Mulch Containers with Shells

Mulch Containers with Shells

Create beautiful planters by adding a layer of shells as mulch. By Karen Weir-Jimerson
As a family of beach travelers, my husband, kids and I scooped up and pocketed scads of shells that from beaches in Florida, Texas, Hawaii, New Jersey, Maine, California, Mexico, Spain, France, Scotland, and Costa Rica. Big shells, little shells, bivalves, and gastropods. Our collection includes whelks, conchs, scallops, coquinas, cat’s paws, limpets, mussels, clams, oysters, sea urchins, and more.

Last summer I consolidated our family’s shelly treasures and, in feat of OCD-fueled organization, grouped them for different projects: some went into dishes in the bedrooms (love that beach-inspired look!), some are now perched in a sea still life on our mantle, some were swallowed up for a shell mirror crafts project. The rest of the shells got distributed between the indoor and outdoor planters to use as mulch.

Mulching houseplants with shells is good for the plants because the layer of shells helps conserve soil moisture (and we don’t have to water our containers as often). Shell mulch is more decorative than other mulches, such as compost or shredded bark. And I love how two of my favorite things (shells and plants) look together.

Wash shells before adding them to the tops of plants so that they don’t add salt to the soil. Use whole shells of different species, individual species (such as oyster shells), or shell hash (broken shells pieces that offer color and texture).

Written by Karen Weir-Jimerson