Old printing press drawers can be repurposed into charming mini vertical gardens that liven up any indoor space. This simple DIY project recycles unused furniture pieces into functional planters ideal for small spaces. Follow these steps to recreate the look at home.


Vertical gardening allows gardeners to maximize limited ground space by growing plants upwards rather than outwards. This innovative method is perfect for urban environments and small indoor areas. Transforming disused antique printing press drawers into vertical planters is a creative way to upcycle scrap furniture. The compact size is ideal for apartments or offices with minimal square footage.

Repurposing old drawers prevents useful items from ending up in landfills. Breathing new life into worn pieces demonstrates sustainable principles of reducing and reusing waste. Vertical gardens also purify indoor air, reduce stress, and provide other health benefits associated with being around plants.

Selecting Printing Press Drawers

Opt for old-fashioned wooden printing press drawers with these features:

  • Sturdy construction from quality hardwoods like oak or maple
  • Relatively shallow depth between 3 to 6 inches
  • Enough height to accommodate plant roots
  • Sliding mechanisms or attached handles intact
  • Signs of wear that add vintage character

The drawers should be thoroughly cleaned and sanded to remove grime before being repurposed as planters. Ensure any paint or hardware finishes are non-toxic. Wood stains and sealants will help protect the exterior from moisture damage.

Preparing Drawers for Planting

Transform each drawer into a functional vertical garden planter using these steps:

  • Line the base with landscape fabric to prevent soil leaking
  • Drill several drainage holes in the bottom for excess water
  • Add a 2-3 inch layer of drainage material like rocks or pebbles
  • Fill the remainder with a quality potting mix suitable for containers
  • Consider installing grow lights or mounting hooks along the back

The drainage holes and fabric barrier allow water to escape freely from the soil and prevent sogginess. Ample drainage is essential for healthy plant roots and preventing mold growth.

Selecting Plants for Drawer Gardens

When choosing plants, opt for compact varieties that suit container life and the drawer’s lighting conditions. Recommended options include:

  • Petite herb varieties like thyme, oregano, chives
  • Salad greens and microgreens for frequent harvesting
  • Cascading plants like ivy, string of pearls, or spider plants
  • Succulents and cacti which tolerate confined root space
  • Small foliage plants with colored leaves for visual interest

Mix up plant heights, textures, and colors for an attractive vertical garden. Opt for drought-tolerant, low-maintenance varieties that don’t require frequent watering or pruning.

Caring for Drawer Gardens

  • Water each drawer thoroughly whenever the soil dries out
  • Apply diluted liquid fertilizer during the active growing season
  • Prune back overgrown plants blocking light from reaching other drawers
  • Wipe dust from broad-leafed plants with a damp cloth
  • Mist susceptible plants like ferns occasionally for humidity
  • Repot root-bound plants in fresh potting mix annually

Rotate drawers periodically so all plants receive equal light exposure. Monitor for pests like fungus gnats, aphids, or spider mites which can rapidly infest indoor plants. Remove any diseased or dying foliage promptly.

Displaying Drawer Gardens

  • Hang drawers on walls with sturdy brackets for a space-saving display
  • Arrange in customized configurations to suit the space
  • Incorporate LED grow lights above or behind each unit
  • Place near bright, indirect light from south or west facing windows
  • Keep delicate plants away from heating/cooling vents or radiators
  • Angle drawers slightly outward for easier access while watering or tending plants

Consider painting drawers fun colors or stenciling designs for added flair. Add vintage cabinet hardware like knobs or pulls for additional personality.

Benefits of Repurposed Drawer Vertical Gardens

Upcycling old printing press drawers offers many advantages:

  • Prevents useful items from entering landfills
  • Cost-effective way to grow plants without constructing planter boxes
  • Convenient size for urban balconies, patios, or indoor areas with minimal floor space
  • Drawers enable easy access to plants for care and harvesting
  • Sliding mechanism makes rearranging or removing drawers simple
  • Vintage look adds character and charm to any space
  • Promotes sustainability and eclectic style through repurposed decor

Breathing new life into old furniture demonstrates eco-friendly principles of reducing and reusing. Displaying plants in inventive ways sparks creativity and brings natural beauty indoors.

FAQs About Repurposed Drawer Vertical Gardens

How many hours of sunlight do drawer gardens need daily?

The light requirements vary by plant. Low light varieties only need 4-6 hours of bright, indirect light while sun-lovers require 8-12 hours of direct sunlight. Supplement with grow lights as needed.

What are the best pots to use inside printing press drawers?

Opt for plastic nursery pots with drainage holes that fit neatly into each drawer. This prevents water leakage while still allowing excess to drain away from roots.

Should drawer gardens be brought indoors during winter?

In temperate climates, it’s best to bring drawer gardens indoors once nighttime temperatures approach 45°F or lower. The plants can go back outside the following spring after the last frost date.

How often do vertical garden drawers need to be watered?

Check soil moisture daily, and water whenever the top few inches become dry. Thirsty plants in heated indoor environments may need water every 2-4 days. Less frequent watering is required in cool, humid climates.

What are signs a plant is root-bound and needs repotting?

Indicators include stunted growth, wilting, drying soil, and roots growing out of drainage holes. Repot root-bound plants in containers one size larger.


Repurposing old printing press drawers as vertical garden planters is a fun, eco-friendly DIY project. Maximizing limited space by growing plants vertically can transform any indoor environment. Strategically selecting low-maintenance plants suited to containers and proper care will ensure your upcycled drawer gardens thrive indoors. This inventive gardening solution produces a one-of-a-kind living artwork perfect for personalizing small urban interiors.