With their natural beauty, seashells make lovely and distinctive planters. Inspired by a Victorian book on window gardening, Hannah Milman, Martha Stewart Living holidays and crafts editor, demonstrates how to transform empty shells into places for plants.
To complement the uniqueness of the planter, Hannah uses Tillandsia, also known as air plant. Unlike most plants, this member of the bromeliad family absorbs nutrients through its leaves and this doesn't require any soil -- an unusual feature that makes it ideal for this project.
Tools and Materials
A mild soap
Twigs, preferably driftwood (optional)
Seashell Planter How-To
1. Select your seashells. Use largish shells (4 to 7 inches long), such as nautilus, hermit crab, or sea snail, that have cavities in which to insert the plants. (If you are lucky enough to find a large seashell on the beach, take it only if it is empty. Never remove a shell from its habitat if there's a living animal inside.) If the shell is dirty, soak it overnight in soap and water, adding a few drops of bleach to help remove the smell and any remaining bacteria.
2. Clean and rinse the shell with mild soap and water. Insert an air plant into the cavity of the shell, making sure that the plant is secure. Heavily mist the plant (since air plants absorb water from the air), making sure that none of the water gets into the shell.
3. To make the twig base, gather 3 twigs, each about 8 to 14 inches long. Tie them together with twine about three-quarters from the bottom end. Splay the twigs out slightly so that they form a tripod. Adjust the top of the tripod so that it will hold the shell planter.
4. Place your planters in a bright spot with indirect sunlight and good air circulation. Heavily mist the plants once a week. (It is best to ask your nursery about the correct care of your air plants, since it depends on the variety used and the conditions of your home.)
Holidays and crafts editor
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Sanibel Seashell Industries
905 Fitzhugh Street
Sanibel Island, FL 33957
Bromeliad Society International
P.O. Box 12981
Gainsville, FL 32604-0981
California Cactus Center
216 South Rosemead Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91107
Phone: 626-795-2788 or 626-795-2808