll need for pumpkin planter fall decoration
Kerry Michaels
  • Plant in a nursery pot
  • Pumpkin
  • Large, sharp knife
  • Large spoon or ice cream scoop
  • Medium-sized bowl
  • Newspaper

Make a Hole in Your Pumpkin

cutting pumpkin for a planter
Kerry Michaels

Cover your work area with newspaper.

Using a sharp knife, cut a hole in the top of your pumpkin that is almost big enough to fit your plant in, container and all. You can eyeball the size, and cut the hole smaller than you need. Once you get the initial hole done, hold the pot over it and get a better sense of how much bigger to make it.

You can also break or cut off the pumpkin stem (though this isn't easy) and use the bottom of the pot to draw a circle, marking the area to cut.

Pull off Pumpkin Top

pulling pumpkin top off
Kerry Michaels

Pulling off the top of your pumpkin can be a little tough. You may have to make some more cuts before the top will come fully off. If your pumpkin stem breaks off while you are pulling on it, just slip your knife under the top of the pumpkin and carefully pry it out.

Scoop out Pumpkin Seeds

scooping pumpkin seeds
Kerry Michaels

Use a large spoon or an ice cream scoop to scoop out all of the seeds and pumpkin innards. 

If you like, put the seeds in a bowl and save them to make roasted pumpkin seeds.

Carve the Pumpkin

picture of pumpkin carving
Kerry Michaels

Carve out the flesh of the pumpkin under the edge of the opening. This makes it easier to put the plant, still in its plastic pot, in the hole. Also, at this point, you can hold the bottom of the pot up to the hole and see how much wider the hole will need to be for the pot to fit in.

Cut a Drainage Hole

pumpkin with drainage hole
Kerry Michaels

Turn your pumpkin over and cut a drainage hole in the bottom. This will prevent water from sitting in the bottom of your pumpkin planter which would cause your pumpkin to rot and your plant to drown.

Slide Plant Into Pumpkin Planter

putting plant in pumpkin
Kerry Michaels

Try to slide the plant into the hole you've made in the pumpkin. At this point you may have to do a little more carving for the pot, to slip easily into the pumpkin’s hole.

Caring for Your Pumpkin Planter

Follow watering and feeding directions for your particular plant and make sure it is getting the required amount of sunlight, though your pumpkin will last longer if it isn't in the hot sun.

Group your pumpkin planter with other fall container gardens, gourds and pumpkins or just place it on a doorstep. If you use your pumpkin planter for a table decoration, make sure to put something under it to protect the surface.