Will the real McCoy please stand up? Or maybe it's Shawnee, or Roseville or even UPCO planters that grab your eye and heart when you're out hunting through antique stores or estate sales. Some of us gravitate to a particular color, others are interested in specific figurines, such as birds, lambs, dogs or baby boots. Then as now, these little planters make a great foil for a tender indoor plant. And this time of year, everyone could use a little promise of spring, in the form of a fern or cyclamen or African violet. Tucked in a vintage planter, it's the bees' knees.
Spring fever takes many forms, but for many of us, it's the urge to dig in the dirt...whether it's tilling up a plot for a garden, or focusing on plants growing in pots and containers.
Some of us gravitate to a particular color, others are interested in specific figurines, such as birds, lambs, dogs or baby boots. Then as now, these little planters make a great foil for a tender indoor plant. And this time of year, everyone could use a little promise of spring, in the form of a fern or cyclamen or African violet. Tucked in a vintage planter, it's the bees' knees.
Ceramic planters have been around for decades, ranging from strictly utilitarian to decorative and whimsical. Among the best-known are the McCoy, Shawnee and Roseville planters.
Some of these vintage planters have become sought-after by collectors, but most of them can still be purchased for a modest price at antique stores, thrift shops and online sites such as eBay.
As with most vintage things that were commonplace, everyday items to past generations, vintage planters are rarely found in truly perfect condition. Some of them may have "crazing" (tiny hairline cracks all over), or chips around the rim or larger cracks. The more damage a piece has, generally the less valuable it is...but if you love it and the price is right, you can always turn those "beauty marks" toward the wall.
The first question to ask - besides whether or not you like it - is whether it's real. This link provides detail for serious collectors who want to make sure they are purchasing the "real McCoy".
The second most common question we get asked: How to clean it and care for vintage planters?
Clean your new-found treasures with dish soap. Fill them with warm water and a dab of soap and let them soak a bit if there's dirt and debris stuck to their surface (inside or out.) If there is a white ring of calcium build-up, use white vinegar to remove it - wipe a cloth soaked in vinegar across the line. If that doesn't do the trick, soak the piece in a solution of 10 parts water to 1 part vinegar for an hour or two.
Stubborn gunk or old yard sale labels can be removed with Goo Gone. And a "magic eraser" will clean up those unglazed bottoms like a champ.
Should you actually plant something in your vintage pots? That's up to you. Just remember that most plants don't like wet feet and most vintage planters don't have a drainage hole. So if possible, find a plastic liner with an attached base that will fit inside your planter.
Otherwise, use your vintage pots to create a curated collection like these Pinterest photos, or tuck them among items in a bookcase or display shelves. But for the love of all that is vintage, enjoy them. Happy Spring!
All photos courtesy of Pinterest. This article was originally published in the Busy Bee Trader, a regional directory of antique and vintage stores throughout middle Tennessee and surrounding areas.
Meet the Authors
We're Terry & Sherri, known by some as the Southern Pickin' Chicks. We do love to pick, and paint, polish and press our finds before we offer them to our fans and friends. Follow along on our adventures!