Whiskey barrel planter ideas

Whiskey and wine barrel planters are a classic large garden planter pot. They’re perfect on sunny patios and in shady corners. They can be filled with anything from veggies, perennials, herbs, or annual ornamentals. Here are some whiskey barrel planter ideas to get your container garden started!

Whiskey barrel garden - sideways with flowers

Whiskey barrel planter ideas

Gardening is back in a big way, especially since more and more people realize the advantages of growing their own food, flowers, and herbs in their backyard. It’s also never been better to have your own outdoor sanctuary! Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can still grow a thriving garden with container pots. Whiskey/wine barrel container planter pots are a great option for a larger container garden.

Barrel planters can serve as the centerpiece for your garden. They can be filled to the brim with bright decorative flowers to give a boring patio a facelift. Whiskey barrels can be used to grow all of your culinary kitchen herbs or for a large-capacity patio veggie planter. Wine barrels can be planted with graceful ornamental grasses for an elegant winery aesthetic.

Whiskey barrels, wine barrels, or other similar wooden distilling barrels can be a great addition to your container garden or exterior decor. Read on to get all the whiskey barrel planter ideas you need to plan out your own whiskey barrel planter garden!

Whiskey barrel garden ideas
Classic full-size whiskey barrel planters
Half wine barrels for sale as planter pots at garden center

Half-barrel planter size considerations

Most whiskey barrel planters are sold in half-barrel sizes (like this super-popular planter). There are also decorative smaller barrel-style planters available. If you want a large container garden, a half-barrel planter is a great option especially for growing lots of plants in one container. A whiskey barrel planter can hold your entire herb garden beside your apartment window or can be among the many containers holding a variety of plants in a large yard or garden.

Most half barrel planters sit with the flat part on the ground, but the odd one is sliced in half from top to bottom and placed sideways in a holding bracket that sits on the ground. You can even find whole-barrel planters that just have a square or perhaps the top cut out of them for the plants to come through!

Strawberries in whiskey barrel
Strawberries in a sideways whiskey barrel planter
Ornamental barrel planter
Wooden planter pot modeled after a wine barrel

Whiskey barrel garden plant combination ideas

Most garden plants will grow just fine in a whiskey barrel planter whether they’re herbs, veggies, flowers, or other ornamental plants. Here are some complementary plant combinations for a whiskey barrel planter.


  • Canna lilies
  • Coleus
  • Sweet Potato Vine


  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Nasturtium


  • Rosemary
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
Tall varigated canna lily plants
Canna lilies are an example of the tall types of plants that really require a large planter pot like a half whiskey barrel for planting.
Foliage display for whiskey barrel planter pot
Here is a lovely mix of foliage plants that use a rich red to offset bright green.

Use tall plants as a centerpiece in the barrel garden

The large size of whiskey barrel planters provides the perfect scale to taller ornamental plants. Use the tallest plants in your collection in the centre of the barrel to give the whiskey barrel garden some height. For an ornamental garden in the sun, this could be canna lilies (see photo below) or a lovely tall ornamental grass (also below). A veggie barrel planter could even have a tomato plant right in the middle! Yum!!

Pink rock ice cream shop - armstrong - planters with ornamental grasses and strawberries
Karl foerster feather reed grass with strawberries, chamomile, and other container plants in half-barrel planters
Purple fountain grass by monrovia for sale at nursery
Purple fountain grass by monrovia for sale at the nursery
Ornamental grasses for planter pots

Whiskey Barrel Planter Tip: If you can’t find the right “tall” plant for the middle, you can plant a shorter plant in a small planter pot and then place it on top of the soil in the barrel. Plant some trailing vining plants such as sweet potato vine or nasturtium to tie the stacked planters together.

Trailing pink and purple fuchsia flowers hanging from planter
Fuchsia is the perfect flowering shade plant for trailing over the side of a whiskey barrel garden.

Versatile in sun or shade

Whiskey barrel planters are made of wood and can weather all sorts of outdoor conditions on top of the regular exposure to moisture. Place these planters in sun or shade and you won’t have to worry about it breaking down quickly or warping, unlike cheaper containers made of plastic and other synthetic materials. Just make sure to choose sun-loving plants for planters in the sun and choose shade-loving plants for planters in the shade (it seems simple, but how often do we try to cheat this rule!).

Hint: Here are 20+ herbs that grow in shade

Jack daniels whiskey barrel at garden center

Pick barrel planters for perennial plants

Containers like whiskey barrel planters last for years – just like your perennial plants. What a lovely match! Whether placed outdoors or indoors, these planters can age beautifully, taking on changes in patina that compliment the flowers that they hold.

Canna lily bulbs spouting red leaves in large planter
This planter is full of canna lilies! Plant just one, or plant a bunch …. Either way your barrel garden will be lovely in bloom and in foliage.

Theme ideas for a whiskey barrel planter

Whether you are planning on making a vegetable, herb, or flower garden, whiskey planter barrels are a great choice because these are ideal for different types of gardens. Here are some examples of gardens that can be planted in whiskey barrels:

The more whiskey barrel planter ideas I come across, the more planters I need to find…

Perfect for containing enthusiastic plants

The large size of a whiskey barrel planter makes it an ideal contained space to plant overly-enthusiastic plants.

Would you like to grow enough peppermint to make tea all winter without it totally taking over your garden? Whiskey barrel planter. What about growing some very pretty running bamboo? Whiskey barrel planter.

Keep these guys isolated by NOT planting them directly in the ground.

Bright red and orange foliage annual plants for whiskey barrel planter
Choosing your own plants for your planters lets you change it up and choose special plants that aren’t usually available in pre-made planters (like these gorgeous coleus plants from proven winners – ‘wicked hot’ and ‘rediculous’).

Great for DIY gardeners

Whiskey barrel planters are ideal for DIY gardens. Due to their large size, it can be hard to find ready-made barrel gardens in most nurseries. And even if they can be made to order, some planters can be so big and heavy that transport can be difficult. Planters like these also tend to become more expensive especially when custom-made. It is far more ideal to start with an empty planter that you can customize yourself!

Many homeowners prefer to craft custom container gardens anyways according to their own choices of plants and flowers. Whiskey barrels are great for creating truly unique container gardens that reflect your style and preferences of plants, herbs, and vegetables. Don’t forget to take note of various whiskey barrel planter ideas that you come across during the gardening season!

Container garden tour
Some people go to wineries for wine tastings. I go for the wine barrel planter gardens **shrug** – wineries and distilleries are one of the best places to get inspiration for whiskey barrel planter ideas!

Whiskey barrel planter ideas for the perfect container garden

Whiskey barrel planters are photogenic, they last for years, and they can serve as great accents for any type of setting, from the indoors to an outdoor patio or back garden. What will you plant!!???

Palm tree growing in wine barrel at garden center
You can even grow a palm tree in a whiskey barrel planter! We spotted this one at the local dogwood nursery.
Whiskey rain barrel
Wine barrels also make excellent rain barrels in the garden
Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a passionate gardener and well-acclaimed authority in the world of horticulture. As a certified Master Gardener and Permaculture Garden Designer with over a decade of hands-on experience, she has honed her skills to cultivate a deeper understanding of the natural world around us. Beyond her gardening prowess, Mary Jane holds a distinct edge as a Professional Engineer, an expertise that often intertwines with her gardening methodologies, bringing a unique perspective to her readers.

She is the proud founder of the renowned gardening website, Home for the Harvest, a platform dedicated to helping fellow gardeners, both novice and experienced, find their green thumbs. Her gardening expertise hasn't gone unnoticed; she's been spotlighted as a go-to gardening expert by notable publications like Better Homes & Gardens, Good Housekeeping, Mother Earth News, Real Simple, and the National Garden Bureau.

Delving deep into specific fields of study within horticulture, Mary Jane has an extensive knowledge base on sustainable gardening practices (including permaculture), soil science, and selecting cultivars well-suited to home gardeners. Her passion isn't just limited to plants; she's a staunch advocate for holistic, eco-friendly gardening techniques that benefit both flora and fauna.

Currently residing in the picturesque Okanagan Valley, Mary Jane cherishes the time she spends with her family amidst nature, always exploring, learning, and growing both as a gardener and as an individual.

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